I used to think that asking for a free drive was impossible in my country because I did not know anyone around me succeeded in this, anyone I know. It is until I knew there was a culture of that kind of drive and thousands of people used it everyday on earth, people called it hitchhiking, I started to step into that culture. 

It is possible. Possible? Right, hitchhiking is possible in many areas  in the world as Europe, North America or anywhere not in Vietnam. Right here, people seem to think bad about strangers, that strangers are all malevolent; people seem to make a default program in their brain that a guy full of tatoos on his back is absolutely violent, a wanderer with dark skin is infamous or a person who is blue collar worker lacks morality, with no exception. However, maybe it is not as serious as I am saying, maybe people have another program with a default setting of "more alert is still better".  What I am going to say is that hitchhiking is not popular in Vietnam. I have asked many people and they have said NO with my question of if they know hitchhiking or not. Even myself, I had not know hitchhiking until I heard stories told by my traveler guest. I tried to use my thumb then but it did not work much. The Vietnamese is strange to thumb. But finally I succeed in hitchhiking in Northern Vietnam by a weird movement of hands to draw attention to a trucks. Succeeding once, I want to try more then, definitely. 

I traveled in Northern Vietnam for a month, I did hitchhiking some times and it all worked. That is why I say hitchhiking there is not impossible. 

1. Motorbike hitchhiking

One time at midnight when I was walking slowly along West lake, a guy stopped his motorbike next to me and asked where I was going. After asking for a ride to my friend's home, he rode straight to there. I have 3 reasons for that thing to happen. First, I looked so exhausted that I made him think I could not go home by myself. Second, I looked beautiful and he just wanted to talk with me. Last, we are both in the same community - community of believing each other, we like to help because we are rich of faith. 

Another time when I was walking to catch a bus from Mai Chau highland to Hanoi, a local motorbike man stopped in front of me as the same way with the story above. We talked for a while and then rode me to where I could catch a bus. Right now, I am sure that I have a special ability which not many people around can have, an ability of believing in people. 

2. Truck hitchhiking

My first long-drive truck hitchhiking happenned when I was "awesomizing" my trip in the North. After getting in a  detesting bust with a detested driver's mate, I regreted immediately. The rain was pouring down so I did not get off it until the bus was full of people and I saw no intention of letting more and more people on bus. I angrily jumped out of the bus and asked for the money I paid before, a guess what I received then. The driver's mate yelled at me rudely with "Are you crazy?" then made the bus go away from my eyes.

 Cursing. That is what I did before deciding to hitchhike any truck on the road. It is somehow a crazy idea to some people. For example, when I tried to attract a truck, a woman came to ask me what happened with me, and she came to inclusion that nobody would drive me for free. Or when I was safely home and told my friends and what they said was "Aren't you scared of being raped?", as I remember. 

Waving. That is what I did for an hour but no truck seemed to stop, any of them. For a moment, I thought I was hopeless as I was somewhere on the moutain more than 100 kilometers from Hanoi and nobody seemed to help. I rejected many buses stopping by because I did not have enough money to go and I hate those also, that kind of buses was competitive, they competed each other to catch people on the road. Some times, trucks stopped when seeing my waving but they did not head to Hanoi and the drivers said goodbye to me with such a friendly smile. 

Sitting on the ground and waiting for fate. That is what I did when I felt tired of my idea. During that time, that truck came. I came open it and asked for a drive. After the word "Yes", I climbed up in and the rest of it became a legend. The driver was really a good guy, we talked a lot on the way to Hanoi. He told me his daily life as a truck driver, his family, his stories during the time he had been living in the South. And, I shared mine. He was very supportive, he was different from many people I knew, he approved with my ideas. So, I had thought so wrong about long-way truck drivers before, I thought that, I think that, I am thinking that. 

- I'm sorry, I don't eat meat.

- Really? So I'll order fish. 

It was more than a story. We stopped and had lunch. I did not know it was dreaming or not, the driver was so nice, so "breathtakingly" nice. After all, I said goodbye to him with a sincere thank you and a hope that he would see my note I left on the truck. Safely home, I told this story to my Couchsurfing host, she just said "Well done my friend", of course with a high five attached. 

So, what do most of Vietnamese people think about waving for a drive, especially a waver is woman? Maybe they think that woman is doing a immoral thing or she is touch-and-go. Or, wavers are type of people who are poor and crazy. Please, that kind of mouth words are annoying. 

Truly, I can lose anything but I will never lose my faith in people. Some times in my life I think my religion is kind of believing in people. 

Published by My Lu