Can’t hitchhike to Paris

Well, school is over, I’m done with DEFLE, I left my apartment exactly a week ago and for the past week I have been hiding in a Rotarian’s attic. And now, finally, it is time to leave the nest and throw myself into the world once again.

At first I didn’t think I was gonna do it alone, I had plans to travel in groups or with friends, but not everything works how we want it to. Once again, I’ll get 2 months to travel by myself, visit some friends, meet new people, discover new cities and countries where I don’t speak a bit of the language. This would be terrifying, but after being in Athens, and hearing greek for the first time, nothing else scares me.

Packing and leaving Bordeaux wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I did make great friends there, Rotary exchange students, Rotex, DEFLE students, and of course, some French people. but I have gotten pretty used to the idea of leaving, and like the title says; Sorry, I can’t stay long. That along with the idea of what lays ahead of me this summer just thrills me. I was so excited, but so excited, that I decided to leave the Aquitaine hitchhiking.

Hitchhiking aint easy in Europe, not because it is dangerous, it’s not! I mean, I’m from South America for crying out loud, I did a 1000km in two days with a backpack in my back and no fear in my heart. The problem here is that no one stops for you. As I have learned earlier, the french are just not as welcoming, caring and helping as the South Americans. Of course I am generalizing, which is unfair, but I feel like that is one of the main cultural differences between us Brazilians and the French. But today I did have 7 awesome french people that helped me immensely on my 1st day of traveling.

The first one of them is Christine Schieber; the Rotarian that hosted me for this past week. The last one is Thierry Chappe; the french with whom I’m Couch Surfing tonight in Paris. In between I have these 5 awesome french that picked me up on the road and drove me for 607 KM today.

So this is how it went:

  • At 8:10 I left the house in Talance
  • At 9:30 Lift my thumb for the first time this morning
  • At 10:00-10:10 My first ride drove me from Bordeaux to Carbon Blanc (10,6 km)
  • At 13:00-13:50 Second one and hardest to get; Carbon Blanc – Saintes (107 km)
  • At 14:40-14:50 Third one; Saintes – St Jean Angely (27,3 km)
  • At 15:15-15:25 The fourth one took me to main important spot at A10; St Jean Angely – Niort (49,3 km)
  • At 15:50-19:50 Last and most important, 5th driver took me from Niort all the way to Paris (413 km)
  • At 20:50 I Arrived at Couch Surfer’s house. WIN!

Rough day? Pff, YES! At some points I didn’t think I was gonna make it to Paris, or even leave my second city. Other times I even had it figured out in my mind my possible sleeping places, because I thought no one would pick me up. But here I am, in Paris for the night, enjoying my cup of tea and admiring the Eiffel Tower. Tomorrow I’m going to Troyes, to see Chloe Soto-Mayor after an entire year, this time I’m taking a train.

PS: 2/5 drivers that picked me up on the A10 road said they only stopped because I had my Brazilian flag out. One was married to a brazilian, the other one had been in Brazil just last week.

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52 thoughts on “Can’t hitchhike to Paris

  1. Well… as you know, if you read my blog right now, I LOVE Brasilians! It must be a cultural shock to go out there and find that folks are not as open and trusting, warm and friendly as Brasilians! I think you’re wildly brave, but that’s Brasilian too!! Part of me just wonders what you are looking for… but the other part Knows that you are Just Enjoying Life!!!

    • Marcos C. says:

      I am just enjoying life, but I am also seeking knowledge and I want to open my mind as much as I can. I wanna change constantly and make friends that I will keep for the rest of my life. Thanks for stopping by and for loving Brasilians ;D

  2. Excellent post! You took us along. May the Borges be with you.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Glad you got there safely. Keep Truckin!

  4. Loved taking the trip with you. Thanks for the ride.

  5. jdobypr says:

    really enjoying taking these trips with you… you really are a good storyteller…I can see everything in my mind!

    • Marcos C. says:

      I love blogging and I love traveling, I’m just happy that there are people reading it. Otherwise it wouldn’t have the same feeling, so thank you!

