Hitchhiking Through Laos
A moment lived in Laos by Kaitlyn, a traveller from USA
I met my four Canadian travel buddies crossing the border from Cambodia to Laos. We were instructed to give our passports over at the border while we waited on the bus for them to be stamped (Which seems like a bad idea in retrospect). The attendant came back with all of our passports and was shouting out all of our nationalities while he returned them. I, as per usual, was the only American on the bus, and Canadians tend to find this humorous.
We ended up traveling through Laos together, riding bikes through the 4,000 islands, sleeping in hammocks, and drinking our way through the streets of Vientiane. We got the idea to hitchhike from 2 blonde girls who said they had done it and it was quite simple. We decided to give it a shot, as bus fees were all of four dollars and what better way to experience local life? Throwing caution to the wind and carrying our huge packs, we boarded trucks and accepted the kindness of locals who would stop and give us rides. After a day of riding with chickens, in the back of pickups, and receiving two marriage proposals from locals, I realized I was feeling quite sick. I was about to get food poisoning, and I was literally in the back of a pick-up in the middle of nowhere. The driver felt bad for me and dropped me off at a guesthouse, but there was no water available and I spent the night puking into a flush-it-yourself toilet.
That being said, I learned a lot from this experience. At 19, many would have thought it was crazy to meet some strangers and hitchhike with them. Maybe it was. But even when I sick, even when I was at my lowest, people stepped in and took care of me. Travel can be brutal sometimes. You have to rely on the kindness of strangers and throw all the comfortable, familiarities of life out the window. However, when you do, you learn that the world is a pretty amazing place. You learn that sometimes it’s okay to just switch off the news and experience life the way it’s meant to be lived. You learn not to just to rely on others, but to trust in yourself. I’ll never forget the feeling of absolute freedom that I felt that day-hair blowing in the wind and laughing as we hurtled over bumpy roads and potholes. It’s one of those moments where you feel absolutely infinite, and when you find it, you’ll remember that feeling forever.
This traveller has a blog : Way farer Kate