I like to travel, but I don’t want to bankrupt myself for a few days of traveling, so when I travel, I hitchhike. It’s cheap, fast, and sometimes more reliable than anything else. I’ve hitchhiked cars and trucks, boats and planes, and ox carts and motorcycles in countries all over the world. In 2012 I even hitchhiked around the world, through 21 countries, for 12 months, and I did it on a total budget of 12,000 Yuan. This experience made my hitchhiking from Guangzhou to Sanya and back, easy and free. I left the endless rain of dark skies of Guangzhou and I came back two weeks later tanned and smiling.
Hitchhiking in China is easy, easy for foreigners, easy for my many hitchhiking Chinese friends. All you have to do, is go to the toll roads, and wait on the side of the road with your arm held out. Someone always stops. Sometimes in one minute, sometimes in 20, but they always stop.
The people who pick me up come from all parts of society. Hardened soldiers and sweet families, rich business men and poor workers, the old and the young, foreigners and communist party members. I asked a lot of them why did you pick me up.
“You look sweet and harmless” a family told me. “Because I know karate and you can’t harm me” a soldier explained. “Because you are hitchhiking and you must have an amazing story!” a young man said. And “because you were standing on the side of the road, and you needed a ride” almost everyone else added. So I take it, that people pick me up, simply because they are good people.
But not everyone gives me a ride. Most people never stop, they just drive by without a glance. Some stop but are not going the way I am, so they say they are sorry and drive away. On my way back from Sanya, just outside of Zhan Jiang two men stopped for me. The back of their car was empty, more than enough room for me. I told them where I was from, and where I was going and then they asked “do you have a bomb in your bag?”
I’ve hitchhiked over 1000 cars, and no one had ever asked me that before, but my answer was a simple “No, just my clothes and sleeping bag.”
“Can we check it?” They asked.
I opened it, and showed them my clean and dirt clothes, my sleeping bag and some food.
“No, we want to check it.” They said, their bodies lurching forward, their arms reaching from the car like hungry zombies.
I backed away, No, it’s ok, I can get another ride. And I did, and I made it back to Guangzhou without any trouble and made many new friends on the way.