In the ten years since the FDA approved the abortion pill, a lot has changed. There was a migration from France, where it was first available in 1988, to this country, after 12 years of heated debate.
Then came the name change. Originally dubbed RU-486, the medication is now known as mifepristone (and marketed as Mifeprex) in the United States.
Through it all, controversy has surrounded this pill, from whether or not it is safe and effective to whether or not it should be available at all. The debate surely won’t quiet down in this decade, especially with the newest developments for the abortion pill — availability by video.
While Skyping in a prescription is really just a slick way of saying it, the reality is that clinics in Iowa can now offer mifepristone remotely to patients through video conferencing and auto-release of the actual pills.
Through a new telemedicine program, patients have a video conference consultation with a doctor. The doctor, who has the patient’s medical records on hand, reviews the pregnancy and barring any complications, can unlock a container with the pills for the patient to take home.
Patients can participate in the telemedicine program and the prescription by visiting a clinic where they are examined by a nurse, given an ultrasound, and offered private access to a secure Internet connection. Sixteen of these facilities operated by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland are available to women in Iowa.
Mifepristone (different from Plan B, the emergency contraception that does not cause abortions but rather, acts as a higher-dose birth control pill that prevents pregnancy up to 72 hours after unprotected sex) is available in 35 countries worldwide. It is offered in the U.S. as an alternative to surgical abortion with the appeal of privacy for women who would rather take the pills at home rather than have a procedure in a clinic. The popularity of the pill rose significantly from 2001 to 2008 — from 55,000 pills distributed to 184,000 doses distributed, even though the number of abortions did not go up. Today, the pills is used for approximately 25% of all terminations at nine weeks of pregnancy or sooner, and 15% of all total abortions. To date, about 1,900 women have been provided with the pill through the telemedicine program.
Now days, many people tend to use Wikipedia as a way to search and look up information that they may be looking for. It is a great tool that can help to broaden your knowledge of various things, and you can find virtually anything on it.
Not many people trust Wikipedia, but if you make sure that what you are reading has sources, we are sure you will be getting the right information. In this article, we will give you some sneak peeks of what Wikipedia has to say about bee pollen diet. You can further your reading by looking up it on Wikipedia for yourself. Read on to learn more.
You may be surprised, the pollen is actually not listed on Wikipedia at all. We are not sure of why this is true, but this is what we have found out. Hopefully we can find a way to add it to Wikipedia, so people can educate themselves on this amazing nutrient.
Bee pollen is very beneficial to the body and we are sure you will love the benefits of it as well. If Wiki pedia adds this important nutrient to its database, we are sure they will get a lot of hits on it. This is because many people are already looking for extra information on this pollen and they want to know more about it. This wonder nutrient has been used for a very long time as a way to help people lose weight, strengthen their body, and improve athletic performance.
The pollen can help your body in so many great ways because it is 100% natural and very effective as well. We have found that it is extremely safe, which can help lower the chance of side effects in our body.
Where can you find the pollen?
Well we have found it in various health food stores, and it usually comes in a capsule of some type.
Pills are the easiest and most effective way to take this nutrient, and we recommend pill form over the powder form. You can also find it on Amazon.com and other online web stores too, but they could be a bit expensive. The best thing you can do is find the cheapest and highest rated source of pollen so you are sure you are making yourself as healthy as possible.
We are sorry that articles related to this type of pollen are not on Wikipedia.org. Again we hope one day that this will change, and that the website will add this important article series to their data base. People want to know about it, and Wikipedia.org is usually their first stop when it comes to looking up important information.
Bee pollen is overall very healthy for you but you need to make sure you take the correct dosage or else you can develop serious side effects that can harm your body.
Many families go to very traumatic event while the child refuses to stool and when he or she finally does all the family go to the same experience. Many families also suffer with the trauma of a child soiling his/her underwear at home, or school producing significant embarrassment, many or all of the families go without understanding these situations. Reading to this E-book section, you will learn why this happens,how to eliminate it and prevent it.
Treating Constipation in Children
After medication is available and prescribed under medical supervision, it is very important for the parent and patient to see if the stool consistency is harder than mashed potato. If so, then a small adjustment can be made by increasing the medication amount based on the stool consistency until the desired consistency is achieved. If the stool becomes too soft, such as pudding or even watery, then adjust by small decreasing intervals until the stool becomes as soft as mashed potatoes again. Once the stool is kept soft, continue adjusting up or down, depending upon the consistency, for the indicated period of 6 to 24 months without stopping the medication.
