Anywhere But Here
The Memories of a Hitch-hiker
© Copyright 1996–2004, Bernd Wechner

Read the
Introduction or dive right in!

I was once asked to contribute some memories for a book on hitch-hiking, and spent the better part of one night recalling stories of bygone years. It was the start of a tradition that grew into this book, which continues to grow with every new experience. 

It's a rather lengthy piece for on-line browsing, but it is broken down into a great many very short stories, that are all essentially unrelated and can be read in more or less any order, making on-line browsing more realistic. I've included a rough word count of each piece in the table of contents to help in navigating, as some are decidedly longer than others, influencing the commitment involved in following a link and deciding to read. This is the sort of navigation aid that too many web sites lack in my mind. Note however, that each chapter is on one page, and it is the chapter's whole word count that reflects the load time of the page, if anything.  Few, large pages facilitate a dowload for local reading and/or printing as well.

As time goes by, and the book grows, the style is evolving as well. You'll find that first chapter is purely anecdotal representing memories of years long passed. The later chapters were written progressively nearer the events they describe, and could attract a little more precision. In particular while I've stuck to an anecdotal presentation, trying to present only the meat not the fat so to speak, the snippets of stories in the later chapters have more material tying one story to the next, so that they could conceivably be read as a flowing chapter as well as a pile of individual anecdotes. Indeed the later chapters are in fact better read as a whole I think, there is a certain romance that shines through the web of stories they present. The whole is more than the sum of the parts ... 

Your average paperback novel has between 100,000 and 150,000 words and this currently stands at around 70,000 which should provide some clue as to its total size. 

I welcome and encourage feedback. In particular I would appreciate any effort to report typographical errors, but I'd be grateful for any feedback on content as well.

Overview of Chapters

Word Count
  Readers' Comments and Feedback 500
  Chapter 1: The Early Years 8000
  Chapter 2: Europe '95/'96 6000
  Chapter 3: New Zealand '97 20000
  Chapter 4: Australia '97 27000
  Appendix A: Wheels of Steel 4400
  Appendix B: Travelling Black 4500
  Appendix C: The Wall 3500
  Total 70400

Table of Contents

Word Count
Readers' Comments and Feedback 
Being a collection of comments submitted by readers since this book first appeared
on the Web in 1995. Submit yours!
Chapter 1: The Early Years 
Being a collection of 24 essentially unrelated anecdotes concerning my first few
years on the road, written on one night in late '95.
  Hail a Cab 250
  Crazy Crazy Women 1400
  The Reindeer Don't Mind 1000
  Don't try for Spain via Italy 800
  Japan, a Hitcher's Paradise 1400
  Rain, a Mixed Blessing 100
  I Don't Hitch Myself 100
  I Don't Usually Pick Up Hitch-hikers 150
  The Ferrari 100
  Fast! 200
  Buses and Trucks 200
  Never Commit Yourself Before You Hitch 150
  Queue Jumper 200
  Saved by a Traffic Jam 150
  The Hitcher's Bus Stop 150
  Audacious 100
  It's a Hobby 150
  No Hurry 150
  Hitching Doesn't Work in Malaysia! 100
  A Clean Ride 50
  Mitfahrgelegenheit 50
  A Cosy Threesome 50
  Crime Doesn't Pay 50
  Don't Care Where I'm Going 350
Chapter 2: Europe '95/'96 
Being a collection of 4 essentially unrelated anecdotes concerning a 6 month stay in Switzerland. 
  Christmas Hitching 800
  International Week 95/96 700
  Late Night, Good Friday in Italy 1800
  No Time to Hitch (a Romance) 2500

Chapter 3: New Zealand '97 
Being the story of a two month trip around New Zealand split into 50 more or less
self standing anecdotes strung together to weave a tale of adventure. 

