When I was growing up my parents would always warn me about the dangers in life. Like drinking too much, smoking crack and an old man in a van that preyed on the souls of small school children.

But when I moved out west for ‘school’ in 2007 I learned that not everything they were telling me was completely true. Some of the things they warned me about weren’t so bad, in fact kind of good and no I’m not talking about smoking crack. Today I will be talking to you about hitchhiking.

I like skiing a lot. So much so I would go to Whistler every weekend for 2 years and stayed with friends. The only problem for me was getting to Whistler since I didn’t have a car or any money for that matter. But on a sunny December morning a friend introduced me to the beautiful world of hitchhiking.

I was sceptical at first, does this guy have a knife? Does he have a gun? Is he going to try and rape me? But what I learned is that strangers who pull over and pick another stranger up off the road are actually pretty nice people.

The first time I was with my buddy a big black SUV pulled up. It was a mid 40’s gentlemen with his dog, the same 3 questions went through my mind again but I got in anyways, because he can’t rape the both of us right? What I learned that hitchhiking is great for networking.

We talked to that guy the entire way up to Whistler. Where he dropped us off and said ‘have fun guys’. That guy ended up being the CEO of the resort television network in Whistler. He gave us his card and told us that if we ever wanted a job in whistler to call him. I lost that card.

After my first time, I was a lot less nervous when I did it. I’d do it on weekends, I’d do it on the way to school, I’d do it all of the time. But sometimes you get comfortable, a little too comfortable and get caught off guard.

I was standing on the side of the road for an hour one day, which is weird because you usually get picked up within the first 5 minutes. So I was getting desperate. An old pickup truck with lumber in the back pulled up and an old guy opened the window and said ‘get in’.

So I said yes sir and I got in. This guy was absolutely nuts. I was thinking about jumping out of the vehicle and rolling into the ditch in hopes that I wouldn’t die a more horrible death. Sometimes you gotta trust your instincts and be on your toes.

So I didn’t jump out because that would be a bad idea and almost surely end in death. So I said are you going to rape me? And he said aw, well now you’ve made it awkward. And he let me out of the truck. I stood in the middle of the mountains with all of my ski stuff and the sun was going down.

Cars were going by but I don’t think they could see me. So I walked until I was somewhere visible and waited. At this point I started to think, I shoulda just let that guy rape me. But then an big white 18 wheeler truck pulled up.

My parents always told me to never hitchhike and even more never hitchhike with a trucker. So I thought to myself, they were partially wrong about hitchhiking so it’s possible they were wrong about this too. So I got in.

Almost instantly he asked me, do you smoke weed? So I said yes in fact, I do smoke weed. He handed me a big bag of weed and said ‘here roll this’. I proceeded to roll the weed, but we were going up a big hill and if you’ve ever been in a truck it is a pretty bumpy ride.

The marijuana was going everywhere. I was getting worried that he might get angry but he was actually pretty nice about it. He said ‘haha don’t worry were going to meet up with my buddy off the road. Off the road? Buddy? Those are like the 2 code words in ‘I’m going to brutally murder you in the forest.’

At this point I’m not gonna lie I was nervous. This guy was pretty big so It’s not like I could win a fight so my only option was to run which in turn would probably result in getting eaten by a bear which I saw 4 of already that day. So I just went with it.

We turned off the highway up to Whistler and arrived at some sort of trucker gas station. There was another identical truck waiting there. The truck stopped and he got out. ‘I’m just going to tell my buddy you’re coming’. ‘Sounds good man’. Act cool act cool act cool.

He walks over to the other truck opens the door, says a few words, friend gets out and they walk back to the truck where I’m sitting – in full ski gear. ‘Hey man I’m James’ ‘Darcy, nice to meet you’. Shake his hand. He sits down in the middle and pulls out 2 marijuana cigarettes. We smoked them and talked about our trials and tribulations.

I realized that both of these guys were just regular dudes that were actually decent good hearted people. My imagination was the one that was raping me. He got out and Dan and I drove to Whistler while James drove back to Vancouver. I helped him drop off fresh linens at a hotel then he drove me right to my house.

After that experience I realized that not everything my parents had told me growing up was true. Hitchhiking is awesome, you might get picked up by a limo driver, a video game designer or a crazy guy who wants to tell you about his ex girlfriend in jail.

I hope that after listening to this you go out and try something new, new experiences are the things that make life interesting and worth living. But don’t EVER smoke crack.