Monday 3rd April: new month, new world

So today was a glorious mid-spring day. The sun shone high, and emanated it’s warmth onto all around.

People smiled and waved a-plenty.

Lucy invited me to Shanklin for dinner, and we initially discussed drawing up a new sign for Shanklin but decided instead to just stick our thumbs out with trust in the universe. We agreed to take a lift to anywhere. But Lucy specifically wanted a lift to Ventnor.

I didn’t expect to beat the bus. The quickest we’ve had a lift together before has been in about 10 minutes, with our wait going over 20 minutes in one windy occasion. There were a lot of our colleagues at the bus stop today watching us, and I did hope for a little more luck.

And suddenly…….Lauren stopped!!

A lovely youth worker going off to Ventnor! What a lovely coincidence! Lucy and I then had to decide if we really wanted to go to Ventnor, which ended up as a no because we were both pretty knackered..

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Lauren, Lucy and I

Lauren used to be an art teacher, and still now pursues this with a passion. She loves doing art and crafty things with the youth groups. And when she dropped us off she gave us her card, linking to her website http://www.studiowren.co.uk .

Lucy and Lauren know a lot of the same people, all good people working towards doing good things on the island/in the world.

Yaaaaay for hitchhiking bringing the world together!!!!!

Friday 31st March: Joby

A beautiful afternoon has come!! After much cloudy greyness since I woke for work this morning, the sun tore through the clouds to shine it’s magnificence down on all of us.

So, this made people I guess quite happy. But this was 4pm traffic. It’s not my usual crowd at all (I’d had an acupuncture appointment today after my Friday lunchtime finish). Plenty of families. I’m not sure I got one wave today – but instead had loads of different kinds of funny signals. I didn’t understand what any of them meant.

There’s a range of different signals you’d experience in Britain when hitchhiking (the signals change from country to country). Often people will give the flat back of the have pointing either left or right – meaning they’re turning off sometime and the lift wouldn’t be so useful (theoretically – but in my experience, especially if I’m stuck in a very bad spot, any lift can be a good lift).
Another good one is when people put both arms up, like saying they either can’t do anything or they don’t know what to do. But this can often be confusing – it can sometimes mean that they don’t feel confident to stop in that spot, and so it can make the hitchhiker feel a little self-conscious about if the hitch spot is good/safe enough to stop in.
People sometimes make an action regarding a roundabout. I don’t know if this means they’re turning round, or they’re finishing at the next roundabout, or going a different direction then.

But today, the signs I got were completely different. I had numerous people seemingly sign out complicated directions that they were going in that clearly wouldn’t be right for me. I don’t normally get people so enthusiastically giving obscure signs, so it was very unusual getting a few people doing the same today.

Anyway, happy to smile and continue onwards, I saw a live-in camper, a big one, and had a feeling he’d stop. He had a big smile on his face when he pulled up. But his van is left-hand drive, so it was quite complicated getting in (and it’s really quite big…!).

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Joby and his live-in van πŸ˜‡

Great guy though, nice to talk to. He’s a carpenter, working on a really nice house in Ryde at the moment. His van is his work van now – he and his family rent a house in Ventnor at the moment. They were away in France for a year recently, pays Basque, but work was quite dry and a new baby was coming, so time to return to the Isle….

Joby and I posed a photo in front of the van, and he said he hopes we meet again. I hope so too.

I walked off, and bumped into Tracey (my colleague I race home against every day, who gets the bus and I almost always win) and her little very excited and adorable dog Ella. We talked just a couple of minutes, and wished each other the best of weekends. Apparently the weather’s going to be nice for us.

🎢🎢 Hitchhiking can bring the world together 🎢🎢

Thursday 30th March: the sweetest pitbull in the world

I got a lift very quick today. I arrived at the hitch spot late, just as the bus turned up to the bus stop, because I had to pop in to tesco to use the loo (too much water…….). So, just like yesterday, I gave the impression to all my colleagues that their bus ride might actually get them home sooner than my hitching would for me.

But, alas, about five cars down the line was an old Land Rover, with a very very interested doggy inside! I’m useless with dog names (and can’t even remember his name now, as I’m writing this up quite late…), but maybe he was some kind of pitbull?? But he was absolutely adorable. Quite small, and a little fuss-pot.

His dad is a boat builder over on the mainland in Chichester, working there through the week but he comes back to the island twice a week. He’s been on the island most of his life. He said he’d pick me up if he sees me again. And I said farewell, and rejoined the clouds.

Wednesday 29th March: lovely doggy!!!

