I looked at the road, then west to the horizon.
It was the Trans-Canada Highway.
I was standing just outside Halifax, Nova Scotia. A 23-year-old intending to hitchhike the length of the Trans-Canadian to Vancouver. I’m English but knew this was a rite of passage for young Canadians. I was combining that with an attempt to meet all 16 of my first cousins who had spread across the country. (None of my first cousins lived in my country!)
Apps and mobile phones were science fiction then. I had a vague idea that my destination was about 4,000 miles away. Today, in seconds, an app informs me it is circa 3,614 miles. I have no memory of exactly where I started hitchhiking, I just know I did.
The first lift involved a guy who claimed to be a shoe salesman and wittered on about having sex in the back of the car we were traveling in. It didn’t faze me — I figured it was the toll I had to pay.
Later, in the Rockies, I bought a hand ax — like I didn’t already have enough to carry! I wasn’t worried about bears, but I’d lost my naivety. The trip already had been worth it.
Why this sojourn?
I seriously wondered if I could hitchhike for wheelchair pushes in a hospital.
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