Taking chances, being careful exploring and what you can do in Maine that you might not consider in other more populated, less safe areas.
Take hitch hiking as a mode of transportation. Using your thumb to avoid digging deep for gas money or because you don’t own anything needing fuel. Or when it is too cold for the pedal power of a bike. You can save a lot of money, cover much ground and make many new friends hitch hiking.
The feeling of getting a ride when waiting out in the cold or rain a long time is a good one.
A good Samaritan who got around to places using his extended thumb does not easily pass a hitchhiker. Because unless the fellow is unsavory looking, has three pit bulls or a starring role as a character in a Stephen King horror novel, you stop. Back up, ask the obvious…need a ride? It’s right along the way and conversation back and forth makes the travel quick for both of you.
Often it looks like someone’s college kid, one of our own too. Who may have a car that brook down. He suddenly got thrown into hoof it mode. Or just likes the experience meeting the locals hitchhiking that would be missed otherwise. Along the way to and from here and home. Or he is a nomad. On the road of life.
You are part of the mass transit puzzle piece.
Have a role. Glad to offer assistance. You are helping him out and can see yourself in the same situation too. Maybe you were once and someone always stopped over and over. You did not forget the kindness that was extended a lot graciously.
You learn from this traveler asking where you from, where you been, where you heading?
Hitting a truck stop to see who is going to Portland Maine and if you could catch a ride was not uncommon growing up in Aroostook. To get back to college. You did not feel scared or reckless. Like someone in East Boston, Hartford, The Bronx or some seedier sides of Philadelphia might. More from the Guide to Hitchhiking the World.
But back to Maine, what applies here as safe, standard day to day living is not the norm of crime, gangs, scams in the newscast blare.
That are the garden variety kind of day to day scary there. But every one gets numbed to the volume of it, the what to expect in urban areas where you learn to live in fear. Take extra precautions. More people, more crime, less small town connection like Maine is famous for, why it is remembered fondly here. Stands out as so so refreshingly different.
In Maine you don’t worry about a lot of the things that you would if you were fending for yourself in a big city. Same when you see someone hitchhiking in Maine. I’ve gone extra miles to help someone get closer, out of the cold, rain, snow. Or actually to their destination as a driver who can help if we did not share the same A to B. Sometimes the story they were telling, sharing was not done. Other times I just knew they would have a long wait at this place I was getting off the highway at so hit a spot more out in the open. More likely to get a quick “connecting flight” ride.
Maine. Keys left in the cars, that don’t get stolen, not taken for joy rides. Not used in a bank heist or for kidnapping. And we don’t have drive by shootings in the 4th lowest crime state of Maine. So when some new practices are instituted you wonder why and can we really afford the expenditure in a small Maine town? Is it really needed or has someone been watching too much television, cable beamed in from urban crime centers. Or this practice was needed where they used to live where lots of crazy stuff happened. Even with belts and suspenders extra precautions.
So back to hitchhiking in Maine and some of you raising your eyebrows and thinking is he crazy?
I did a lot of it growing up, met lots of neat people and never had a knife pulled. My wallet asked for at gun point. Pushed out of the jeep into the bushes as they became Clyde, not Bonnie in the shot gun position anymore. When I see a college student, two back packers by the road that look tired, I think know what that feels like.
Stop and pick them up. Back up. Think, picture someone with one of my own four kids doing the same and looking out for them. Play it forward. So they do the same and it snowballs. Gives you greater faith in your fellow man that starts with you and I, our actions, deeds. More on hiking the Appalachian Trail and where to stay along the way. Low cost way to see the best parts of Maine few tourists do because a majority just hit the coast and call it good enough. Turn back and head to their out of state, country home.