Yesterday marked the end of one entire week without money: a week that feels like a month in terms of how much has happened, how much we’ve seen and learned and experienced.
We’ve travelled through seven states, wandered around towns and cities, slept in some strange places…but most of all we’ve met some incredible people.We have no doubt that it will be the same every week on the road, so at the end of each we’ll be writing a post to thank those who have helped us in any small (or large, as seems to often be the case) way along the way.
This is a thank you post to all those who have been a part of our first week on the road – we are so completely overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity seen so far.
Mr DJ / King Ilabash / Nigel
Nigel is a bashment rapper and recording artist with whom we spent the first two nights of our journey. We stupidly forgot to take a picture (blame jet lag, excitement and inexperience) but you should watch his music videos instead. Skip to about 1 minute 30 seconds for musical glory:
Our encounter with Tristan was short but very sweet – our first day starving on the streets of Boston (okay, i’m exaggerating, but still) and he posted on Craigslist that he was moving house and had stuff left over in his fridge. a quick text and a six mile round trip later, we were feasting on veggie burgers, sweet potatoe fries and mayo.
Fair Foods: Nancy
We’ve written an entire post about these guys since they had such impact, but we have to say a separate thanks to the founder, Nancy, for giving us a place to stay that night (along with most of the other workers and volunteers!)
David, Pat & Joseph
David and Pat met in grad school, and we met them travelling to meet friends in Portland with David’s younger brother Joe. We’d been feeling apprehensive about our first hitch – as is always the case at the start of a trip – but we had barely set our bags down before these guys saw our sign for Maine and pulled in to say they were going to Portland. Ice coffee and a trip to the beach later, we were exploring Portland in the sunshine before heading back to their friends house for the night…
Portland: Flat Two
Flat Two belonged to Gina, Lala, Lily, Zack and rescue dog Blue. After an odd start where we turned up without Pat and David to find that only Gina – who wasn’t there – knew we were coming, we quickly settled in to the loveliest, liveliest little apartment in Maine. After an evening chatting with Lily and Zack and a night on Zack’s floor, we made ratatouille with our food project veg and set off for Vermont.
We didn’t remember to get a photo of Michael #1 as it was a short ride out of town, but he scooped us up outside of Portland on his way back from church. Michael had strong views on politics, religion and Obama – all the things hitch hikers like to avoid talking about!
We didn’t get a picture of Mark either, because we’re rubbish and not yet in the habit of asking after every encounter. Mark was driving on his way to sort something out for work (which turned out to be burying something in a grit bin behind a drive-through) but was happy to go for a drive after and drop us at the border of Maine and New Hampshire. A town aptly named Freedom.
Michael (#2!) & Karin
Michael, a teacher, picked us up in freedom on the way to his partner Karin’s house. After long chats about the area and the winters, the hills and the history, we ended up being taken to Karin’s house where we poured over her collection of maps and ate a delicious meal in the sunset on her back porch. Such a wonderful, full-hearted family. After eating, Michael and Karin even drove us up to Plymouth!
After a cold night in a tent we were pleased to be picked up by a soldier on his lunch break, happy to take us a few miles up the road to a service station. We haven’t got his picture or his name, since we swapped numbers after he said he knew people all over America and he used that opportunity to later text us offering dinner and a hotel room in return for ‘American companionship’. No thanks, mate.
At the same time I was unloading bags from the soldier’s car, Lilly had skipped over to a dude filling up his bright yellow Jeep and asked him where he was heading next. We told him our story and before we knew it we were off down American back roads, driven for an hour and half up to and into Vermont, just because he fancied driving rather than doing paperwork at home. Eric was a musician who toured all over the world, but having worked since the age of 10 he decided that an early retirement and a chance to enjoy life was what he needed.
Eric dropped us off at a service station where we waited over an hour for a lift that seemed like it would never come. Finally, after minor sun burn and an incident with an ants nest, Nate pulled up and offered to take us to a town nearby. Being in his air conditioned car was such a relief! Nate was a traveling salesman and took us to Brattleboro, dropping us at a roadside deli near the on road to the highway.
Jay currently lives off grid in a cabin in the woods, but has the opportunity to do a masters in another city so isn’t sure what he’ll decide to do. Within minutes of being dropped off by Nate, we bumped into Jay and he agreed to take us 60 odd miles down the road. In the car we talked about everything, from sustainable living, to politics, to fasting to poverty.
Again, we were terrible and didn’t remember to get a photo of the wonderful, barmy Mavlyud who drove his truck like a go cart and just stopped dead in the middle of a busy road in order to pick us up. Miles later, and after chocolate bars and ice creams, we were dropped at a service station, reluctantly refusing the offer to be taken all the way to Viginia. We’ve quickly learned that life as a trucker often pays well, but is lonely.
Hitching from that service station was painfully slow, and a second trucker pulled over simply to offer us money to get out of there. We refused it.
No photo of Pam, but after spending the night at the service station on the benches of a 24/7 Roy Rogers restaurant we were extremely grateful to see her gesture for us to come over out of the rain. Pam was on her way to a democrats meeting about single payment healthcare but was running early and happy to give us a lift to Albany. She felt strongly about universal healthcare because, having no one around to help her out, she had visited A&E with something stuck in her ear and been charged $1300 – a heavy blow to her finances for what had essentially been 10 minutes with an assistant and some tweezers.
Ann & Eileen
Unfortunately for us, Albany is a difficult place to get out from. After two hours and no luck, Lilly approached two women outside Dunkin Donuts and asked for a lift to the nearest service…they agreed! Location makes all the difference with hitching and after a short ride up the road (discussing the dangers of hitching, life and love) we were at a busy service station on exactly the road we needed to get to Buffalo.
Michael was born in Texas, based in Michigan, doting grandfather to six young boys and has spent the last 22 years straight on the roads of America. We were the first company he had had in four months and it was a pleasure to spend the five hour journey to Buffalo in his cab. Michael bought us lunch on the road, and showed us round the drivers lounge before asking that we join him for dinner. What a lovely guy.
What. A. Legend. I met Chris in a Slack group for Buffer (only social media people will have any clue what this means!) when beta testing his start up social media service, Peggy. Upon learning about our adventure, Chris said “if you make it to Buffalo, I’ll treat you to dinner” so there was no way in hell we weren’t going to make it! Later that evening, Chris took us to our first ever hockey game where I proved myself a real sports fan. Apparently it’s game not match, rink not pitch, ice hockey not field hockey. We were freezing. After all that, Chris even took us to an amazing Grocery store and bought us food to take with us on our journey. What a legend.
Pat & Dec
Patrick and Declan are academics, studying for PHDs in anthropology and English respectively. We had to tell their landlord we were old friends rather than couchsurfers, and their apartment was full of books and dark wood and light from the huge windows. Over a long breakfast cooked by Pat in the morning and copious cups of coffee, we put the world to rights.
Tom was on vacation from work at the Post Office, had heard of our adventure online and decided he wanted to be a part of it, offering to drive us all the way to Cleveland from Buffalo along with a trip on the Maid of the Mist boat at Niagara Falls. He picked us up from Pat and Declan’s, taking the day to drive us around in his white Jaguar, and even ended by taking us for a slap up meal at Denny’s where we watched a poor waitress dump an entire tray of food over a customer by accident. What an insane day, and the Maid of the Mist boat is an experience I will remember forever.
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