The qualified nurses are in great demand. The boom is unprecedented. Nurses will continue to be in good demand in great numbers in the coming ten to twenty years.
It is a well paid job in the advanced countries. Are you ready to fly?
The reasons for the sudden growth in the number of vacancies for nurses are many.
The first and foremost reason for the boom is the aging population in large numbers in both United States and Europe. They need people who can take care of them. The age related problems make it a challenging job to take care of them. If the people who want to look after the old are trained and educated in geriatrics they will be handy and helpful.
The second reason is the retirement of many qualified nurses. Many experienced and qualified nurses have reached their retirement age. The people who devoted their lives for caring others now need people who can care them.
The third reason is there is no replacement and the recruitment is very low. The nursing job did not attract enough number of young people in the developed world to fill the gap. It has led to unprecedented demand for qualified nurses. It is a great opportunity for the people in the third world countries to realize their dreams of building their careers in the developed countries.
As a result of the above three reasons, there is a huge gap between requirement and supply. The availability of educated and trained nurses has come down as nursing could not attract enough number of people into the field. Now it has become almost a wild goose chase to find a qualified and skilled nurse.
The lack of skilled man power is seriously affecting the health care in the advanced countries. It is estimated that the situation will further worsen in the coming decade. Countries like USA, UK, Australia and New Zealand are willing to take nurses from any country if they are qualified and experienced. It has opened up the gates for the entry into these countries for the skilled people who can care others.
If you want to grab this opportunity, get ready travel and be willing to relocate yourself and your family. If you are ready to go anyplace where your services are required, then you will have tremendous opportunities. There are many visa facilities to accommodate you. The visa option depends on how long you want to serve in those countries. The US in particular has come out with four types of Visas.
So the people in the developed world are inviting you if you are willing to serve them. It is their requirement and what you need to do is to utilize the opportunity. They are willing to pay you more provided you are ready to serve them better.
Give a serious thought about this option before you go to bed, it may open up an entirely new life for you. You never know what is in store for you until you try.
Amidst streets swept clean of shattered glass, amongst commuters and backpackers alike, the chinook decelerated along Granville Street and pulled up beside the hostel – and thereby augmented my anxiety.
Hauling our possessions out of the SameSun, Michael and I waved at Lorna of The Roamantics as she stepped out of her vehicle.
With ride number one before our eyes, the commencing of Grand Canadian Hitchhike dawned upon me.
Intertwined with my exchange of dialogues with Lorna, who then proceeded to drive us to Langley, south of Vancouver, were bubbles of silent contemplation – two weeks of pampering and leisurely travel around British Columbia, sponsored by Tourism BC, I felt somewhat intimidated by the prospect of throwing myself into the hands of unpredictability.
The Grand Canadian Hitchhike may have been months in the making, yet my fate would only reveal itself one hitch at a time.
Inevitably Lorna dropped us off outside of a petrol station and we parted ways. The challenge, as we clenched our fists and straightened our thumbs, had truly begun.
For a struggle to escape an awkward hitchhiking spot – by a bus stop on a high-speed major road leading up to Trans-Canada Highway – a mere one-hour wait was flattering. A ride all the way to our first intended destination, Kamloops, may have been wishful thinking, though the commuter between Langley and Chilliwack had dropped us off on a rampart adjacent to Vancouver’s furthermost suburbia – beats getting stranded among intra-city traffic.
One and a half hours later our appeal was answered by a honk and a couple travelling to nearby Hope for a psychedelic festival.
They dropped us off by a service station. Dusk was swiftly catching up with us but, convinced the prolonged summer sunlight will linger for at least a few more hours, we stuck our thumbs out again and hoped for a long-distance ride – though the temptation of staying behind and attending the festival was firmly occupying our minds.
Soon after we were dashing along the Coquihalla Highway, northbound, ascending into the snow-filled mountain ranges.
The bloke driving the pickup truck was travelling to Alberta and, having to stop by Kamloops to pick up his son before returning home, was happy to drop us off in downtown Kamloops. We managed to reach our intended destination – I could sense the nerves evaporate from my weary body as we gulped down celebratory pints, laughing away the night and plotting our next course of action with more ambition.
