The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience. – Eleanor Roosevelt
Hitchhiking is Dangerous
I often meet people who are inspired by my courage to hitchhike. They think it’s brave, risky and dangerous, but when I think about it, i don’t think it’s very special but that’s probably because I’m accustomed to it by now.
In 2014, I was hitchhiking down the West coast of America near a small town called San Luis Opisbo when I stopped off to grab a drink in a service station.
I got talking with a girl called Lizzie who was working behind the counter and begun to tell her about my hitchhiking adventure across America.
I was finishing my auto pilot speech, when Lizzie cut it short and said. “Daniel you’re so brave, I could never hitchhike, it’s dangerous and I’ll get kidnapped or murdered.”
I pondered on this thought for a few seconds and replied “where does this thinking come from Lizzie?”
“Haven’t you watched the news or seen the movies?”
“But have you ever tried hitchhiking before Lizzie?”
“No, I’d never dream of it.”
“Ok it’s probably time to leave now Lizzie.”
But it was clear to me that Lizzie was set with her position on hitchhiking and this conversation provoked me to think and stuck with me for the rest of the day.
Who had taught Lizzie to think this way?
Why was she so fixed with her position?
Why was my perception of hitchhiking so much different to Lizzie’s?
A Generalised World
We live in a world that loves to speculate about anything and everything.
We don’t want to put in the work and go and find out for ourselves.
Instead we lazily borrow notions and preconceptions from society, the media and religion to frame our own thinking.
The problem with these preconceptions is that they aren’t necessarily true.
These notions are based on other people’s experiences, not yours.
But other people’s experiences can’t all fit in the same box.
Experiences are wiggly, fuzzy and ambiguous.
Experiences are relative, individual and marked by your belief system, and values – not somebody else’s?
I know, I know, it’s comforting to generalise, squish notions into a box and don’t waste any energy thinking for ourselves.
But here’s a question to ponder:
How can you speculate on something you’ve never experienced before?
Get Out There And Find Out For Yourself…
I get it, it’s good to be cautious, and your Mother will be proud of you.
But holding preconceptions about the world limit our experience and stop us from doing great things.
The only way you will ever truthfully know is by being open to challenging your belief system, jumping in and finding out for yourself.
That means taking everything you hear with a pinch of salt, getting out into the world and creating your own unique experiences.
Don’t listen to me, the news, a TV programme or anyone else – it will never cut it.
Most of what society, school and my parents taught me turned out to be fabricated truth. It was only by getting out into the world and seeing it with my own two eyes that I was able to reframe my perceptions.
So here’s the final push:
Get out there, and find out for yourself by embarking on your own experiential journey.
And if it’s scaring you, I can tell you this with conviction… it’s never as bad as you think it will be.
Thanks for reading and all the best,
Daniel Beaumont, Sunday 21st February 2016
About the Author
Hello everyone, I’m Dan – a 28-year-old social entrepreneur and writer from the north of England, living in Bucharest, Romania. I’m currently writing my first book about my 4-year journey around the world seeking wisdom and life-lessons from everyday people I met hitchhiking and Couchsurfing.
I discovered that travel, if approached with the right mindset, can be life-changing, and a trip combining travel, purpose and introspection is a great way to learn, challenge oneself and change for the better. Now my mission in life is to share what I’ve learned to inspire others to embark on their own journey of self-discovery and use travel, entrepreneurship and technology as a means to make the world a better place.
I’m also the founder of Podstel – a vision to help humanity belong and grow by creating a worldwide network of ‘homes’ that bring locals and travellers together to share their stories, passions and skills. The first two Podstels are open and thriving in Bucharest, so if you’re passing through, be sure to come and say hi, or stay the night with us.
If you enjoyed reading this article, please share it with your friends and join the discussion below by posting your thoughts and questions.
If you want to read more articles like this then please subscribe to my mailing list here to receive content directly to your inbox.