I was supposed to fly from Phoenix to Los Angeles this evening, but ran into my friend Ryan yesterday that was making the drive. I cancelled my flight (thanks Southwest Airlines for making it easy!) and decided to spend some quality time driving with Ryan instead.
We stopped to fill up gas on our way out of town and noticed a hitch hiker. He just seemed like a normal guy – he was a younger guy in his 30s or so and looked pretty clean cut. Ryan joked that we should pick him up, but when I agreed and said why not, we got the travelers’ attention and pulled up to the curb for him to get in. We asked him where he was headed, to which he responded that he was headed San Diego. We told him we could get him to LA. He agreed and climbed in.
Our new travel companion introduced himself as Kenny. We merged onto the freeway and introduced ourselves as well. Of course we had a million questions for him – how long he was waiting -he said maybe 20 minutes – and how long he has been hitch hiking – 11 years!!
We swapped travel stories and enjoyed hearing about his experiences. We offered him some water that we brought and some snacks. He thanked us for our generosity.
I asked him one very important question: if there is one thing you recommend that everyone do at least once, what would it be and why. His answer was simple – everyone should hitchhike at least once. Not a short distance, but a trip that would take a couple days at least. His reason was really beautiful and interesting – the really great experiences he has had he attributes to people having inherent goodness and extreme generosity.
In a world where it’s so hard to trust other people, there we were sharing a moment of absolute trust with a complete stranger. I’m really glad that Ryan and I decided to pick Kenny up. I enjoyed speaking to another traveling soul about their very unique experiences. We dropped him off in Blythe, CA per his request and got some contact information from him to keep in touch. If you want to learn more about Kenny and his adventures, check out his blog at hobolifestyle.com or his podcast at freestyletravelshow.com
Ps. If you’re ever driving through Coachella Valley, CA definitely check out TKB Deli. It was probably the best sandwich I’ve had in a long time – they have over 2,000 yelp reviews and have a 5 star rating. I didn’t believe it until we checked it out! The up-beat energy and friendliness of the staff was impressive!