When our farm hosts told us to hitchhike into town, I won't lie, I was a little appalled. And when I tried to explain that in the UK, people don't do that, they said "yes they do! We saw it!". I said, well, normal people don't do it, and of course, I am a snob. But it's true, isn't it? It's not something you'd do unless you were desperate. Which we rarely are, since much of the UK has decent bus services, or you just don't go to places without a lift. But in Nelson, hitchhiking is an acceptable, community-driven thing. So, since we live 3 hours walk from town, hitchhiking has become second nature.
Generally, we're picked up by women on their way to feed their horses or collect their children. Today, we were picked up by a young man whose first words to us were "I hope you like gangster rap". And then we got into a conversation about organic farms, which just goes to show, you shouldn't judge by taste in music. Hitchhiking is another way to meet people you wouldn't usually meet, just like working on farms. Later in our travels, we are couchsurfing, which is through a website that facilitates people staying on strangers' couches. Let's hope my mum is busy today, and that she doesn't get round to reading this blog. Anyway, all of these things are interesting ways to see something new. They depend upon trust and respect, and break up the endless rotation of hostels and train stations whilst travelling. So far, the people we've met in hostels have been predominantly Australian/British teenagers who wants to get drunk and/or laid. I have met so many interesting, REAL people in Canada, most of whom aren't Canadian, and weren't travelling themselves. Further thoughts on Canadians will be in an upcoming blog. The family we're staying with now are originally from Russia and Switzerland, by way of Quebec and Israel (yeah, there's a lot of languages floating around, especially if you include 4-year-old Bill's secret language, Oxit). They've had very interesting lives, and have taught me a lot (not all of which I agree with), and I doubt I'd have been exposed to this in a hostel setting. Besides which, living and working with people provides you with a whole different backdrop to just chatting in a hostel common room, or going to the pub.
On the subject of hitchhiking, anyway, I found a book in the secondhand bookshop today, called Timbit Nation, the story of a Canadian journalist who hitchhiked from east to west in the hope of finding the real identity of Canada (Timbits are doughnut holes that you can buy from the coffee shop chain, Tim Horton's, which is generally regarded as being much more ethical than Starbucks et al, but probably isn't in reality. Timbits are delicious). I love that kind of thing.
Aside from hitchhiking and other potentially-dangerous activities, we had a wonderful day today. We spent the day in town, doing "errands" (Katy-and-Seamus speak for "buying stuff and drinking beer"). We had to buy some gifts (for our hosts, and also some upcoming birthdays...), and we bought some fudge and new books (we're getting through books at an alarming speed now we're on the road). I ate a delicious tofu wrap, and drank some flat Strongbow. Travelling's great, forget what I said about meeting interesting people, it's all about the meals!