Travelling for the first time, just don't really know where I want to go? (1 Viewer)

noahsarc

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I realize this has the potential to be super vague and unhelpful but I'm going to try to give some info/details! (and bc I put in a lot of detail this got pretty long I apologize)

I decided I want to hitchhike this summer after my lease ends, so I would ideally be leaving mid May-early June. Originally I was just going to wing it, but as I've been reading more that seems kind of overwhelming. Overall I'm interested in what some of the best routes/places are for someone with zero experience.

I'm starting in SE WY/Northern Colorado. I kind of want to go east for a little bit, but I'm looking at what seems like the wall from North Dakota down to Texas. From what I've been reading these are some of the hardest states to hitch through... what route would be the most doable for a beginner?

I've been trying to think about places I would want to hit. I have a friend in Chicago who I haven't seen in years and would love to visit. I'm kind of intrigued by Virginia. I lived in ABQ for a couple months and miss the desert soooo much... that could totally change when I'm actually on foot though. Still kinda wanna go back. And I would love to end up in Washington in early August for the Jamboree if it happens.

Some places/events/features I would like to see: would love to hit cool swimming spots along the way (waterfalls, etc.) I love hot springs too so that would be awesome. Art museums, art parks and centers. Have never seen the Grand Canyon and would love to go back to the Utah salt flats. And I'd kill to swim in an ocean again.

I would also love to meet other people on the road on this trip so if I could wind up in any hotspots and hang out with people that would be awesome.

I do have very tentative time restraints? Making it back around to Washington by August. Also I'm supposed to go to a show at Red Rocks at the beginning of July that was supposed to happen last summer but who even knows if they'll go through with it this year... but my friend who I was supposed to go with now lives in St. Louis, so if she still wants to go I could always catch a ride with her.

I have no idea how long it takes to hitch so please tell me if this is realistic? I guess my basic, very first plan could be: make my way east at the beginning of June on whichever route seems doable? Head to Virgina I guess? Swing back around and go to Chicago to see my friend, meet my other friend in St. Louis and drive to Red Rocks by early July. Then head to the southwest, then up to Washington for early August? After that idfk.

Honestly have no problem dropping Red Rocks if it seems like I can't get there and then I'm totally open until the Jamboree. I don't want to feel rushed so that might be what I have to do. I also want to acknowledge that who even knows if I'll have it in me to do this, I've never done anything like this before, but I would really love to love it.

I have a lot of other questions but those can all be addressed in other threads bc this is long. My main concerns here are: picking a route that isn't too difficult for a beginner, avoiding places that might be rough for a beginner, and having a general idea of how long travelling around might take. If it makes a difference I'm a 23 y/o nonbinary trans person who still looks pretty female, and I'll hopefully be travelling with someone else, but might go alone. Not against train hopping but it does kind of freak me out and I would only do it with someone who knows what's up.

And I'm totally open to throwing all this out the window when I'm actually out there and just going wherever I end up going.

Seriously take this post and run with it, even if you can't answer my direct questions give me everything you've got, I want to know all of it!
 
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I realize this has the potential to be super vague and unhelpful but I'm going to try to give some info/details! (and bc I put in a lot of detail this got pretty long I apologize)

I decided I want to hitchhike this summer after my lease ends, so I would ideally be leaving mid May-early June. Originally I was just going to wing it, but as I've been reading more that seems kind of overwhelming. Overall I'm interested in what some of the best routes/places are for someone with zero experience.

I'm starting in SE WY/Northern Colorado. I kind of want to go east for a little bit, but I'm looking at what seems like the wall from North Dakota down to Texas. From what I've been reading these are some of the hardest states to hitch through... what route would be the most doable for a beginner?

I've been trying to think about places I would want to hit. I have a friend in Chicago who I haven't seen in years and would love to visit. I'm kind of intrigued by Virginia. I lived in ABQ for a couple months and miss the desert soooo much... that could totally change when I'm actually on foot though. Still kinda wanna go back. And I would love to end up in Washington in early August for the Jamboree if it happens.

Some places/events/features I would like to see: would love to hit cool swimming spots along the way (waterfalls, etc.) I love hot springs too so that would be awesome. Art museums, art parks and centers. Have never seen the Grand Canyon and would love to go back to the Utah salt flats. And I'd kill to swim in an ocean again.

I would also love to meet other people on the road on this trip so if I could wind up in any hotspots and hang out with people that would be awesome.

