Six faces of hitchhiking

I want to take a break of telling you all about what I did in which cities and tell you about some of the people you meet while hitchhiking.

After I visited Abel Tasman (more on that later) I wanted to take the bus to Christchurch but it was once again fully booked. My hitchhiking so far hadn’t been too bad, so I decided to try it now to continue on south. From Nelson to Christchurch is a six-hour drive, which I thought was a bit much, so I settled for Kaikoura. This was only three hours away and I wanted to visit it anyway because apparently it’s an amazing place for whale spotting.

I practically dragged all my stuff to what I thought would be a could place to start (just before a highway where cars are picking up speed, next to a turn out) and stuck my thumb out. It took longer than it had so far, but then a guy pulled over.

This gentleman was not going all the way to Kaikoura, but he would drop me off near the place where he lived which was on the way. He asked me if it was ok if he smoked in the car. Well, it’s his car and I’m happy enough to be given a ride, so who am I to say he can’t? Then he started talking about his business as an electrical engineer and asked me what I did back home. I told him a bit about the things I’ve been doing since I graduated, including working at the radio. Oh, he had a friend who had a radio show as well, all about the Free Man or something. I was like: the Free Man? Well, that started a monologue all about how you are not a person, you HAVE a person and everything you do is a contract, from your birth certificate onwards and how a crime without victim is not a crime and how he didn’t pay income tax, because he had never agreed to the contract of income tax or whatever. Honestly, I could only half follow what he was on about and he didn’t understand my questions either. Needless to say, it was an interesting time until he dropped me off in the woods somewhere.

Grand, now I was in the middle of nowhere. Near his house, so if it didn’t work out I could go there, but you might understand why I didn’t want to. Luckily my next ride didn’t make me wait long.

This time it was a nice young Maori man who had just gone exploring in the area after a wedding he had attended in Linkwater, which was here he was going back to now. He had lived in London for two years training medical professionals to use some system or other (you see that I have to take more care making notes). Now he was back in New Zealand to work here. His exploration of the Nelson area and talking to me inspired him to go do some more exploring around New Zealand!

After he dropped me off in Linkwater I was taken on board by a German web developer. He had taken some time off work to travel and work on a project of his own. Then I was picked up by a British couple who taught me that apparently there is a world-famous barber in Rotterdam? People line up to meet him if I can believe the driver. He was a barber himself and really wanted to visit the shop someday. His girlfriend had lived in Amsterdam for a while but had to get out to escape the neverending party scene. She had the best time though.

They dropped me off in Blenheim where a van took me and a Hungarian rock climber in on the way to Siddon. The driver didn’t talk much, but the rock climber told me he tried to visit at least one new country every year. So far he had been to 154 countries! He was about done with it now though, the countries he hadn’t seen yet took too much money and/or effort to get into. He wanted to see if he could get up to 160 and then start revisiting some favourites. He was appaled by how much luggage I had, travelling himself with only one backpack that didn’t even weigh five kilograms!

In Siddon I was picked up by my last ride of the day. A French couple that lived in Kaikoura. They had just come back from a music festival and were now driving back home in their delightful hippie van with a colourful scarf stapled to the ceiling, incense stuck in the dashboard and some interesting trippy tunes on Spotify. I fell asleep while we were driving along the coast.

All things together, it took me about five hours to get from Nelson to Kaikoura. Not too bad! And as you can see, I met a whole host of interesting people. I don’t know when my next time hitchhiking will be, but I’m glad I tried it in New Zealand.

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