An old friend asked me for ten things he should know before setting on foot on the Pacific Highway, or the PCH as we like to call it. Well, low an behold, it turned into a rant….a rave…and a few suggestions…
You see that pack on the floor? The one you have been meticulously packing with every thoughtful item you believe you need on this endeavor? Pick it up, put it on. Now open the door and take a two mile walk. How does it feel? Your back kind of hurts, doesn’t it?
Now, take everything out. I don’t care if your sleeping bag is stuffed under a pot of gold. OUT. I don’t know what it is in your pack, but you really need to second guess every item. Most of the items you find are going to be needed during “What If” situations.
- Don’t go on this trip expecting handouts to get you by. Some travelers give us a bad name because they SOLEY rely on, and as I can see you are reading a book by this title, the kindness of strangers. Yes, there are going to be people who will go to the bottom of their heart and out of their way to help you. It happens when you least expect it, when you actually need it. BUT DO NOT go expecting it. This is about finding out who you are, not searching the world for kind people.
- Broke? Don’t have that “amount” you were hoping to leave with? Fuck it. Traveling isn’t about money. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. You need to completely shed yourself of the worries from a “normal” life and transition into one with the least amount of….anything. Money being my #1 thing. Don’t go beg. Don’t hint to someone you’re broke. Don’t call back home when you’re stuck in a rut. Figure it out yourself. People will be more willing to offer you some type of small task or job instead of opening their wallet. It also makes for a great story my friend. In the end, you will be a better person.
- Carry something sharp, please….but just one thing…NOT 165451154 different weapons. I don’t care if you were in the Marines, are a black belt, or can kill someone with your finger. There will always be someone stronger and faster than you. You will find yourself at times, very weak, most likely from lack of food and pure exhaustion. Put it somewhere close, preferably on your body, and constantly make sure it’s there.
- This leads into my next pointer…….the kindness of strangers also goes hand in hand with the list of things shitty people do. I’ve always traveled alone and everyone has always said how fucking nuts I was to hitch so many miles and have had nothing to have ever happened to me. ‘But you’re a girl”.
Some of the worst stories I’ve heard, are from dudes. Because well, dudes think they’re invincible. You just have to be aware. Follow your gut. You don’t have to say yes to every ride. If I ever feel uncomfortable, I just say…”I’m looking to go a bit further, but thanks.” Just always, FOLLOW YOUR GUT….
- Just enjoy the day. A lot of people set out with time constraints and it really inhibits the whole “trip”. You will find yourself with a stranger and completely enjoying the shit out of life. And then you think, “Fuck, I have to be here by “such time”. It ruins the whole experience. Traveling is mysterious and sexy. So are the strangers you will meet on the road 😛
- They are going to adore you and just completely love the shit out of you. Eat it up, swallow it whole. They’re going to want to keep you, feed you, and make love to you like no other woman has. Sometimes you’re going to think you found “the one”. She just may very well be, but you’ll never know once you’ve gone a bit farther down the road.
- Keep Going. No matter what, just keep going. Don’t give up. Sure, throw your pack down, kick the dirt, and scream at the sky. Just don’t give up. As Forrest Gump once said, “That’s all I gotta say about that.”
- If you find yourself with no urge to go “home”, well then don’t. The road has a way of changing us, chipping away at a once thought concrete block. The road will always take care of you, if you take care of “it”. As a write this, I’m attempting to figure a way to tell you, but my eyes are about to shed tears and my body is going numb.
You wanted 10 things and I really hate to give JUST ten things. You just have to go my friend, let the road take you and the wind always have your back. I love you.