My hitch began today with some very sad news. My friend Bill, who I get on really really well with at work, got fired today, along with another very nice man called Mick who started last week. Both weren’t able to meet the timings πŸ˜” it’s sad, as they’re both very nice, and they were both on jobs that I’d previously been on and knew that the timings were tight.

So I talked with Mick at the bus stop along with the whole Neutrik bus stop crew, giving him recommendations for places that might be hiring. The bus came, and I said I was going to hitch instead, not expecting to beat the bus today.

But I did!!! And with the loveliest dog ever – Wilma 😍

Julie, Wilma’s mum, was very lovely too. I talked a fair bit about hitchhiking – she talked about hairdressing. And it was all very pleasant β˜€β˜€

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Julie, Wilma and I

I didn’t hitch home yesterday btw – hence the lack of entry – I’d gone into Ryde with Lucy for helping a friend, but things didn’t manifest so we bussed it home…

Monday 27th March: hitchhiking in Lake

Today I had to pick up my new super duper expensive (I’d never had to pay before) glasses, from the opticians in Lake. By chance I caught a bus to Lake (I left work needing a pee, which delayed any possible hitching plans, and the bus was just…..there….).

I wanted to still hitch home.

So in true hitching home spirit, I found a fantastic hitch spot at the bus stop by tescos, where a zebra crossing makes everyone slow down for me. The sun was in my eyes so I didn’t see people’s reactions much, but I trust they were good.

Within a couple of minutes Sheree picked me up. We rearranged the plants on the seat and I held a tray of little plants like as if they were a pet.

She was very pro-hitchhiking, and we talked about hitching as a great way of bringing the world together. She seemed excited by the sounds of this blog!

A glorious day 🌞

Friday 24th March: splendid brilliant awesomeness!!!!

I have got a lot to say about today.

Firstly, that pretty much everything about it has been absolutely brilliant so far!!!

Not only did I have a great day at work today talking paganism and spirits, ley lines etc with my new neighbour Dan at work, but then I had an awesome lunch with the fine company of Lucy; and then strolled to chess club at Carl’s with some of a favourite band (Bomb The Music Industry) dancing in my ears; and then at chess club had an absolutely brilliant game against who Carl says is the second best player there, ending up getting a checkmate with 8 seconds left on the clock!!!!!; and then more music; and then this:

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Misty beauty and rook flight in Ryde

And then these:

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Daffodils found scattered along a grass patch, probably torn apart by a mischievous dog

And then, well, people were great. I got very good vibes today – lots of waving and smiles (but my smile must’ve been SO big – you know, when everything in the universe seems to be working in your favour for a while!!).

Soon enough I got a lift from Andrea, a lovely lovely Londoner who moved to the island 15 years ago. I didn’t hear much about her story because I was so keen to share about my chess and the flowers and hitching home and whatnot. But I got a great photo with her and gave her the card AND the flowers. It felt very right that they were meant for her πŸ˜‚

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Andrea and me πŸ˜‡

All in all I have to give thanks to the universe for being super awesome to me all day. Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou thankyouuuuuuu!!!!!!

And lastly, this feels quite very well related, I got a leaving card from friends at work yesterday, saying farewell to me because I got moved to another part of the factory (at least 20 metres from where I was…), and of course it has a hitchhiking thumb on the front of it πŸ˜‚ here it is:

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Leaving card!!!!!
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Farewells πŸ˜‚

Thursday 23rd March: a looooooong, cold, but lovely wait

It’s colder, damper, and windier today. It’s been pretty damp and windy all week, actually.

But I could tell Lucy was struggling a bit with our wait in the wind, though our spirits high, despite three buses passing us by..

Many waves, we called for favours, more waves, more waves!!

And plenty of smiles.

The atmosphere was great amongst drivers of today. Lots of funny hand signals, too. And we gave our biggest smiles imaginable.

We had the longest wait for a lift that I’ve ever had on the Isle of Wight. It might’ve even exceeded 20 minutes. But, as I explained to Lucy, it was all worth it really because it was time to be showing ourselves as hitchhiking, giving off that all-inclusive, community-building vibe (though I think Lucy just wanted to get in a nice warm car πŸ˜‚).

Claire!! Our saviour of the hour!!! And what a lovely lady she is!!

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Claire!!!!!!!

She picked us up in her little car, we talked a little about work and why we’re hitching. She told us how she ended up coming back to the island after being in Brighton for some years because she really missed the fields and open countryside. As soon as anything we were in Brading and time to part ways. Claire was going off to Shanklin, so offered Lucy a lift back to homelands, and I embraced the living evening winds.

Wednesday 22nd March: post-Armageddon joy

I said to Lucy when we were hitching that I find it interesting, and important in a way, hitching after a big news event.

