hitch-hike if you must
miriam crosby is crazy and she has some tips ART BY JACQUELINE MCALLISTER
Warning: Do not continue reading if you do not have thumbs as this article will appear discriminatory and rather useless.
misadventures. I’m not advocating it, but if you’re even slightly considering jumping in a stranger’s car, maybe read this list first.
The phrase — ‘Never get in a car with strangers, even if they have sweets’ — seems to be permanently etched into my memory. And that’s saying something; there are very few things that are etched into my memory. Equally important things never seem to stick — passwords, historical dates or where on earth my key have gotten for example. So I’m thinking this collection of words might be rather important. But I found myself choosing to ignore this unquestionably important piece of life advice. It used to be important. To baby Miriam. To the Miriam that lived and breathed for  years before her European adventure. To the Miriam with money. It didn’t seem as applicable to the Miriam that was attempting to visit every corner of Europe whilst being an impoverished student.
1. Before you embark on your hitch-hiking journey, ensure you have and hold respect for opposable thumbs. Through sickness and in health, till death do you part, look after them, they are the key to your successful journey. Well, them and a very silly hat. 2. Take a tent. Tents are brilliant. If you find yourself stuck at a gas station at 1am, in theory of course, you can, in not an altogether legal manner, camp behind the bushes. 3. Look like a backpacker. Preferably a poor, well-travelled vagabond who has showered at least once in the last month. 4. Don’t turn down kindness, especially in the form of water. Or the form of free rooms, entry to bars, oysters, or rides (be it by car, truck, boat, push bike, motorbike or piggyback). 5. You may feel like a wild animal after a couple of days travelling, but do not succumb to hitch-hiking in a pack. People’s kindness can only extend so far (usually to one or two people at a time). 6. Pack as light as possible. Post it on ahead of you if you must, just don’t find yourself carrying 6 months of winter clothes around southern Italy in the peak of Summer. 7. Bring a map. Not a phone or a tablet or your memory, a map. A scribble-on, bend-rip-tear, hang-up-on-yourwall-when-you-get-home kind of map. 8. Make the most of your pen license and carry a permanent marker for the construction of your all important, ‘TAKE ME TO HAMBURG I PROMISE I WON’T KILL YOU’ signs. Handy markers also come with the added bonus of enabling the inevitable drawing on your travel buddy’s sleeping face. 9. Don’t underestimate the value of a water bottle. 10. There is no such thing as language barriers. There is only a rather flimsy fence called pride. Kick it down and march on over to the other side, safe in the knowledge that Grandma’s talent for charades was hereditary. 11. Toilet paper. Take it. 12. If you see someone who looks remotely as exhausted and bedraggled as you, carrying their world on their back like a turtle, offer them food… even your chocolate. They’re family.
In the midst of these attempts, I met an equally crazy lady named Virginia in the cheapest hostel in Ireland. Armed with 15 days, 15 euros a day, a bright orange tent called Cameron, my unrealistic optimism and her optimistic realism, we set out on our adventure. Incredulity, stupidity and hilarity ensued as we hitch-hiked across Italy, all the way up Croatia, up through Switzerland, across Austria and then back down through France. We learned a few (alright, a lot) of things along the way. Herein is a list of the most important things to consider before your sub-conscious even begins to think about embarking on your own highly dangerous hitch-hiking
Miriam once fit 20 marshmallows in her mouth and is now the ruling champion of Chubby Bunnies. When she’s not defending her title, she drinks tea and reads way past her bedtime -- because she’s a rebel.