Except our quest to cross the remainder of British Columbia and arrive in adventure-capital Banff didn’t happen until after a wild-goose-chase of a hunt for the night’s accommodation and a serendipitous encounter.
When the alarm failed to wake the pair of us early in the morning, we skipped breakfast and trekked a brutal distance to the outskirts of Kamloops, bailing from one fruitless hitching spot to another – the fortunes that smothered me in cockiness and over-confidence the previous day seemed like a fateful betrayal.
Then Michael went to speak to a trucker at the service station we ended up in – the casual enquiry for hitchhiking advice became our first lorry ride. Albeit only for a short distance, some 10km down the road.
We strategically positioned ourselves on the highway itself, yards away from a turnoff point that diverted traffic south towards Vernon. Once again, the raised difficulty level was felt by our increasing sore limbs.
A native strolled past us, thumb hoisted; he warned us about police presence.
Then, the item of antiquity with boat in tow pulled up beside us and screeched to a halt. I approached with whatever hope I managed to salvage; the reward was a ride – however as unimpressive as I’d so vainly wished for – some 130km to Sicamous.
Kelly, who filled us in with his quirky accounts of mining in his Saskatchewan properties and cranky antics, dropped us off just outside of his destination; by then we’ve noticed the thinning of traffic – even though we were supposedly on the busiest highway within the province – and lamenting were we of our decreasing chances of reaching Banff.
I was becoming very frustrated. I may have had “pls?” and a smiley face scribbled on the sign, yet our plea remained mostly unanswered: how heartless could people be? How much will my faith invested on the rest of my journey – with some 7000km left – be repaid instead in scorns and distrust?
We lingered by the side of the road for over an hour, then retreated into an adjacent lorry park. The inhospitality prevailed, except in verbal form muttered by truckers – a stark reminder of an earlier statement by the lorry driver who delivered us out of Kamloops, who mentioned how insurance policies forbade truckers from picking up hitchhikers.
My heart sank – the motel perching on the opposite side of the road had been a temptation, yet it appeared more as a taunt of our failings.
The final decision of the day: we’d attempt for a final time to hitchhike, loitering close to the motel our last resort.
Mere minutes later, I raced towards the crimson pickup truck parked before us; heart throbbing and humbled, I accepted on our behalves the driver’s offer – to take us all the way to Banff.
As sunlight dwindled and the Mountain Time Zone enclosing, we traversed the national parks amidst conversations of wild life and struggles to stay conscious within the dark. Eventuality arrived as the numbers on signposts subtracted before one directed us into Banff.
By 1.30am we were reclining in hostel beds, eyelids tightly enshrouding me in darkness; yet I couldn’t sleep, for the cocktail of exhilaration, surrealism and sense of achievement would not wear off for days to come.
Ten Reasons To Go Hitchhiking (no it ain’t suicide)
It seems like the new-age hitchhikers would stick their thumb out and wish for the best for reasons drastically different to those hitchhiking in the olden days. Back then the fundamental purposes of hitchhiking mostly revolve around getting from location to destination at minimal expenses – for financial reasons of course. Yet modern hitchhiking enthusiasts, often defying the odds of restricting laws and scaremongering remarks, are after so much more than cost-free transport – acquiring an adventure with a philosophical and empathetic approach has become what many of us hitchhikers actively pursue.
And finding a pilgrimage of enlightenment is only one of the many perks of embarking on a hitchhiking journey – here are ten of my personal favourite reasons that I’d like to share with you and motivate you to give hitchhiking a try yourself.
You work up a saving from free transport
Spiritual following and deeper meanings aside, I risk stating the obvious by reasserting that hitchhiking is – as intended by its inventors – free. No better way can anyone traverse country to country squandering little more than the energy to maintain a raised thumbs-up, for it is the ultimate method of travelling whilst empty-pocketed. A word of caution: in some countries you’re expected to pay the driver as dictated by their local culture – for your research purposes Wikitravel has a rough guide of hitchhiking-related country profiles.
You glimpse into local life through an insider
Hitchhiking is, naturally, a game of meet-the-locals roulette. Chances are, you’ll equally be as likely to be picked up by someone who lives two miles down in a farm as a city dweller crossing the country on a long-haul business trip. Regardless, striking up a conversation with any of these insiders of local customs, habits, attractions and life in general simply won’t provide you with a more genuine insight into the place you’re visiting. If you display a sincere interest in their cultures your drivers will probably oblige by divulging some of their most well-kept secrets.
