Driving with strangers ... the director's cut!


My hitchhiking library Feb 2022!

There are many memoirs, poetry collections and alternative travel books here that don't appear in my book. Some of the academic sources which I drew upon are  also visible. 

Any big project leaves far too many great stories, characters, and observations on the floor of the editor's office, simply because of lack of space or to benefit the flow and coherence of the overall narrative. Trimming Driving with strangers, meant saying goodbye to some of my travelling companions over the years, whose place in the history and culture of hitchhiking deserves recognition.  So, I've attached a few short extracts from a version of the book from 2020, prior to the final stages of editing and copyediting.  Enjoy! 

- Walt Whitman and travel as a community.

- John Denver and the figure of the old hitchhiker.

- 'The hitchhiking grandmother': 'that' Grace Small  on the Alaska Highway.

- Devon 'Rocketman' Smith: the amazing times and mind of the first 'World Champion Hitchhiker'.

- Jim Pallas' incredible hitchhiking mannequins (early opening of Chapter 2). Link to Jim Pallas' own website here.

- Decline in 'hitchhiking capacity' (account by James Bar Bowen from Chapter 8).

Inspiring quotes from the newspaper archives


these people however are not dangerous … they are immeasurably impudent. To the Sociologist they have a curious interest. Along roads where the universal omnibus thunders they wait and wait. Walk they will not. To beg they are not ashamed … Why don’t they carry out their system to its fullest?

Editorial: New York Times, 12 October 1925, p.20.

The road develops characteristics in you which are requisites for entrance into business and professional life. If you are impatient, it teaches you to wait. If you have a temper, it gives you a placid nature. If you are selfish, it teaches you to be generous. If you are impetuous, it forces you to think. Samuel D Zeidman,

Thumb Fun’, April 1937 New Jersey Highlight, p.18

Still editing and adding content ....!