  Onion Rings 600
  Traffic Stunts 400
  Shopping Trip 150
  Courtesy Lacking 200
  Leapfrog 400
  The Compassion of a Virgin Hitchee 350
  A Ferry Sad Blunder 850
  Where the Wild Food Grows 650
  Watch that Wheel! 300
  The Cold Turns Warm 350
  Covering all Options 200
  Hurry Hurry 250
  He Who Rides First, Arrives Last! 300
  A Rendezvous with Good Fortune 650
  Sneaking Up 200
  A Not So Sorry Story 350
  Good Times 250
  Into the Wind 350
  Sounds Too Easy 200
  Wasted Pessimism 250
  To Travel Like a Parcel 100
  Put That Lift on Hold! 200
  Finally the Sheep 100
  Sunday Drivers 350
  Come to the Party 300
  Synchronicity 600
  Saved by the Radio 200
  The Singer 280
  Relay Hitching 1200
  Not Exactly a Hitch 200
  East-West Lotto 100
  The Hitcher's Graveyard 650
  Three's a Crowd 250
  Torn in Two 250
  Gremlin 100
  A Tune a Ride 300
  A Charging Ride 400
  Parting Thoughts 300
  Back-Seat Combat Zone 550
  In the City 750
  Heading North 1800
  Hitchers on Tour 600
  Off the Back of a Truck 250
  Rendezvous Encore 500
  The Kiwi Lions 450
  The Angel 400
  Bad Attitude 300
  The Lure of Ronald 150
  Kiwi House 200
  Goodbye New Zealand 500
Chapter 4: Australia '97 
Being the story of a one month trip around South Eastern Australia, split into 31 more or
less self-standing anecdotes strung together to weave a tale of the most incredible nature. 
  Hitching from Home 450
  Spy on the Road 250
  Pauline Hanson Comes to the Rescue 450
  Turn Your Back 350
  Get in Line! 250
  To Fly or not to Fly? 300
  Pauline Hanson Strikes Again 350
  A Fine End to a Fine Day 300
  Dave's Bit 450
  Melbourne to Adelaide, The Long Way 1600
  Too High to Stop 3000
  The Chicken Came First 1600
  The Road to Andamooka 400
  One Night in Andamooka 2300
  Limping into Woomera 500
  Lucky 13 200
  Back to Adelaide 400
  The Universal Esperanto Congress 1200
  A Hard Day's Hitch 1800
  A Truckies Tale -- Synchronicity at Work 550
  An Auspicious Occasion 2500
  Stuck in Hay 1500
  No Dope Dope 600
  Roo Stew 500
  Yellow Folk, Orange Load, Golden Hearts 350
  Against the Instinct 200
  A Conspiracy Against the Sun 400
  Fork It or Walk It 250
  Intermissive Musings 650
  An Auspicious Ride 950
  The Road Home 1300
Appendix A: Wheels of Steel 
Being an essay on trains and thumbs, describing my attitude to the former and transition
to the latter. It was written as a single essay, though it has been divided into eight parts for
ease of reference. 
  The Eurail Scam 900
  The Birth of a Hitch-Hiker 250
  Sleeping on the Trains 600
  Preparing for the Trip 250
  The Error of the Guidebooks 400
  A Wicked Game 1250
  The Individual and Society 250
  Personal Growth on the Road 450
Appendix B: Travelling Black 
Being the rather prosaic account of my misadventures evading fares on European public
transport, and a rambling justification thereof.
  A Student of the Art (Vienna) 400
  Don't Pay the Ferryman (Venice) 100
  Richie Rich (Bratislava) 225
  Broke Thumber (Grenoble) 100
  A Personal Challenge (Germany) 350
  Old Ladies and Policemen (Berlin) 650
  Debts to Pay (Zürich) 250
  Wait Right There (Zug-Zürich) 300
  Rapid Fire (Berlin) 400
  The Score 125
  Why Buy Tickets? 1500
                    The Good Citizen 900
                    The Shamed Citizen 200
                    The Bottom Line 250
Appendix C: The Wall  
Being an account of my growing discomfort with being wealthy and one of the greatest
barriers I have yet to encounter between peoples.
  A New Class 225
  The Evolution of Greed 600
  Buying Independence (A million islands) 350
  The Economic Divide 600
  Hollow Smiles 1000
  Temporary Insanity 450
  The Grand Irony 75

© Copyright 1996–2004, Bernd Wechner
The Memories of a Hitch-hiker
Anywhere But Here