You acquire friendship serendipitously
To establish a hitchhiker-driver relationship is commendable, but to reach beyond this bond and forge a friendship is something truly magical. There are few better encounters I can boast serendipitously-found friendships than those occurring during my hitchhikes. And as mates they’ll be more willing to go an extra mile to help you out: buy you food and drinks, give you a couch to crash on, take you out on excursions and show you around their neighbourhood – just make sure to have decency of inviting them to visit you and repay their hospitality with your own.
You observe a country from ground level
From the glorious countryside to magnificent metropolis, from snowcapped mountain passes to sea-bound coastal routes – hitchhiking will bring you into much closer contact with sceneries and sensation fests that are the embodiment of your chosen nation’s psyche. There may be far more effective means of transportation, but nothing allows you to observe your surroundings than when you’re hitchhiking: whilst you remain vigilant to potential hazards, you are also diligently absorbing into your perception and understanding every happening around you.
You skip out a hefty chuck of travel planning
Hurling yourself into the hands of fate and, as we Brits say, wing it – it’s a school-of-thought that a lot of travellers like myself are disciples of. Hitchhiking may well epitomise this ultimate travel style of improvisation: if you give yourself a destination and let luck determine the rest the unpredictability of hitchhiking shall reward you with unexpected, yet gratifying, encounters that no package holiday or intricately-designed schedules can give you. Which is why you may save yourself a heck of a lot of hassle planning your journey but still have a desirable trip.
You enjoy human kindness at its purest form
Philanthropy may manifest in no better form when you are in the direst of needs – that we all know. To endure hours of futile waiting, watching in vain as your patience trickle away and tears welling in your eyes as you cast away your optimism by the drop, only to be rescued by the most unlikely of individuals offering a hand: it might sound like a rough ride, draining you both physically and mentally, though the sheer exhilaration that result from the emotion roller coaster is kind of addictive. Hitchhiking is a testimony that human kindness does exist out there.
You examine your negotiation skills
When the difference is comfort of sanctuary and getting frostbite on your testicles or baked beneath the sun, there’s plenty at stake – and you better hope your tongue waggle in the right ways. Negotiation skills are essential in our every day lives, so why not submit yourself to one of the most gruelling of trials and see if you’re able to talk yourself out of a situation? What I may testify to is that hitchhiking grants you a sizeable ego boost when you manage to negotiate your way into someone’s vehicle: any lack of confidence can be remedied by putting your charisma to the test.
You practise foreign languages
Parlez-vous français? Sprechen sie Deutsch? ¿Hablas español? Whatever language you practise or even utilise in your normal-day life, you’ll go to great lengths to improve it when you’re hitchhiking. You’ll appear infinitely more earnest and unpretentious if you make an attempt to breach the language barrier or, better still, if you succeed in breaking it down – that will only increase your chances of getting as well as staying in a ride. Every pick-up is a unique opportunity to practise your language skills – especially considering the level of intimacy complete strangers are placed in.
You reconnect with mother nature
For us urban habitants the opportunity to flee the city grind and rediscover our instinctive affection for nature is relatively rare. Quite often a rural escape requires elaborate effort in foresighted planning and coffer spillage. Hitchhiking can take you on an excursion within a heartbeat: get yourself dropped off and soon you’ll be pacing along pastures and dirt tracks, listening intently to leaves rustling to the breeze, birds whispering amongst each other and stellar spectacles unfolding before your eyes. Waiting time may well be your chance to reclaim your place in nature.
You find out more about yourself
You can only tell complete strangers your personal story so many times, yet you cannot defy the urge to reflect on your own life. I began as a mere hopeful of a mode of travelling that would transport me from location A to B with minimal expenses; but as I uttered the words that depict my existence and subjected myself to self-evaluation, as I incorporate experiences, ideals, philosophies and beliefs of those I’ve encountered into my own, the realisation struck me – that hitchhiking is so much more. My understanding of it evolved into what I now perceive as a journey of self-discovery. Every single one of us embark on a lifelong quest of finding our sense of fulfilment: we may well never obtain it before we’re laid to rest but, through hitchhiking, at least I’m a step ahead.
Which is where my personal motto – constantly travelling, constantly editing (your own life) – spawns from.
