Hitchhiking: My First Experience

As I stood with my small backpack and my nicely pink decorated sign on the side of the road in Zaragoza, Spain in hopes to travel to Madrid, all of the fears and doubts came flooding in at once:

“What the heck am I doing!?”

All of the confidence I had been building up to this moment disappeared.  I could hardly find the confidence to hold my sign up.  I felt nervous, embarrassed and doubt, however I knew that if I wanted to have this crazy experience that I needed to get past the fear, fast! 

That is just what I did.

After an hour of bad luck standing in the wrong location, I took a bus to try where  hitchwiki suggested to go.  I got off the bus at a huge shopping center in the middle of no where and found myself completely lost.  

I knew that walking down the interstate and trying to find a ride is illegal, but I was lost and the interstate was my only choice.

The sky was stormy and dark and there I was alone, walking down the interstate, thumb out and just waiting to get poured on.  After about 20 minutes someone stopped. 

However, to my luck it was a police officer!!  

A little nervous, I asked him, “Are you going to fine me?” He looked at me, thought a minute and replied, “No, not this time. You should be more careful, however this will be my first time to pick up a  hitchhiker and so I’m excited for the experience, get in the car!”

The officer was only able to take me 30 minutes up the road to the closest gas station, but it was better than nothing.  I left the police car and entered in a gas station that had absolutely no one in it.

Not a good sign. 

After a while of walking around with my heavy backpack on my back, I found a small restaurant full of whistling truck drivers, but no one was going in the direction of Madrid. 

I walked even further up the road to another gas station and to my surprise that one had a restaurant with a few people in it.   My chances were slim to none because there were only 3 people in the restaurant, but I had to do SOMETHING. 

The doubt came rushing in like never before.  

It’s one thing to stand on the road with your thumb out, and another to personally go up and ask someone for a ride.  I had no idea what to say or any idea of how to approach the situation. I was embarrassed.   Given that I had to do all of this in another language gave me even more doubts. 

 I approached person number one.  Seeing he did not have a single tooth in his head and was dirty and rude, I quickly moved on.

 Next, I went up to a nice looking couple, but the man was not friendly and it was clear he was not going to help me out.  

My last option was a man who was very well dressed.  I approached him and asked, “Sir do you have any idea of where I might  find a ride to Madrid?”

Skeptically, he looked and me from head to toe and said, “Hmmmm, I am going to Madrid, however I don’t pick up hitchhikers. However, you seem like a nice person.  Do you want me take you?”

I was so excited and agreed in a heartbeat. We left the restaurant and when we approached his car my mouth dropped.  It was a brand new BMW fresh off the lot.  In fact, he had just picked up the car two hours before meeting me, so I was the very first person to ride in the car.  

What a relief!  For the duration of our trip, we shared stories, laughed, and the time passed in a breeze. It might  have been his first time to pick up a hitch hiker, but after seeing how our went, I am sure it won’t be his last. 

Getting past the initial fear that goes along with hitchhiking all alone was not easy. However, its amazing what doors open up if you step out and do the things that make you uncomfortable (of course, be safe)! 

Step outside of your comfort zone.

Do the thing that you have always wondered about (which in my case was hitchhiking).

Don’t shrink back in fear and focus on all the things that COULD happen. Take a risk! 

Don’t forget to also read: 


  • Have you ever tried hitchhiking?
  • What was your first experience like?
  • Share below.   
Sarah - thenomadicdreamer.comHitchhiking: My First Experience