I know, I know, stupid, dangerous, crazy. My only defense? I was young and naive, and living in Alaska at the time.
For some reason those three months outside of the lower 48, braving the wild frontier made the whole dumb thing seem safe. Along with the group of daredevils I was hanging with at the time, I also felt indestructible and frankly relished the thrill of my risky behavior as only a twenty-something can.
Fast forward to today – I don’t hitch-hike anymore. Probably because I’m a bit older; but truth be told, I kind of miss the excitement of meeting new people and sharing a ride and a few stories along the way.
I’m sure that’s why I’m a bit intrigued with ridesharing. That, and the fact that less cars on the road make less smog (a concern of my greenie conscience).
For the uninformed, the basic concept behind ridesharing is simple. You connect with someone going the same way you are, (often through internet sites dedicated to this activity) and decide to share the ride and divvy up the gas costs.
For the most part, ridesharing is as old as the wheel. Nothing really new, except perhaps the currency has changed over the years, (substitute horse feed for gas for instance). And even though today the ratio of cars to people is like 1:1, and internet communication is the norm, people still yearn for some old-fashioned, face-face encounters, especially on long boring trips.
Which is why it is no surprise that ridesharing, like couch-surfing, is gaining new popularity. Of course, in the case of ridesharing, high gas prices certainly factor into the mix and for many this type of transportation is eco-appealing.
Search the web and you’ll discover multiple sites dedicated to this type of social traveling, such as Erideshare.com, which boasts over 1,000,000 happy customers since its humble beginnings in 1999.
Who’s ridesharing? To begin with, small-town folk attending popular attractions in larger cities, such as band concerts, shows and special events. But the list is extensive and growing. Everyone from cross country travelers, day commuters and college students to minimalists, hippies and non-conformists are opting for ridesharing to getting from here to there.
And many see this as less of an option and more of an obligation to slow down the influx of noxious gases and give Mother Earth a break.
Personally, I’m all for ridesharing – I’ve done my share over the years, replacing hitch-hiking Alaskan wilderness with car-pooling children to school functions. It all falls under the same eco-friendly umbrella.
However, I’m a bit more safety conscience these days and worry about getting into a car or offering a ride to someone without checking them out fully beforehand. Something I hope young people are considering as they take this leap of transportation faith.
But I also hope this type of alternative travel continues to catch on, since it provides so many pluses in our almost hermit-like existence.
In the end, there’s nothing like the shear satisfaction of doing something that not only connects you with others but slows down personal pollution as well.
Overall, this ex-hitch-hiker gives ridesharing a thumbs up, if it’s done safely and through the right channels.