This is a tribute to someone who epitomises the kindness displayed by people I’ve met along Grand Canadian Hitchhike.
Coming out of The Commodore, refreshed by the pints we’d gulped in celebration of our arrival in Kamloops, our thoughts turned to recuperation – Michael and I had been hitchhiking since 12 hours prior and, with exhaustion lingering on from the night the Vancouver riots disrupted my sleeping patterns, all we then craved for was a comfortable bed.
Except, in a sort-of-remote town like Kamloops, the search for budget accommodation was more like a Odyssean homecoming.
First up, the bouncer from The Commodore gave us the directions to a YMCA five blocks away – nothing but closed shops and parking lots greeted our sight. We then consulted a taxi driver, who pointed us towards the YMCA – albeit the community sports centre rather than its lodging equivalent. Merely zigzagging through town, we ended up back on the street where the beers quenched our thirst.
Then, a warning.
“The YMCA is cheap, but it’s shared with the homeless people,” I was informed by a girl at the Boston Pizza. She advised us to instead find a motel along Colombia Street, several blocks northwards – though we’d be paying much more than that we had initially hoped.
By the time we lunged for the Travelodge, both of us were internally and externally battered.
Frankly, I had not felt like advertising myself as a travel writer and trans-Canada hitchhiker when I announced to the clerk our desire to check in for the night. My words may well have been imprudent. Yet the clerk handled the paperwork swiftly, answered our queries with good humour, and did what she could to welcome us into the property.
On my way out of the office I caught a glimpse of the tag on the desk: it read “Cheri“.
The first thing that caught my eye in the morning was a new comment on The Travelling Editor – it was from one Cheri.
“What a great experience for you, and some good karma indeed! Welcome to Kamloops…I hope you had a good night’s rest. I love your writing! Good fortune on your hitchhike to Banff!!”
The realisation – I had listed The Travelling Editor as my ‘company’ on the guest information form.
We packed up and checked out of our room, only to be greeted by the receptionist who delivered an envelop – upon which my name was scribbled. Inside was a Starbucks card, which she explained in an attached letter contains $40 and is her present to us. A few days later she posted on The Travelling Editor’s Facebook page, offering to share the news of Grand Canadian Hitchhike among her friends and try to help me out along the way.
To which I replied:
Thank you so much! Truly flattering. And never had the opportunity to thank you for the Starbucks card – it’s spurs of kindness like that displayed by yourself that keeps me going. Take care!
Indeed, such gestures of kindness is what motivates me and excites me as a traveller. Cheri, you have my gratitude and from those all around the world who’ve gone on to become seekers of human kindness.
I have a weakness for alcohol – it renders me susceptible to over-zealous persuasions. Which is how, when I met up with my friend Corrie, I ended up pledging my participation to a list of challenges she’s dared me to accomplish. Needless to say, I’ve diligently scrutinised this ‘list’ and scheming to put a tick next to every item – including the ones where I’ll be playing benefactor to Corrie’s being the recipient of Canadian goodies.
And I’m hoping these won’t be the only challenges I am to be tasked with completing: I hereby welcome you all to submit your shares of Canada to-do’s throughout the Grand Canadian Hitchhike and I’ll endeavour to, well, do as I’m told. Please submit your dares to firstname.lastname@example.org or by jotting it down in the comment box below.
So without further ado, the Grand Canadian Challenge.
Grand Canadian Hitchhike Challenge
- If I can’t complete an objective, find something of equal value to replace it;
- I can use [Corrie] as an excuse to complete these (ie “can I have your autograph for my friend?”);
- Photographic and/or anecdotal evidence required for each objective completed; bonus points for each thing you try in which you manage to blag yourself free stuff by using your blog.
- Photograph yourself with the Canadian flag next to a sign in each of the main towns listed (can be a miniature);
- Photograph of yourself with a Mountie;
- Bring Corrie some Canadian Maple Syrup;
- Photograph of your face every day of the challenge, a la Noah;
- Get an autograph from every person who gives you a lift. Ask for a photo and record one interesting fact about them;
- Climb a mountain;
- Catch and eat your own fish;
- Try out the local brew in every place you visit;
- Teach as many people as you can about the legend of St George and the Dragon;
- Find out Canadian stereotypes. Ask as many Canadians as you can if they conform to these stereotypes;
- Find out as many local myths and legends as you can – at least ten; record them all;
- Try out three adventure sports – preferred would be white-water rafting, ice-skating (with hockey) and a hot-air balloon ride;
- Press a wild-flower and bring it back;
- Find out about traditional Canadian crafts; bonus points: try out a traditional Canadian craft and make a souvenir to bring back;
- Try each of the following: Ginger beef, Canadian Baked Beans, Jiggs Dinner, Pierogis, Bumbleberry Pie, Butter Tarts, Nabob Coffee, Poutin, Donair, Chinese Smorgasbord, Lumberjack’s Breakfast and Shish Taouk.
