This is a guest post written by Danil Ivanov about his first time hitchhiking. Hopefully it will inspire all of you to try something that you’ve been wanting to do for a long time. Don’t wait, do it now!
I had been thinking about hitchhiking for almost one year. First, I was waiting for warm weather, then I was looking for travel companions. Finally, on the 5th of July, 2017, I went to the road out of Saint Petersburg for the first time and began to stop cars in the direction of Moscow, hoping to get into the capital of Russia.
A few years ago I literally didn’t know anything about hitchhiking and thought that it was an activity only for bums and crazy adventures. It seemed to me like it was some kind of game. And, moreover, it was unacceptable for me. “Why should someone take me somewhere for free?,” I thought. Upholding such views for my whole life, I’ve been riding in stuffy and boring trains and buses and didn’t see other options of movement until my friends from Rostov-on-Don came to visit me in Saint Petersburg by hitchhiking.
They showed me all of the advantages of hitchhiking and I promised myself to try it. But university, which I then religiously attended, and the freezing Russian winter weather delayed this for a long time. I followed different hitchhiking pages and bloggers in social media and youtube channels. Inspired, I began to host travelers for free; hitchhikers coming to view Saint Petersburg.
And finally, in July 2017, at which time Jack London had become my favorite writer, I realized that time had come. I wanted to go home – about 700 km away. I had debated the best route for a long time and in the end concluded that it is necessary to begin with small distances (700 km is a small distance in Russia). That’s why I decided to hitchhike only on the M10 – the fastest route. I also decided that I needed to find a fellow traveler. I posted on a VK (Russian Facebook) group for hitchhikers and found Masha. It was unbelievably easy to find a fellow traveler going the same route as me. She turned out to be an interesting girl from Moscow, with whom it was easy and fun to spend time with on the road. She already had hitchhiking experience in Europe under her belt. Plus, she found a host for me in Moscow. I didn’t have any more hesitations after that.