Is Hitchhiking in Europe Safe??

Did I tell you about the time when I was backpacking across Western Europe and I was in Brussels, Hitchhiking all the way to Luxembourg.

Why would someone Hitchhike when one can just buy a 10 Euro flixbus from Belgium to Luxembourg?

We are all living our own adventures and this is what life is all about, Adventures and Taking Risks. Hitching is one of those adventures that folks believe, is not attainable but in fact it is, however reserved for audacious people and we are so used to our 9-5 schedule that we are afraid of living Out Of The Box, everyone is looking for stability, even when they are unhappy. People are ready go through the bearable suffering for years but would never want to chase their own dream because they’re afraid.

You are going to regret it one day.

After twenty years, will you be happy with the things you did and the adventures you didn’t take instead?

A simple question. Isn’t it?

My first hitching journey commenced in Belgium and the destination was Luxembourg (220Kms).

The Paper placard that I used to Hitchhike.

It took me three rides to reach Luxembourg from Brussels and I learned three Important lessons that applies to everyone’s life. Lets get to know the lessons, ITS WORTHWHILE.

Also, yes it is safe to hitchhike in daylight in Western Europe for everyone, being it a guy or a girl. I haven’t experienced other parts of Europe yet but let’s discover this journey for now.

FIRST RIDE

When I was standing with my first paper banner written “Namur”, It took me around 30 minutes to get the first ride for 60 kms. As it was my first Hitching experience, I was losing hope, people could see me on the road but nobody stopped for a while.

Paec, a young Belgian guy stopped abruptly when he saw me and so my trip began. He was a very soft spoken person who loved to make contacts and meet people from all over the world. He narrated his travel experiences in Europe and I told him about my journey and where I intend to go.

I arrived in Namur from Brussels in 30 minutes and he left me at a decent spot to hitchhike further.
Here’s a picture with Paec.

Arrived at Namur with Paec. I can not suck more in pictures.

The first lesson I learnt was that when you’re on the road to achieve something, it is not going to be easy. You’re going to face many obstacles and failures but the only way to achieve your goal is by not giving up on it so in a nutshell, don’t be afraid to EMBRACE REJECTIONS.

There are so many famous rejection stories out there but my favourite one is the story of JK Rowling and how she was rejected by a bunch of publishers for Harry Potter. You may know it already, now read my tiny story and though I have seen many other rejections but let’s stick to the travelling now.

Life isn’t easy and so wasn’t the time while I was standing with a banner on my hand for the first time, moreover, pedestrians passing by and looking at me while I was smiling only if I made an eye contact with them. Did I even have a choice to do something other than that?

Luckily it was the best thing that I didn’t have any choice but to do what I planned. I have seen people who have the courage to chase their dream but at the same time, they’re afraid of not being able to realise it so they keep an alternative as well and they always end up taking the alternative. In my case, I didn’t keep any such as a bus ticket so I had to do it or else, well, I don’t know what would have been the option since I had no place to go except buying a super expensive ticket.

I waited thirty mins to get my first ride and some people replied with face and hand gestures.

Oh sorry I am going that way

there’s a car behind

Oops can’t help you sorry

but eventually after having been through all rejections, I was able to begin my journey so always remember that there will be someone who will always stop for you, to help you begin your journey. Hold on a little longer and tighter.

“Rejections are the part of the wonderful journey you are embarked upon”

– Anonymous supertramp

SECOND RIDE

I left early in the morning from my host’s place to set off on this journey so I couldn’t eat anything. I sat on the nearby grass for sometime and ate some Madeleines and walnuts that I packed while leaving for this trip. madeleines are soft bread with/without choco chips. I had the simple one without choco chips.

Alas! the destination was still quite long and I could just complete one fourth of it so far. I was standing in front of a car’s showroom in Namur nearby a roundabout and the autoroute in the right went directly to Luxembourg. Again it took around 20-25 minutes to get a ride. Paec finished his work and I saw him going back. I was standing right there where he suggested me to be so I’ll get a ride easily.

Finally someone, I got someone. It was Babou, who stopped a bit far so I didn’t notice if someone stopped and continued to look for rides and then I heard someone yelling to get my attention. I ran towards her and I asked.

Are you going to Luxembourg?”

No” she replied

But I am going to somewhere in between and I can drop you there. You will easily find your next ride to Luxembourg from there” she added.

How far is the place where you’ll drop me” I enquired

Around 40-50kms from here” she replied

I have been waiting for around thirty mins so I looked on the possibility of getting this ride and then the next one to arrive Luxembourg.

Babou was a wonderful girl with humour and a helpful person with a zeal to travel and she told me her travel plans for Thailand. I was also watching the beautiful scenery at the both sides of the road. I don’t know why but I feel attracted to the beauty of wind mills, Yes I find them beautiful and I know it’s just a machine. It is right? Well I don’t know if it is just me who like it or if other people likes it too. I never talked about it to anyone. Meanwhile, Babou and I kept talking about my travelling itineraries, India, the difference between Indian and European culture and a lot more.

Once you’re out there looking for help, you find so many nice people and so Babou was one. She went some extra miles to leave me at the best spot possible for further rides. She left me at a gas station, 5-6kms far than where she had to go.


So what exactly is the second lesson ?
When you are headed on the road to success, there’s no turning back because you will have to walk anyways. For instance once I reached Namur, I couldn’t go back to Brussels because even for that, I had to take a ride and wait which is pointless. Sometimes in life you may feel that taking a step back is better than bearing the suffering and failures but remember success doesn’t happen overnight and it is not easily attainable but it’s definitely worth waiting and if you want to accomplish something, you have to hold your horses. Hence, the second lesson is HAVE PATIENCE!