- Go star-gazing at the Gordon MacMillan Southam Observatory;
- Go to the movies at the Paramount Theatre;
- Call up the BC Film Commission Line (604-660-3569), find out what films are being filmed in Vancouver, go and look around for a bit; bonus points: get an autograph from a famous person.
- Do a Self Guided Brew Tour; bonus points: blag yourself a free drink in each of the pubs using the blog;
- Go fossil-hunting in the Painted Bluffs Provincial Park; bonus points: bring a fossil back for Corrie.
- Catch an event at the Calgary Stampede;
- Go to a hockey game; bonus points: try out hockey;
- Go to a Secret Street Drag Race.
- Go to a curling game; bonus points: Try out curling;
- Go to the WYNZ Niteclub on a theme night.
- Go to the Saskatchewan Science Centre.
- Find some buskers; get them to perform something for The Travelling Editor – record it and post it on your website; bonus points: get them to improvise a song about you.
- Visit the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden.
- Go for a tour of the Agate Mine; bonus points: bring back a souvenir.
- Go to a Bank Street pub.
- Go on a Ghost Walk; bonus points: do it while drunk.
One of the greatest mysteries – and masteries – of hitchhiking lies with the humble luggage. Few other methods travel place so much reliance upon the process of packing, since stuffing your bag with the right things may well determine the success and failure of your venture. Nor can achieving a balance have such substantial power over dictate your fate as a hitchhiker – whilst not possessing the appropriate kit could either cause discomfort or even fatal damage, carrying too much may dissuade drivers from picking you up and/or pose as an overbearing burden.
This does call for a extra dosage of effort and cunning when it comes down to pack.
Fear not, fellow hitchhiking enthusiasts. I understand from past experience how tedious this logistical side of hitchhiking truly is, and so, condensing all the knowledge I have gathered from my past excursions, I’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks which may double up as your to-bring list.
Baggity Bag Bag
One thing I may say with little doubt: if one believes one can hitchhike with several suitcases in tow, then one is admittedly delusional. One of the most apparent determining factor for anyone considering picking up a hitchhiker is whether or not the vehicle can fit in the hitchhikers and their baggage.
The other aspect for hitchhikers to consider is mobility. When successfully getting into a ride often involves spontaneous sprints and lengthy treks, you wouldn’t be wasting your time fraternising with the cumbersome suitcase.
So, backpacks it is.
Choosing the correct rucksack is an art few have mastered – my rucksack of six years was pre-fitted for me and I haven’t had to worry about it since. Check out Globetroopers‘ comprehensive guide on how to choose a backpack.
For my past hitchhiking expeditions I’ve counted on my Lafuma Cordillera 60, which has served its purpose with flying colours. At risk of spotting the obvious, the size and volume of your rucksack depend on for how long you’re intending on going away.
People travel in different styles. People also hitchhike in different styles. Some choose to embrace minimalistic living, whilst others like their hitchhikes interlaced with glamour. It’s important that, before setting off, you identify your limits and determine how far you’d be willing to rough it.
No better way can I demonstrate said identification with accommodation.
If you’re throwing your hands into fate and wing it, content with asphalt and mattress alike, then at least bring a sleeping bag. Occasionally you may be offered a place to crash by people you encounter along the road – having a sleeping bag and cut the hassle for them is the least of decencies you can reciprocate their favour with.
Clothing. Considering the pieces of fabric undisputedly occupy the majority of your baggage space, selecting what to bring and what to leave home does require a lot of thought.
Especially, from a more practical point of view, clothes serve the purpose of maintaining your level of comfort. And so we shall explore attire with a pragmatic mentality.
