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Inspire yourself with these snippets for your communication about the event, or just copypaste them outright.

Ready-made articles

A couple of contributions from Tomi (--Astikain 01:17, 17 July 2012 (CEST)). Feel free to edit and/or translate as you see fit (you can leave out the author info, keep it or replace it with your own credentials). Send to your local newspapers, magazines and e-zines!

The driver-perspective

Picking up a hitchhiker - a good deed for yourself

Having been exposed to constant mass media fear-mongering, it doesn't come as a surprise that people, in general, don't trust each other anymore. This is self-evident to those modern day hitchhikers who, regardless of being told to be afraid, are still courageous enough to take to the road. You don't have to pick up a hitchhiker - they've chosen to be on the road - but if you do, it can prove to be a very positive experience! Here five reasons to pick up hitchhikers (or five excuses not to).

”I just go a short distance” Many of us behind the wheel are not aware of the fact that a five-kilometer distance equals to one hour of walking. Usually a hitchhiker is happy to go even a short distance. Maybe there is a better spot where the hitchiker gets the next long ride, thanks to you.

”I don't really have time/space” Outside the White Nights of the Northern hemisphere summer, daylight is the most precious asset to a hitchhiker. Mind you, a human being approaching you on a dark gas station is no different from a day-time traveler. A hitchhiker doesn't mind going fast and a travel buddy doesn't slow you down. A hitchhiker doesn't require luxury neither. Just a small space to sit will suffice because most are traveling light. And on a long journey you can ask your fellow traveler to take the wheel as long as they have had enough rest and are in a possession of a valid driver's license.

”Someone else will give a ride” Many think that truckers always help hitchhikers. Contemporary truck companies, however, often have insurance policies that prohibit extra passengers, even if the driver was willing to help. ”He can always take the bus” is not a good excuse either because going from place A to place B with no money involved is just one of the motives to hitch. Getting to know new people, a sense of adventure and developing your character are hardly reasons to travel by bus.

”I don't give rides to strangers” A hitchhiker is always grateful for the ride and sits next to you with a smile. Due to the challenging nature of the hobby, hitchhikers are typically very sociable creatures with thousands of stories to tell. Many enjoy having a hitchhiker so much that, after the ride, they invite him for a bite or even to lay down his head. For some a Facebook friendship will suffice. Others confide to a hitchhiker so openly that they prefer to end the therapy session at the end of the ride. In any case, you are no longer strangers once the car comes to a halt. The driver decides the limits: whether we should go in deep conversations and get to know each other profoundly, or whether it is better to talk about the weather and to listen to the radio.

”I'm too afraid” If riding a heavy fast-moving metal object alone doesn't make you scared then it shouldn't happen in good company either. Fear is the silliest reason not to stop for a hitchhiker because it's usually unfounded. Statistically speaking, most people die in their homes and the most dangerous people are those closest to you. Getting to know a hitchhiker is a free means to rid yourself of unfounded fears. Hitchhikers are rather healers than killers.

Of course you can continue the list of excuses ad infinitum and make yourself believe that picking up a hitchhiker is not worth the risk. ”You hardly see them anymore” or ”I can't make that quick decisions” are poor excuses if you make the decision right now: Will you pick up a hitchhiker when the next chance arises? Time around the European Hitchhikers' Meeting (4-8-12) e to see a hitchhiker! Get ready! It can be one of the coolest experiences of your life!

THE AUTHOR: Tomi Astikainen

  • Education: Master of Science (Economics and Business Administration)
  • Hitch-experience: over 100,000 km, ca 30 countries, more than 1,500 drivers
  • Motto: Love the universe and it will love you back
  • Monthly budget: 0 Euros
  • More info: www.tomiastikainen.com & www.hitchgathering.org

The hitchhiker-perspective

Thumb up!

Have you ever considered challenging yourself and hitting the road by hitching rides in other people's cars? Or have you done that already? In both cases, The European Hitchhikers' Meeting – Hitchgathering – might be for you! It is a grass-roots event, or'anized by the hitchhikers for the hitchhikers, for the fifth time already. This year's event takes place in beautiful natural surroundings in countryside Lithuania.

The event starts on 4 August 2012 and lasts at least a few days, or as long as people wish to stay. But for most participants, the adventure starts many days earlier as they set off for their journey. Even prior to that it's possible to be in touch with other travelers and to get some company on the road if hitching alone feels too daunting a task.

People can plan and prepare their trips with knowledge-bases such as Hitchwiki.org and Digihitch.com. Accommodation can be found through online platforms like CouchSurfing, HospuchSurfing, Hospitality Club and BeWelcome.

The program of the event is made by the participants, on the spot. Anyone can hold a workshop, facilitate team games or whatever they think might contribute to the success of the event. These as well can be planned in advance on the website.

More info:

  • hitchgathering.org
  • hitchwiki.org/en/Hitchgathering/2012