A fun one that immediately comes to mind is the East Anglia earthquake in spring 2008. I think I hitched a couple of days later to my dad’s house, a mere 50-mile journey, and talked in every ride about the earthquake. People got a lot of joy out of it.

I remember leaving Skanda Vale (the community I was living in in Wales all last year but visited plenty before) a few years ago after being there for a couple of weeks or so. I wasn’t hitching that time, but taking trains. I noticed that something pretty intense had unfolded in the news (I hadn’t heard any news the whole time I’d been away) because of the atmosphere on the trains and at the stations. Everything was completely on edge. A horrible death had happened in London, and all the media had of course described it in outrageously graphic detail.

My point for giving these examples is to illustrate how an incident that a collective civilisation either experiences themselves or is, in effect, forced to experience by the media has a transformative effect on the actions of the people, and the general vibe going around. So whilst the first example gave a very fun vibe, the second was very negative and wouldn’t have been nice to hitch during.

Today we heard over the radio about an incident that is immediately described as ‘suspected terrorist’. I felt it was my duty to stand there for a few minutes by the side of the road with a joyful smile (because the weather was gorgeous, and I’m generally very happy to be hitching after work!) and waiting till the kindness of someone driving by came about. And Lucy was game too, but we weren’t so concerned with beating the bus today.

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Sun being brilliant

The vibe seemed quite clearly different. I counted one wave in about five minutes stood there, and few slight smiles. In my last experience, I would’ve received countless waves and smiles in that amount of time. People seemed like they were immersed in their own worlds.

The bus passed, I put my head in hands again, and a couple of minutes passed still until……..

Charlie stopped!!

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Charlie!!!!! πŸ˜‡

Charlie works also at Neutrik. He’s a nice chap, he was my neighbour a while back when he first arrived and we got on well. He came to Neutrik because of wanting to get out of bar-work after most his working life having been in pubs.

We talked a fair bit about work and quickly arrived in Brading, and he said he’d happily take Lucy back to Shanklin. I gave a card, selfy’d, and bid adieu till the morning.

And I came out to an awesome sunshine lowering over the Brading houses (pic above).

And I write this on a bus going to Ventnor for a badminton club, full of little kids talking excitedly about anything and everything, totally in the essential needs of being here right now πŸ™ƒ

Tuesday 21st March: our Hungarian Champion

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Hungarian Champion, Lucy, and I

If you’ve been following this blog, you would remember me having been picked up by a Hungarian guy at the beginning of last week, on the day that two cars stopped at the same time.

Well, today Hungarian Champion picked Lucy and I up, and it was great to see him again. We got to know him a little more – he’s doing painting at the moment at the school building site he’s working at, but is working indoors so doesn’t get to enjoy the awesome weather we’ve had today.

When I hitched the same route over and over in East Anglia from my mum’s to my dad’s house as a teen, I would often get picked up by the same people. I got to know some of them quite well (over there rides would average about 20-30 mins in length, going from town to town, so a good amount of time to get to know people), and exchanged contact details with a few (some I still now keep in contact with over Facebook). It was a true experience of hitchhiking bringing the world together, in a local way.
I’ve been a little gutted at the back of my mind that until yesterday everyone that has picked me up (except when Lucy was in a car a few weeks back) I’ve not met before. It’s really great meeting all these new people, don’t get me wrong, but there’s something very special about meeting the same people again. So today was really an experience for me of hitchhiking bringing the world together!!!

And what I didn’t get to do last week when Hungarian Champion picked me up I did today – give him a card for this blog πŸ˜‚

We did dramatically lose against the bus though. I had my face in my hands, not wanting to be seen by my colleagues on the winning bus. It was Lucy’s first day at the factory, but she’ll surely be a regular hitch-home-er now.

And, of course, there was a very good reason for our waiting time!

Monday 20th March: a local Hindu

I stood for maybe 10 seconds waiting for a lift with my sign, when a familiar face signaled to pull in. He hadn’t given me a lift before, but I knew him.

Cayenne (pronounced Kai-yenne) is one of the Indian shop-keepers of the shop here in Brading. A lovely guy, but we’d never before really stopped to talk much.

I ended up explaining about living in Skanda Vale for over a year building temples, and he was amazed, he said he’s a Hindu and he’s been to Skanda Vale a few times. He goes on pilgrimage ‘up the mountain’ (in Wales) to see the elephant (Valli, who has lived in the ashram for 35 years).

We had a lovely, lovely exchange, and I’m sure we’ll reconnect in depth when we next meet in the shop.

I should write a song about it. ‘Hitching can bring the world together’. πŸ˜‚