First up, temperature. Hitchhiking often involve travelling long distances, altering your surroundings and their respective geography. Often during summers you end up ascending into mountain ranges, where the altitude has replaced heat with frigid breezes; even in mid-winters you exchange Arctic conditions on your journeys for unexpected sun spots. The brothers of extreme-temperature-induced conditions, hypothermia and hyperthermia, are two of your most hostile assailants – not having the right clothes will leave you susceptible to either of the two, and succumbing to this in the middle of nowhere may well be your worst hitchhiking nightmare.
Opt for layers and avoid single pieces of thick clothing. A fleece is likely to take up the room sufficient to accommodate over ten t-shirts. And chances are you’d be warming under ten layers than one – insulation is achieved by trapping air, and more layers ensnarl more air, thus more warmth.
Another bane of the hitchhiker: moisture. Whether it be rain or snow, fog or hale, these little droplets of water will go so far to antagonise your mobile wardrobe. Needless to say, never forget to bring your waterproofs – a sturdy water-repellent coat would suffice. Invest in a few fast-dry items – they’ll prove their worth when you catch the drench and have nothing dry to wear. Somehow, by rolling your clothes rather than folding them into neat squares, they are less likely to get wet when your bags undergo a waterproof fail.
The most important body parts of a hitchhiker: limbs. Adequate footwear, preferably reliable walking boots, should keep your feet complaint-less from all the walking and sprinting. But said precaution is not as severe as that you protect your hands with. For Pete’s sake, they are the ultimate epitome of hitchhiking – and by wearing gloves (I’m a sucker for fingerless ‘hobo’ gloves) your long-exposed rolled-up palms will owe you much gratitude.
The Fashionista’s Dilemma
Panic button, feel my fingertip. Having to abandon 90% of your closet collection and playing the rough game may terrify the hell out of many fashion enthusiasts – myself included. Looking presentable isn’t just a matter of vanity: for the hitchhiker looking trampy won’t go down well with your negotiating your spot on someone’s vehicle.
Before you “OMG” it, fret not: there are ways around it.
Shirts are the ultimate distinction of formality. Whacking on one instead of a scruffy t-shirt you instantly ascend in appropriateness. Always bring a few shirts in the stead of t-shirts – ones adjourned with colour patterns (checked shirts are quite the trend right now) will fix you up with smartness, yet maintaining the aura of casualness befitting of your hitchhiker status.
Hauling a suit along dwells in the category of impracticalities. But what about those formal events you’re bound to attend along your hitchhike? Cardigans and waistcoasts will come to your rescue. They are much hardier than whole suits, capable of being very stylish and, most importantly, highly customisable. Thin cardigans can double as additional layers when you need quick shedding or donning of clothing in adjustment to a temperature change. Waistcoasts are increasingly fashionable and favoured – pull one out of your rucksack can be your solution to pretty much any dress codes.
Customisation is key. Instead of rigid outfits, bring clothes that can be easily mixed and matched. That way you won’t get bored of wearing the same sets everywhere you go.
While I may be accused of commit backpacker’s treason by straying off into flashpacking territories, equipping oneself with technological kit isn’t exactly uncommon and frowned upon in this day and age. Ignore sneers and scorns of hitchhiking ‘purists’ who snubs you for gearing up with cables and silicon chips, because having them at your disposal will assist you in greater ways than imagined.
Internet connections for a hitchhiker isn’t merely an opportunity for procrastination. To be wired up meant you are in contact with the world around you and the world back home; but for the hitchhiker it also allows you to access logistical information. Hitchwiki, for instance, has an extensive database of user-generated location guides which will empower you with knowledge on, to name a few, ideal hitchhiking spots, legality statuses of hitchhiking in certain countries and local attitude to hitchhiking.
Memorable as hitchhiking experiences may be, photographic memoirs are more likely to endure the episodes of hardship that is forgetfulness. Take plenty of pictures throughout your voyages, especially with people who gave you a ride. Don’t forget to bring extra memory and back up regularly – hitchhikers are somewhat more prone to camera ‘accidents’, particularly when their focus lies with trying to hitchhike.
Do make sure you don’t go overboard with jamming your sack with gadgets. It’ll only be your back that suffers if you pack too much.
Stationary, Not Stationary
Nobody wants to stay still for too long when hitchhiking. And I have no intention of jinxing you – I’m merely referring to accessories you might want to have handy when on the road.
The mighty felt tip pen – you can only regret when you realised you’ve forgotten to carry one. For one of the most effective ways of hitchhiking is by displaying a sign detailing your intended destination and any message for incoming drivers to see. Having a trustworthy marker pen will add the ink on your banners.