In the darkest night when you feel there’s no hope left, then comes the brightest morning.”

– Anonymous Supertramp

Here’s a picture with Babou.

THIRD RIDE

I ate some more Madeleines and walnuts at the gas station where Babou dropped me and after a few minutes break, I returned to the road.

The third ride was the easiest one to get. It took me zero mins to get it. I commenced walking towards the road to find a spot to stand and there was a truck coming out of a factory, first I showed him my paper banner written Luxembourg on it and “he shook his head in disagreement” but so far I already learnt the lesson of rejection so I was cool.

I was still walking out of the side road of the gas station to be near the autoroute (highway) and I saw someone going slow in his car and while he sort of tried to figure me out, I ran a little and showed him my super banner. He stopped.

Do you speak French or german?” His first question

Yes I speak French and English” I replied.

You won’t rob me or kill me right?” His following question

The guy who stopped was from North Africa so I just showed him my arm and I said

Do you think I can?”

We both laughed and he asked me to “hop in.”

I loved this situation and it also reminds me of an episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S where phoebe says to Joey about the Hitchhiker he picked “he can be a rapist or murderer” – Phoebe. On which joey replies “Don’t you think I asked him that”.

It was my final ride and that is how I arrived to the city of Luxembourg. Meanwhile this last journey, we talked almost about the same topics and some more of course as it was the longest distance in all three rides. He told me how he used to pick hitchhikers before but then he stopped doing it and it was after years that he picked a Hitchhiker.


Oh wait the third lesson. So the third lesson is VICTORY.

Who like failures? Well that doesn’t matter, we like it or not, it is a part of life and you will have to deal with defeats and failures in life. The road to success is not easy and the only way to be successful in life is by never giving up on your dream.

To sum up,

Embrace Rejections and improve yourself.

Have Patience in your tough time. The magic will happen only if you believe in it.

There you go, Winner! We are ready to listen to your beautiful speech.

Do not confuse success with money, it is never about the things you own but instead the hearts you won.

– Anonymous Supertramp

I forgot to click a picture with the third friend so here’s a picture from his FB profile. I guess I was all excited to see the city of Luxembourg.

See you soon in my next blog about Paris. Here is the link below.

Paris, A Flaw-Less destination?

Here’s my Trophy! The city of Luxembourg.

Published by The Indian Supertramp

Hey there, I'm Shubham. I am from Delhi and am passionate about traveling the world, meeting new people and getting lost in nature as much as possible. I was on the road for 17 days between May 31 and June 16, after completing my semester at the University of Rennes. Now, after three months in quarantine and the situation outside where people are avoiding travel as much as possible, I'm back to breathe the world with all the precautions, of course. It is a wonderful experience so far that I would like to share and continue to explore and take more risks (I mean travel risks such as couchsurfing, hitchhiking etc, please take all precautions for Covid). I hope this platform gives you inspiration (and practical advice) to go on a pursuit of your own adventures. I have experienced that chasing adventures and having new experiences is a unique education that you don't get in school or college, so come out of that shell, break the 9-5 cliché and make your life worth remembering.

34 thoughts on “Is Hitchhiking in Europe Safe??

    1. Thank you Himanshu!
      Go ahead, but also know your adventure well and prepare accordingly. For example, I first decided to try it in Belgium (since it has a pretty good reputation for its Belgian citizens) and in broad daylight but I would have avoided it let’s say in America (LoL) and at night.

      Like

  1. To be inspired is great, to inspire is INCREDIBLE!
    And you’ve become my adventurous travel inspiration. Your way of travelling is real fun. I can’t wait to try these new adventures after reading your travel stories. I know it takes a lot of courage to take risks but you experience a lot just like you did. Your wanderlust motivated and enlighted a spark of travel in me . Waiting eagerly for your next post.

    Like

    1. Thank you for your generous words, Vriddhi. We had some risky adventures together too and I bet you loved it except the one thing that happened in Italy but we enjoyed anyways. Next post will be out by Monday, 09/09/19.

      Like

  2. Kudos for your audacity !
    Your journey is actually really inspiring .However a question that arises in my head is that is hitchhiking as safe in india as it in europe ?

    Like

  3. Kudos for your audacity !
    Your journey is actually really inspiring . However a question that arises in my head is that is hitchhiking as safe in india as it is in europe ?

    Like

    1. Hi Peehu
      I would have loved too say YES for an answer to your question but unfortunately it’s a NO. In our country, It is not safe to hitchhike perhaps for a guy it’s fine and I have no problem to try it (in a daylight only) but I’d never suggest it for a girl not even with a male companion. I don’t need to mention the reason as I believe you know it already.
      Have a wonderful day ahead!

      Like

  4. Super inspiring my friend .. I’m glad you’re on your way to fulfill your dreams …. I genuinely felt so happy reading this …. Keep exploring and keep wandering supertramp !!

    Like

  5. Heyyy Hero… Je t’aime pour ça… So happy for you & felt so glad after reading all this .yes i am totally agreed “success doesn’t come easily ,we have to go go out of the box to achieve it ”
    All the very best for the next journey 😘😘

    Like

  6. I always looking for people who are following their dreams but now days. It’s hard to find someone like this. I am really happy for you and yes this is inspiring. there are more roads to go there are more destination to reach. Keep exploring

    Like

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