I do have very tentative time restraints? Making it back around to Washington by August. Also I'm supposed to go to a show at Red Rocks at the beginning of July that was supposed to happen last summer but who even knows if they'll go through with it this year... but my friend who I was supposed to go with now lives in St. Louis, so if she still wants to go I could always catch a ride with her.

I have no idea how long it takes to hitch so please tell me if this is realistic? I guess my basic, very first plan could be: make my way east at the beginning of June on whichever route seems doable? Head to Virgina I guess? Swing back around and go to Chicago to see my friend, meet my other friend in St. Louis and drive to Red Rocks by early July. Then head to the southwest, then up to Washington for early August? After that idfk.

Honestly have no problem dropping Red Rocks if it seems like I can't get there and then I'm totally open until the Jamboree. I don't want to feel rushed so that might be what I have to do. I also want to acknowledge that who even knows if I'll have it in me to do this, I've never done anything like this before, but I would really love to love it.

I have a lot of other questions but those can all be addressed in other threads bc this is long. My main concerns here are: picking a route that isn't too difficult for a beginner, avoiding places that might be rough for a beginner, and having a general idea of how long travelling around might take. If it makes a difference I'm a 23 y/o nonbinary trans person who still looks pretty female, and I'll hopefully be travelling with someone else, but might go alone. Not against train hopping but it does kind of freak me out and I would only do it with someone who knows what's up.

And I'm totally open to throwing all this out the window when I'm actually out there and just going wherever I end up going.

Seriously take this post and run with it, even if you can't answer my direct questions give me everything you've got, I want to know all of it!

This isn't meant to be negative, but there isn't really a "beginner" mode per say. That doesn't mean you should be intimidated or hold back. More than likely, no matter where you go, everything will be fine and you will come away with a story and a sense of whether or not this type of travel is for you. Also more than likely, your trip will not go quite how you thought it would, which is part of having a real adventure as opposed to just going on vacation.
Some things you can do to stack the deck in your favour (I know you touched on most of these):
1. Have a simple destination in mind that you are looking forward to, like visiting a friend who lives in another city. It will give you something to focus on and stay motivated, and provide an easy explanation for the people you meet. Also, you will have someone to tell your story/ decompress to when you get there, which will be awesome. Going to a hot springs or swim spot like you mentioned is a good destination too.
2. Go somewhere not too cold, so you are comfortable and don't need much gear.
3. Take one backpack, preferably small. No extra handbags or jackets that don't fit in your pack, etc. That's just stuff to forget in somebody's car or prevent you from being comfortable walking around checking out new places.
4. Forget about the timetable. If you are thinking that you have to be somewhere, then you're better off taking the bus. Hitching/riding trains is the best way to travel when you don't really need to be anywhere, you're just going because you feel like it. Otherwise, it can turn into agony, worrying that you're never going to get a ride. Ideally you can just walk down the road for hours enjoying the scenery or talk to a friend and just about forget you even have your thumb out. So maybe pick a shorter trip if you're pressed for time. Maybe pick a real short one for your first time, like a single day, 3-4 hour drive.

Good Luck!

In my experience total openness and acceptance has made for the safest, most comfortable rides. If you are going to ask strangers to invite you into their personal space, you will meet people very different from yourself. If you don't like their politics or something, fair enough, but avoid confrontation anyway- remember, you're just trying to get somewhere and see something of the world.
If you need to get out, pretend you suddenly realized you left your gloves, or phone or something at a gas station and you need to hitch back the other direction. Or tell them you are about to throw up. Confrontation is pretty much always a lesser solution if you are smart and keep your priorities straight. You will probably never need to do this, but it's good to be prepared just in case.
 

noahsarc

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This isn't meant to be negative, but there isn't really a "beginner" mode per say. That doesn't mean you should be intimidated or hold back. More than likely, no matter where you go, everything will be fine and you will come away with a story and a sense of whether or not this type of travel is for you. Also more than likely, your trip will not go quite how you thought it would, which is part of having a real adventure as opposed to just going on vacation.
Some things you can do to stack the deck in your favour (I know you touched on most of these):
1. Have a simple destination in mind that you are looking forward to, like visiting a friend who lives in another city. It will give you something to focus on and stay motivated, and provide an easy explanation for the people you meet. Also, you will have someone to tell your story/ decompress to when you get there, which will be awesome. Going to a hot springs or swim spot like you mentioned is a good destination too.
2. Go somewhere not too cold, so you are comfortable and don't need much gear.
3. Take one backpack, preferably small. No extra handbags or jackets that don't fit in your pack, etc. That's just stuff to forget in somebody's car or prevent you from being comfortable walking around checking out new places.
4. Forget about the timetable. If you are thinking that you have to be somewhere, then you're better off taking the bus. Hitching/riding trains is the best way to travel when you don't really need to be anywhere, you're just going because you feel like it. Otherwise, it can turn into agony, worrying that you're never going to get a ride. Ideally you can just walk down the road for hours enjoying the scenery or talk to a friend and just about forget you even have your thumb out. So maybe pick a shorter trip if you're pressed for time. Maybe pick a real short one for your first time, like a single day, 3-4 hour drive.