Even though it’s condescendingly easy to get your hands on them, it isn’t everywhere that cardboards are readily available. When you score a good supply of cardboard boxes always save a few for later.
Though it’s easy to summarise a folded knife as an essential ‘defence mechanism’, you’d be surprised how much it can accomplish. One piece of wisdom I’d once acquired from a Lonely Planet column on survival kit when travelling to remote islands: “what is worst than horrible canned food is canned food you can’t open”; most Swiss Army pen knifes have tin openers installed on them, amongst screw drivers, bottle openers, tweezers and scissors.
Do not forget your first-aid kit. In fact, attend a first-aid course prior to departure. You’d much prefer to have done so than not when misfortunes strike.
Serendipity, n. [ser-uhn-dip-i-tee]: an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.
Since Sarah dropped out of the Grand Canadian Hitchhike three weeks before my departure from London, I had pretty much come to terms that I’d be hitchhiking across Canada entirely by myself. The sheer thought of the distance between Vancouver and Halifax was sufficient to unnerve me – yet fathoming the lonely conquest rendered me petrified even a month before the journey was due to begin.
Then, the destiny of the Grand Canadian Hitchhike was altered on that one fateful evening, and the subsequent morning when serendipity submitted its greatest surprise to date.
The Vancouver Riot
Two or three o’clock in the morning – regardless of the hour, it was the early mornings when I staggered into the hostel, utterly exhausted, and deemed myself in no physical shape to hitchhike the following day.
A faux-humorous comment on Wednesday night sparked my string of misfortune within a tragedy already set in motion.
“Look at that car over there,” I proclaimed.
“What car?” Jeannie, Lorna and Mark replied.
“You know, the only one that’s sitting in the middle of the street, overturned and about to burst into flames?”
Evidence of the now-infamous Vancouver Riot, ignited by the Vancouver Canucks’ loss in the final Stanley Cup game, further scorched our eyes as wafts of tear gas swelled and drifted; Granville Street – where our hostel was located – was under a stern lockdown; crowds of which we were in the amidst dispersed and scrambled for cover as straying plastic bullets were launched from police gun barrels.
We sought sanctuary in a Tim Horton’s two blocks away – until the meandering tear gas entered the Canadian chain cafe and we fled the site of suffocation.
At some stage I was separated from the group. Alone, aimless and holding a hockey stick doubling as trouble-magnet, I scurried into the Best Western on Drake Street where I was granted permission to linger until Granville reopened, reclining on the couch and watching my vision blur.
Hours later, I awoke from a fleeting slumber and staggered back to the hostel, physically and mentally drained.
Coffee and companionship – those were the cravings as I regained consciousness.
And please, no hitchhiking today.
Wandering downstairs I convinced a group of people whom I’ve hung out with at the hostel to go caffeinate in a nearby coffee shop.
Among them was an Australian whom I’d briefly met – his name is Michael Schroeder.
As we got chatting he explained his intention of renting a car and travelling around British Columbia before returning to Vancouver, crossing the strait to Vancouver Island and potentially heading up to Yukon. I in turn uttered my scheme of hitchhiking across Canada. Turns out Michael has done some hitchhiking before and expressed his wish to thumb around Canada.
The opportune moment.
“Would you like to hitchhike together? At least from here to Banff?”
He accepted my offer.
Grand Canadian Hitchhikers
Together, Michael and I shared nine rides and covered 972km during our stint of hitchhiking. Five days prior to our eventual parting of ways in Calgary, we were complete strangers to each other.
In the Chinese language’s equivalent, the concept of serendipity is that of an accidental event of exceptional luck preceded by foul streaks of misfortune. My encounter with Michael certainly followed that pattern – and surely, if I hadn’t been stranded in the Vancouver Riot and had to delay my departure date as a result, I wouldn’t have recruited Michael as a fellow Grand Canadian Hitchhiker. The journey between Vancouver and Calgary, the companionship, the hilarity and sentiments that ensued: I wouldn’t have enjoyed such should the miseries of Wednesday night had never taken place.
Here is my ode of praise to serendipity, from your faithful disciple. And also to Michael, my serendipitous partner-in-crime and friend who equipped me with the confidence upon which I’d relied on for the trials that were yet to come.