I’ll never forget my trip to the US back in the eighties. I was young, carefree and, I admit, naive. For me it opened up a whole new world of experiences and, incidentally, introduced me to the novel experience of hitchhiking. At first, while I still had plenty of money, I travelled mainly by Greyhound bus. A fantastic way of seeing a new country for the first time. I travelled with a permanent soundtrack ringing in my ears, a soundtrack largely based on a well-known song that went something along the lines of, ‘…all gone to look for America…’ For weeks I lived that song, I saw the countryside and met many a character. I soon learnt that Americans can be some of the friendliest people on Earth. Unfortunately, my travels by bus drew to an end as I realised I was burning through my limited cash. I still wanted to travel, so following the example of those I’d seen by the side of the road, I started hitching.
Hitchhiking was an interesting way of learning about human nature, a way of learning to rely on the kindness of strangers, if you like. I was fortunate enough to confirm my view on the friendliness of Americans and survived to tell the tale. I have to admit that there were some slightly scary times. I’ll never forget the time when I was travelling around Florida when I jokingly asked the driver who’d stopped and picked me up, ‘How do you know I’m not a serial killer?’ My blood ran cold when he replied something to the effect of, ‘I don’t worry about it. The odds of there being two serial killers in the same car are just too slim to be worth considering.’ Before he turned to me and grinned.
Written in response to the Microcosms 300 word competition number 133 with reference to the prompt: Hitchhiker; Florida; Memoir.