Good Luck!

In my experience total openness and acceptance has made for the safest, most comfortable rides. If you are going to ask strangers to invite you into their personal space, you will meet people very different from yourself. If you don't like their politics or something, fair enough, but avoid confrontation anyway- remember, you're just trying to get somewhere and see something of the world.
If you need to get out, pretend you suddenly realized you left your gloves, or phone or something at a gas station and you need to hitch back the other direction. Or tell them you are about to throw up. Confrontation is pretty much always a lesser solution if you are smart and keep your priorities straight. You will probably never need to do this, but it's good to be prepared just in case.
Awesome advice, thank you so much for the response. I'll be honest this whole thing is kind of going against the anxious and pretty cautious tendencies I've developed, so I'm definitely falling back on detailed planner mode. But I think going out there and just doing whatever without an exact plan will be really refreshing so thanks for addressing that.

About beginner mode, I meant more like I've been reading about stretches of road where it's almost impossible to find a ride? Or things like that? And I didn't want to stumble into something like that at the very beginning and not know what I'm gonna do, but that's me being maybe needlessly anxious again.

I hadn't even thought about falling back on buses if I actually need to be somewhere so that's a great suggestion. I'll keep all this in mind! Really talking to people who offer me rides is the least of my worries, I think I'm pretty good at that kind of thing and also at getting a read on people's intentions/trusting my intuition. It's more all the other unknowns that are getting to me.... but I guess that's kind of the point!
 

Matt Derrick

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Are you planning on traveling alone? Obviously traveling and presenting as female will get you the most rides, and no matter what state you're in, you probably won't be stranded for long unless you get dropped off in bumfuck egypt.

Do expect to get harassed especially if you're traveling alone. Bring pepper spray at a minimum, maybe consider bringing a small folding blade knife. Check out the hitchiking wiki here, it has links to a rabbit hole of resources and info.

I also have a book I've written on traveling via all kinds of methods, including a pretty extensive hitchhiking section. If you can't afford it let me know and I'll send you a pdf.

In regards to your timeline, I think most of that is realistic except for maybe the southwest, i mean, you could include that in your itinerary, but you're probably going to be tight on time the whole way through, and that makes things less fun.

I am driving across the USA with @Daisy this summer and will be passing through your area-ish around june, so if you wanted a ride from there to chicago or maybe further east we can help with that.

lastly, I have moved your thread to our hitchhiking section since most of the discussion seems to be revolving around that. best of luck!
 

noahsarc

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Are you planning on traveling alone? Obviously traveling and presenting as female will get you the most rides, and no matter what state you're in, you probably won't be stranded for long unless you get dropped off in bumfuck egypt.

Do expect to get harassed especially if you're traveling alone. Bring pepper spray at a minimum, maybe consider bringing a small folding blade knife. Check out the hitchiking wiki here, it has links to a rabbit hole of resources and info.

I also have a book I've written on traveling via all kinds of methods, including a pretty extensive hitchhiking section. If you can't afford it let me know and I'll send you a pdf.

In regards to your timeline, I think most of that is realistic except for maybe the southwest, i mean, you could include that in your itinerary, but you're probably going to be tight on time the whole way through, and that makes things less fun.

I am driving across the USA with @Daisy this summer and will be passing through your area-ish around june, so if you wanted a ride from there to chicago or maybe further east we can help with that.

lastly, I have moved your thread to our hitchhiking section since most of the discussion seems to be revolving around that. best of luck!
I'm hoping to travel with one other friend. I'm asking around my friend group but no luck yet, but if I do come with someone they'll probably be male (most of my friends are.) Otherwise I might try to find someone here.

I'm looking into protection and self-defense too, thanks for mentioning that! And thanks for the resources and the ride offer! This site rocks and I appreciate it.
 

Sherbert

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if you are interested in going to VA I will say I have had extremely good luck with catching rides all through VA. In my experience hitching rides has been easiest in the south east (GA, TN, NC, VA), Although I have never tried hitching west of KY. Good Luck on any future adventures!
 

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