Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Existential Hitchhiking

by Chloe Caldwell

“I always get my period when we hitchhike,” I told my brother.

“That’s nice,” he said.

“No. It’s shitty.”

“Oh. Okay.” He wanted to be done with this conversation.

“I think it means something though,” I told him, feeling bored and feeling bold. I was trying to get a rise out of him.

It worked. He looked at me from over his shoulder:

“Why does hitchhiking always have to be so existential---“

“I know!”

“----With you? No Clo, only with you.”


“This isn’t what hitchhiking is like with other people.”


It was six in the morning and we were tired. It was August and it was humid. My brother was beyond irritated with me, and for good reason. He was hitchhiking with me to Paris from Berlin because I didn’t know how to do it alone. He didn’t feel like doing it. Neither did I. We hadn’t even spoken for months. Instead of living with him and making art and music, I’d decided to erase myself and stare stoned out of a window.

Luckily though, we only had to hitchhike to a small town in Germany, where a friend of a friend Pablo was going to meet us with his car and drive us all the way to Paris. We couldn’t wait to sleep for hours.

Then Trevor got a text from Pablo. He’d decided he needed to get on the road early. He left without us, even though he’d told us to meet him at nine am.

Buying a flight out of Paris to New York because it was cheap seemed exotic when I purchased it in June. In June, we’d been excited about the quest. Now we just wanted to go back to bed. Now we were on the side of the road unprepared to hitchhike for two days. We had half of a baguette that Trev had baked and thirty-five cent Brie that was melting in the sun. Ooh la la.

My brother didn’t let it go. I hated him when he acted this uptight.

“No, really though, Clo. I’m curious. Why do you think when we’re standing on the side of the road trying to get a ride, why do you think that’s the best time to analyze your life?”

“I don’t know. Cause’ it feels weird to be standing on the side of the road. Like we’re outside the world.”

“You should be putting your energy into getting a ride.”


“It’s okay, but you do it every time.”


“And take your Ipod off.”

“It makes me dance and look friendly.”

“It makes you look rude.”

“We always get a ride when I put it on and dance. Remember? And they can’t even see it from the car.”

“It’s rude. Put my guitar in front of you; it’ll make you look pretty. People like girls that play guitar.”

“I don’t know what to do with my life.”

“Ahhhhh shut up.”

“But I don’t!”

“Hey, didn’t you have to clean yesterday? If you wanted to, you could use the euros you made and just buy a bus ticket to Paris. They’re about 65 euro.”

“I didn’t go clean yesterday. I don’t have any extra money.”

“Why didn’t you go?”

“I was tripping on acid.”

“Jesus Christ, Clo.”

“What’d you say?”

“Take your damn Ipod off!”

“It makes me look friendly!”

“It makes you look rude.”

“It makes you look rude.”

“Don’t do that.”

“Don’t do that.”

“Stop copying me.”

“Stop copying me.”

“ I’m serious Clo.”

“I’m serious Clo.”

“What are we five years old?”

“What are we five years old?  I’m not stopping.”

“You just did.”