Archive for the ‘Travel Stories’ Category

Handstand Contest

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I like to think I can be quite a charming guy. But please don’t get me wrong: I say this in a very humble way. I happened to hang out with a bunch of guys with strong personalities where wit and humor were just about everywhere. I just learned by exposure and imitation.

I am aware that the common understanding of the word ‘charm’ comes hand in hand with a hefthy dose of dishonesty. So let me get this straight right off the bat: I’m the what-you-see-is-what-you-get type. I try to be 100% genuine. I’m just aware that wit and humor make for good first impresions on people. And that doesn’t make me dishonest, but feel free to disagree.

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It must have been 2 am. I was on my way back home after a dinner-and-drinks-with-friends type of evening, and I was about ready to call it a night. Walking past the fruit shop on the way, I noticed that their merchandise had been delivered and  dropped at the doorstep. It would most probably not get picked up before the early morning when the first employees would show up. Alcohol affecting my otherwise very rigid code of ethics, I subtly grabbed a couple of veggies while no one was looking, thinking they could come in handy for lunch the following day.

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Hitchhiking is a fascinating social experiment that teaches us about ourselves in many ways: appearances, first impressions, natural fears, subconscious decision making process, etc. It gets you to meet people from wide variety of backgrounds: from the trucker to the wealthy businessman, from the young nose-pierced anarchist to the mustached father of two.

I started hitchhiking only recently, in a cross-Canada tour I did in the summer of 2010. And I find it fascinating to look at the social patterns that it bears. For example, in the 40 or so rides I’ve hitched lifetime, only 2 of them were women stopping to pick me up. The vast majority were men alone in their cars, most of them over the age of 35, most of them ex-hitchhikiers themselves. Couples won’t stop, but they’ll take you in every now and then if you ask them at gas stations. And cars with children won’t even look at you, understandably so I guess…

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Have you ever had one of those ideas growing in you for a period of several months or even several years? They start off as a seed without you being aware, planted by some conversation you had or something you’ve seen. They grow slowly along with you, and you start seeing them as some silly adventure meant for some hobo out there. Then one day they hit you in the face and you fully recognize them in disbelief. (e.g. “I can’t believe I actually feel like trying this hitchhiking thing!”)

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