I woke up early and was in exceptionally good mood. I was moving on from Sapporo. The plan was to walk to the edge of the city and hitch a ride from a street that led to the highway. I showered, packed, wrote a thank you note for my host and took off.
I was just on time getting off the subway and walking to the needed street. Sadly, I was terribly mistaken. Taking the wrong turn here and there I ended up nowhere near where I needed to be. With a heavy bag on my back, sun shining brightly in my eyes and empty stomach I made it to the right spot and hour and a half later. I was sweaty and exhausted. But anticipating my first hitchhiking experience I was very nervous and a bit scared.
Cardboard sign, Thumb up, big smile.
No one is stopping.
Am I on the wrong street? No. Has it been 10 minutes already? This bag is killing me! Why is it so hot? No worries, this next car will definitely stop. No!? But look at me smiling! 20 minutes. I’m a western woman, for crying out loud! Don’t you WANT to give me a ride? No, wrong attitude. 30 minutes … OK, let’s readjust these straps and my thoughts. I am living my dream, traveling through Japan; I am happy to have this opportunity to explore culture I’ve been thinking about for years. I will meet many amazing people on the way. I will be thankful for any and every opportunity to learn a new lesson. What’s this? Is he pulling over?
“Hello, will you take me to Abashiri which is 6 hours away on the other side of the island. No? How about the next town over, Asahikawa; it’s only 2 hours away. Yes? Oh, thank you!”
I hitched a ride with a 37 year old man within 35 minutes. In the beginning, he was a bit weird. But as we “talked” more and more and got to know each other, he turned out to be a very good man. In fact, when we got to Asahikawa and I asked him to drop me off near a highway so I can hitch another car to the next town, he got so worried that I would be taken by a bad man that he offered to drive me to the next town himself. Same thing happened in the next town. And then again. Until he finally drove me to my final destination. He didn’t take a single yen. He was just happy I got to Abashiri safe.
First hitchhiking experience definitely gets a 10!