Depending on one’s objective and idea of a vacation, hitchhiking is one of the most economical means of travelling to experience the place and culture of the host country. However, it does come with a wide range of risk and uncertainty. It is not advisable for females to go hitchhiking alone taking for granted personal safety is a given. Even for males to hitchhike alone can be risky in certain places too.
Recently, a French hitchhiker got into trouble with the law in New Zealand. He couldn’t hitch a ride for four days and reportedly had gone without food for two days. This probably drove him up the wall as he went into a rampage and was arrested to be charged.
He even had the gall to complain that New Zealand was the worst place on earth bragging about having travelled in over 80 countries. Calling New Zealand “Nazi Zealand” was really uncalled for and simply exhibited his immature self as one of those often lambasted spoilt millennials.
Having driven up and down both the North and South New Zealand a few times, I would vehemently disagree with him. New Zealand is uniquely beautiful and small enough to traverse the islands to experience its natural landscape with mountains, lakes, valleys and beaches. Of course there are pretty little cities as well and unfortunately, Christchurch was severely damaged by two earthquakes a couple of years back and is now slowly coming back to life in the reconstruction phase.
This French chap was stranded at Punakaiki, another very scenic small fishing village on the north west coast of South New Zealand. We had visited this place twice and found this place pretty alluring with the sea coasts and the pancake rock formation.
It is tragic for this French visitor to get into a fit just because he couldn’t hitch a ride, a fault no doubt, rest much on himself. I probably won’t stop to pick up a total stranger if his appearance simply suggests my own ride would become very uncomfortable and even possibly life threatening. This is not to suggest he falls into this category.
The location he chose to hitch a ride could cause potential accident to happen as well. Many years back, I was trailed by a police car near Queenstown. Initially, I didn’t know I was the object of the police interdiction when the siren went up. There were other cars on the road as well. Until I was the only car left with the police car behind me then I realized I had to stop. But the trouble was the narrow one lane each way road was not safe to stop. By the time I managed to turn into a side road, there were other police cars that arrived at the rendezvous.
Actually, it was a small matter regarding my son who was barely a year old and my wife was breastfeeding him during that time. I got a ticket nonetheless, and the police police officer was professional. He wouldn’t ask what he could do for me hoping I would bribe my offence away like I encountered in another country without committing any traffic offence.
New Zealand as a whole is pretty and the people rather friendly too. While it is not illegal to hitchhike in New Zealand, as the saying goes, cheap and good usually do not go together. It is fine to travel cheaply, but to take advantage of other’s goodwill and blame others when help is not received is simply imbecilic.
It is much better pay for services rendered in order to enjoy a great holiday. Peace of mind doesn’t come cheap anyway. Certainty commands a premium.