My family is less supportive of the idea that a girl is hitchhiking, although not by herself. In the beginning I preferred not telling them about this at all, because I wanted to avoid the sleepless nights and worries. Now I am trying to be honest with them, and get them used to my new style of living.
In Romania, it is common to pay the driver for taking you from one place to another. During the communism regime, hitchhiking was a usual practice because there were fewer cars and not so many things to spend money on. So hitchhiking was pretty common. People knew where to stand, and card just picked them up. With capitalism, one may think that this is not a very decent way of getting by. So if you don’t have a car, there is always the possibility of train or coach, you might be told.
For the past three years neither of these was a possibility for us. When we first timidly tried, we were facing people’s misconceptions. And the hardest thing to work on is people’s opinions and mentality. Through the years we learned a few things we hold in respect. First and foremost, no matter how expensive the car is, it is common sense to tell the driver that you will not pay for the ride. So if he agrees to think, you thank him, if not, you thank him as well.
Another thing we learned while hitchhiking: never have expectations, never judge the person that decides to take you or not, be open to whatever they may tell you, don’t be too opinionated and accept the fact that people are different, they were brought up differently than you, even though raised in the same country and you may not share the same set of values. Never judge another culture through the eyes of your culture.