      • jdobypr says:

        Yes I read as often as I can…how long will this trip take? are you running into any good music from the regions you are hitting?

      • jdobypr says:

        i really enjoy reading your stories…are you finding any music in the regions you pass through?

      • Marcos C. says:

        Thanks, man. I actually didn’t get a lot of new music when I was in France. Do you have anything good for me?

      • jdobypr says:

        Hey Marcos…I get music out the ying yang on the daily LOL…I usually delete most of it because it doesn’t have an intro to the artist they just send me links…not the best way to approach a writer. i will be glad to forward them to you so you can spend YOUR downtime looking for that pearl amongst stones.

  6. ramshazia says:

    Every time someone new visits my blog or likes a post or leaves a comment, I am compelled to go over to their blog and see for myself who would possibly enjoy my rants😀
    thank you for the support, its all a student needs to keep motivated. For that is what we are all right? regardless of our age🙂
    I came and I genuinely liked the feel of your blog so I followed. Hope to read more about you meanderings and travelings… Good Luck!

    • Marcos C. says:

      I am the same way, and that is why I like going around WordPress finding different blogs, you just get so much back, don’t you think?
      And it is what we are all looking for, just knowing that someone is reading it, keeps me writing.
      Thank you, good luck to you as well.

  7. bullright says:

    God Speed, Carlos! Looking forward to the updates. Excellent motto, by the way.

  8. rrracho says:

    Thanks for reading my blog! It sounds like you’re having quite a trip… hitchhiking can be an interesting adventure-glad you made it to Paris safely! Enjoy one of my favorite cities! The beauty of Paris always takes my breath away🙂

  9. Marine says:

    Enjoyed reading your post. Your description and the built-in uncertainty sure beat doing the same trip via TGV… Hope you’ll enjoy going to Troyes and meet more nice French people en route. Thanks for liking my blog too!

    • Marcos C. says:

      Right? I have done that trip before with the TGV, but I was just so excited that I felt like I should do it in a different way, and I had heard about people that did it hitchhiking and I thought it would be a great idea. I am just so happy it worked.

  10. Wow, you are a very impressive and strong-willed person. I would love to be doing what you are doing–the freedom and adventure. It all just sounds amazing! And good for you for doing it! I only wish I had your courage🙂

  11. foxress says:

    Wanted to let you know I’ve nominated you for Kreativ-Blogger Award on my blog🙂

  12. jumpingpolarbear says:

    Go to Poland or the Ukraine for the Euro 2012 championships🙂.

  13. I wish I can travel like you do. Sounds exciting.:)

  14. Northern Narratives says:

    It is wonderful that you can travel to so many places 🙂

  15. siskinbob says:

    It’s been many years since I hung out my thumb. I always found it to be a gamble. Some day’s it seemed nobody wanted to stop. Other days I seemed to get rides one quickly after another. I suspect that these days folks are a bit more cynical about the nature of someone looking for a freebie. Good luck with your travels. Be Safe.

    • Marcos C. says:

      I totally agree, I hear everywhere that before it was much easier. I still would like to try it again, in Germany this time. I don’t know how hard it should be, but we’ll see.

  16. onomeister says:

    I lol’ed to the reason why they stopped to pick you up… Great writeup on your continuing adventures

  17. Life as Mia says:

    I just went past your blog, and had a look, pretty cool!

    Really awesome and brave that you just went on your own like that! I wouldent have dared to, but okay, Im female, so I guess its different? Im from Europe, I live in Denmark! Im not a huge fan of France tho, but well its pretty there, thats for sure! (Disneyland is just not that amazing as everyone wants it to be lol)

    I am a pretty luxurious person when It comes to holidays, Im all for the trips with airplanes, and planned busses and hotels with pools.. I guess thats just how I relax the best? Last time I went somewhere I in Mexico, for two weeks, all inclusive and I loved it.. 5 star hotel and I was so sad to leave the place hehe.. I think Mexico is heaven on earth!

    Im gonna follow you, I think you write pretty amazing, hope we can follow eachother a bit!

