A Grenoble-Lyon trip with the train, leaving at 13h24 and arriving at 14h46 (1h22 of transport) for a person aged between 12 and 25 years without reduction is expensive.
I live in Grenoble and I have a good friend Bob in Lyon who organizes a birthday party for his octopus. I would love to go there, but if I add the price of the party, a 12-years aged Coca-Cola bottle and caviar plus a birthday present to Paul the Octopus, it will cost me half of my scholarship. And even more if in the club I pay an ink bottle to Paul.
I’m a student, which means I’m out of money, but it has been a long time since I haven’t seen Bob. I cannot miss this evening.
Until here, no problem, I can afford it. The week-end after I’ll just stay calm at home and won’t do crazy stuff.
But here comes an text message on my phone, straight from Jean-Baptiste Grange proposing me a ski day in Prapoutel. Fresh snow is forecasted for the next week-end… Because I’m born in the mountains of Grenoble and a high peaks lover, I cannot refuse this invitation.
I have now three choices, and I have to get rid of one because my wallet is not going to follow me in this:
– Not going to the party and going to ski, and drink my 12-years aged Cola alone
– Going to the party and to the ski but no Cola-drinking. Yes, I know, I already was told that without alcohol the party is even crazier. I stay convinced that it’s a government’s thing to make young people drink less.
– Or not going to ski : totally impossible if you look at the snow forecast, it looks way too awesome.
What solution do I have?
If I go at the exit of Grenoble in the direction of Lyon with a piece of cupboard taken out of the basement and a black marker stolen in my mother’s desk, I might get a lift to the toll in about 5 minutes. And maybe from there I’ll find in less than 10min someone that will bring me directly in the center of Lyon?! It makes a 1h09+5min+10min = 1h24 trip. And thanks to this, I can use my scholarship for beer, partying and skiiiiii
Yes of course, hitchhiking would be a solution. But on the other hand, I could be so comfy in the train, looking at people on there smartphones and iPads. Instead if I hitchhike, I’ll to talk to a mail deliveryman that offers me to go with him everyday to Paris for free. And then have a nice talk about nature with this storm chaser (yes, it exists: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storm_chasing ). So much effort…
Still, I’m not too sure about this hitchhiking stuff: and what it I don’t get taken? And I’ll stupid doing nothing on the side of the road?! Maybe if I sell my Pokemon cards I can pay my ski pass (if you are interested, I have got a shiny Blastoise. Send me a message). Ok, I’ll take the train
I´ve been trying all night to sell my Pokemon cards so I couldn’t wake up before 13h. Unfortunately the french train company SNCF is striking again since noon. Now, there is definitely only one solution: hitchhiking.
This story tells how we fell into hitchhiking. It explains as well the different advantages that we find in it, and more largely being housed by the local habitants. At first, the monetary aspect because when you travel, these are the biggest expenses. Hitchhiking allows us to travel longer with the same amount of money, a nice way of saying we don’t like to pay!
Then, we do it for the human encounters: you have no idea who is going to be the next person, no idea of the opportunities you will have. The cultural richness it brings you is just great!
The last aspect that makes us prefer hitchhiking to carsharing is flexibility! You are simply free of leaving whenever you want, no time pressure, and you can stay one day or one week more in a place if you like.
For our trip, we therefore plan a 5€/day budget, which is 1825€/year adding a 400€/year insurance (so mathematical people, how much is it in total?).
NB: Of course, we don’t denigrate neither carsharing nor train! Both are transport means very adapted to other situations than ours. The best exemple could be if you want to make sure to be on time at an appointment!
In this text, we only talked about the advantages of hitchhiking and why these advantages made us choose this transport mean.
We could as well talk about the hours and hours waiting, about the people shouting “fuck you” and honking while passing by, about the people avoiding deliberately our looks and our smiles, about the concrete beds of the petrol station. But in the end we keep a beautiful memory from it, that will stay for ever and ever in our minds and so on… And we remember as well this guy or this girl who, after hours of waiting and struggle is going to make a huge detour to arrange us and to pay us a coffee.
This is why we became serial hitchhikers.
On the collaborative hitchhiking website: Why I hitchhike?