The anti-capitalist journalist, John Pilger, says that politics in Britain has one meaning:
“The replacement of democracy with a business plan for every human activity, every dream, every decency, every hope, every child born.”
And Chris McCandless quoted in the film, Into The Wild, that “careers are a twentieth century invention and I don’t want one!” With these two quotes in mind, I will carry on experiencing life without conforming to people ‘s expectations. It has amused me (and irritated me, too) that in Germany and in England the first question that people ask me is “so, what do you do?” I have come up with all sorts of amusing answers to that question since I gave up my “career”. To me, it is ridiculous that a career (probably producing consumerist-tat that no-one needs, or working in a brain cell-killing office job) is seen as the benchmark in monitoring human worthiness.
Because I live without much money, two things are essential to me: hitchhiking and dumpster diving (or skipping).
I started hitchhiking because I wanted to travel but didn’t have any money. The more miles I travel this way, the more I would recommend it. My English friends keep telling me to stop hitchhiking, that it is too dangerous. But none of my friends have ever hitchhiked, or know any hitchhikers, so how do they form this opinion? Through stories in the media? We live so cut off from each other nowadays. We are taught to fear each other, to distrust, to keep ourselves to ourselves. In non-Western countries it is common to hitchhike, to chat to the stranger next to you. How likely is it that I will be picked up by a murderer? It is far more likely that I will be picked up by someone kind, who wants to help out a stranger.
I am not saying that hitchhiking is without risks. But what non-hitchhikers don’t realise is that we hitchhikers do take precautions. We don’t just get into ANY car. I would never get into a car alone with two men, for example [Edit: being more experienced, I now get into cars with more than one man, but always follow my first gut instinct]. And most of the time we are not sticking our thumbs out on the road, but actually asking for rides at petrol stations, where we can take a look at our drivers before approaching them. These drivers are surprised at being asked, and aren’t usually looking for prey to kill whilst paying for their petrol and purchasing a Ginsters pasty!
As most people know, in England I was very misanthropic. Hitchhiking has given me a faith in humans that was cynically driven out of me in London. And I would like to think that I give something back to my drivers, too. A lot of the time I am the very first hitchhiker that someone has agreed to take. They are sometimes nervous when they take me. (One woman told me that she had called her boyfriend to say that she was taking a hitchhiker, and that if he didn’t hear from her in an hour, to call the police!) Hitchhikers can help to build up a sense of trust between people. Some of my drivers have even said to me that they will try hitchhiking themselves!
Most drivers think I am younger than my age, which usually works in my favour in getting a lift. It does baffle me when drivers, who are roughly my age, say to me, “I wish I could have done this when I was your age”. As if adventure ends at thirty. As if dreams are redundant at thirty.
Also, I started dumpster diving about a year ago. For those who don’t know, dumpster diving is where you get your food (and other items) from supermarket bins. Supermarkets waste ridiculous amounts of perfect food every day. So dumpster divers retrieve this food and eat it! Millions of tons of food are wasted in the UK every year. I retrieve bananas from the South America – think about the miles that food has travelled – the impact on the environment – only to end up in a bin.
Lastly, the mighty John Pilger has made this documentary about the British media…..don’t believe the news you read or watch.