    • Marcos C. says:

      Well, first of all thank you so much for stopping by.
      Haha I think it’s funny you say you are not a fan of France, but I agree that it is very beautiful there. I’m not a fan of Disneyland though.
      I do like hotels with pools, but I wanted to do things a little differently!
      Post lots about your travels too, please.
      Have an awesome day.

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  19. I don’t think I’d have the guts to hitchhike EVER (unless I’m with someone else). Thanks for stopping by my blog and liking the post. If ever you’re in Madrid sometime after September, let me know, I’ll buy you a beer! Happy travels!

    • Marcos C. says:

      Haha I totally understand you, the first time I did I was with someone else too, but then this last time I did it alone. It was scary at first but then it worked out. I will definitely let you know if I go back to Madrid!
      And please let me know if you are in Minnesota, I’ll buy you one then.
      Enjoy summer

  20. In my youth I tried to hitchhike across Canada. I got a couple of hundred miles from Toronto with no problems. And then I hit Sudbury. I was there 2 days. People would get off work and slow down as they passed me. When I ran up to their car they’d take off. Other folks would roll down their windows and threw empty beer cans at me. Delightful place. Eventually I got fed up and bussed back to Toronto.

    • Marcos C. says:

      That is such a bummer to hear, the same happened to me in Chile. So did you ever try hitchhiking again? Or have you given rides to people after that?

  21. sparksofme says:

    Amazing how things work out, isn’t it?😉 With them picking you up because you had your flag showing, and the reasons for that.

    Thanks a lot for following my blog.🙂 Have a blast! I would love to travel, too.

    • Marcos C. says:

      I agree, it amazed me that this was the reason they stopped, but I had done it in South America, and it had worked, so I was just hopping people would stop again, because of the flag. Have you ever done anything like it?
      Thank you, and enjoy summer!

      • sparksofme says:

        I haven’t hitchhiked or traveled much outside the U.S. though I want to. I know some folks who do, and seem to get by very well. And it is amazing why people will do what they do, it happens on a smaller scale in day-to-day life all the time!🙂

  22. styledenker says:

    Great post, thanks for sharing! It makes me travel-sick….I need to get moving again. for me, the most inspiring thing about traveling by yourself is meeting such amazing people. I will never forget those ones, who crossed my way, when I was moving from Munich to Miami by myself right after leaving school. The time of my life!

    Keep moving!

    • Marcos C. says:

      It is the same for me, I just feel so blessed for meeting so many great people that I know that anywhere I go I will have a great time.
      And do get moving again, it is the best in life.

  23. Tom Wood says:

    Ha ha the power of the Brazilian flag! I’m not sure I will be trying hitchhiking any time soon here in your home country! The only time I tried it in recent years in the UK, I was amazed to find I quite quickly got a lift. I think it all depends on how you appear for that split second. And a Brazilian flag or similar item just helps reassure the driver that you’re a friendly traveller and not an axe-wielding maniac! Boas viagens!

    • Marcos C. says:

      Muito obrigado, and yes, I do think having something different like a flag helps reassure them that we are friendly travelers. I like to think that I am sharing something with them. And I’m glad it worked out for you in the UK, I’m going to be there soon, wish me luck!

  24. Kit says:

    amazing blog, looks like you had an amazing experience wish l could do something like that in the future, but for now its off to study!

  25. Pharma528 says:

    I’m with you on gotta keep moving!

  26. agriviada says:

    Hi Marcos … just discovered your very cool blog. I love the optimism and positivity you project in it! Can’t wait to follow your further adventures!

  27. gambbroonge says:

    Keep at it! Love your positivity!😀

  28. Brilliant blog with tons of good energy. – happy trails… I hope you enjoyed every moment of it.

  29. Oi menino!

    I have the same thought about french people, but on the road I met so many wonderful people who helped me a lot! So now I think in a different way.🙂

    Sometimes I also think I’m not going to arrive to the city I want because I start hitchhiking really late..but at the end I arrive. We just have to the patient sometimes.

    A gente se fala!😉

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