Epic stories hitchhiking from Calgary to Vancouver.

Hitchhiking outside of Penticton, British Columbia

Hitchhiking outside of Penticton, British Columbia

I left Calgary a little over a week ago and have been hitchhiking with someone whom I had only known for 1 week.  It was told by a mutual friend that she was going the same way as me and we should probably just go together.  We were dropped off around 8am just west of Calgary and were off on an unknown adventure that in hindsight turned out swimmingly.  Drifting but not drowning we flowed down an amazing path of discovery and wonderment.

It was a perfect match of personalities and the unfolding of those synergistic energies helped build something that had to be shared to be believed.  It was a constant flow of the right amounts of ups and downs in a continuous exponential buildup of higher vibrations.  So much happened that you had to be there to understand, but I’ll take 3 of my favorite stories from the trip and share them.

Hitchhiking from Calgary to Kelowna, BC in one day
a train in british columbia

A train in British Columbia.

In our first day we hitchhiked over 600km to the town of Kelowna.  We got 5 amazing rides with very little time waiting in between.  Daily commuters, a truck driver, and folks who just assumed nobody would ever pick us up.  We covered a huge amount of distance and even had time to stop at a local man’s house along the way.

We were walking along the highway and I saw a sign that said bed and breakfast.  It was old and wooden with faded paint and a giant  house that sat back from the road.  A voice from the shade hailed us over and we were greeted by a giant white dog that looked like a baby polar bear.  He was friendly and kind of clumsy in his giant body.

The owner offered us a beer and a chance to sit in the shade.  We eventually made dinner with the ingredients he had in his fridge and in his garden.  We conjured up a delicious lettuce wrap with ground beef, spices, fresh vegetables from the garden and we cooked it on his modest propane grill that he was proud to cook everything on.

I shared with him a vision of mine to build a network of people around the world like him who had pieces of land that were open to community minded people to come and stay in exchange for help and resources.  He loved the idea and shared with me his vision of having a tourism business on his land and building multi functional spaces that could be used for anything.  I thought about and shared ideas with him on how he could do that.

We shared our visions with each other and promised to stay in touch.  He asked that when we got to the next town we emailed him and let him know we made it safe.  I emailed him from Kelowna later that day when we stopped for the night.  I thanked him for his generosity and will hopefully stay in touch with him in some way in the future.

Kelowna, British Columbia

Kelowna, British Columbia

Maybe one day our visions can merge and create something amazing.

Dancing in Oliver, British Columbia
Oliver, British Columbia

Oliver, British Columbia

We were dropped off one late afternoon in Oliver.  We sat down at a picnic table for a minute and regrouped after our ride.  We heard some live music nearby and decided to wander over and “creepily” stand on the side walk to listen.  This resulted in an impromptu dance party breaking out on  the sidewalk in front of a restaurant.

We danced for probably the next hour straight and just shined as bright as we could out there.  Cars driving by were laughing and some of them even took their hands off the steering wheels to dance with us!  They were beeping, people were smiling and the folks inside the restaurant were loving it too.

The only table in there took notice of us and someone offered us a plate of food.  It was probably half a slab of delicious ribs with a salty tangy dry rub.  Also some pita bread and a garlic sauce.  We feasted on our bounty while we continued shining on that sidewalk in Oliver.  The woman with the food – her name is Deb – danced with us from the other side of the fence.

I told her my mother would be happy that someone like her was out there taking care of me while I’m on the road.  She beamed and told me about her son who went backpacking through Australia who we reminded her of.  She hoped someone would help him out when he was in need and then offered us a place to stay on her orchard.

She said that in her 55 years of living there in Oliver, she had never had more fun.  I felt incredible when she said that.  I felt so so much gratitude for her for being there to share that with me.  I felt blessed that I could be someone who could bring something like that to her.  I felt gratitude for the universe for creating this playground for me to explore and these moments for me to discover hidden along the way.

As appreciative as I was, we decided to use our last bit of the day to try and get to Osoyoos.  We danced under a streetlight until a man picked us up on the way home from his AA meeting.  He took us into Osoyoss where we slept in a cherry orchard for the night before moving on.


We woke up in a cherry orchard outside of Osoyoos, BC

Working for food in Hedley.

On another day we were dropped off in Hedley, British Columbia after the sun had set behind the mountains.  We tried to hitch out for a little while before feeling hunger set on.  We walked into a restaurant that served as a service station in this small town.  I asked the women running the place if there was any work that could be done in exchange for food.  They offered us a seat at a nearby table.

Before the food came out another woman offered us the majority of her edamame.  It was delicious edamame and I was really impressed that the place had something like that.  Our main course was a hearty spaghetti and focaccia which both tasted deliciously homemade.  When we were done eating the woman who gave us the edamame told us to come in the next morning and we could work for breakfast.

After dinner was an open mic night that had about 5 people there that appeared to come every week and just hang out and jam with each other.  At some point I was sitting there and thinking about how insignificant to me this small town was before I got there and how amazing it felt when I was there.  I was given a generous meal and was being played beautiful music and I was comfortable and happy in what is a pretty crazy world.

We were told we could sleep in the park across the street.  Someone might yell at us if he had been drinking the night before, but we were just fine for sleeping there by creek as long as we were respectful to the space.

Dancing in Hedley, BC

Dancing in Hedley, BC

The next morning we woke up and set the intention of working for breakfast.  We went into the restaurant and were given cups of coffee.  After having time to wake up we were asked to sweep up the parking lot and it shouldn’t take more than an hour.  We went out there and gave it our all for the next 2 hours sweeping up nearly 2 wheelbarrow loads of dirt, weeds, rocks and debris.

It was tough work and really tested me physically, mentally, and spiritually.  I gave it my all and did what I think was a fair amount of work.  We worked hard and made the sign in front look good, the pumps, and the parking lot.  We picked up cigarette butts, pieces of plastic, and and other pieces of trash.  We cleaned up where dirt had accumulated from the wind blowing it in and weed that were growing in all of the cracks.  We pushed it all around in a wheelbarrow that had a flat tire, a bent rim, and had a piece held in place with wire.

Working at a Hedley restaurant for food.

Working hard for our food.

After our work was done we went in and sat down for a meal.  They gave us each a big burger topped with tasty treats and a side of fries.  Also an order of mushroom gravy for our fries.  A patron who respected our traveling way of life bought us each a beer and chatted with us.  After we devoured our food we were given 2 slices of pie for desert.

After our meal we went outside and took on the simple task of trimming the trees out back.  With our full bellies we tackled the task with ease and celebrated with the dip in the nearby creek.  We cleaned off the grime of a hard day of work and we relaxed on a nearby tree and dried off in the sun.  Afterwards some people came out to have a beer with us.

When we left we were given a nice thank you note and heartfelt goodbye.  Also a 6 pack, a bag of fruit, more pot than we could carry, 10 bucks, and 2 fresh baked muffins.  To top it off the owner of the Nickelplate restaurant offered us a ride to our destination the next morning.


Hitchhiking west to Chilliwack, BC

Hitchhiking west to Chilliwack, BC

3 hours later we finished a week long mission of hitchhiking from Calgary to Chilliwack BC where we surprised a grandmother who hadn’t seen her granddaughter in over a year.

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  • Muni Muni

    Your bit about sweeping up the parking lot reminds me of something I read today in Ben Franklins autobiography. He went on about street sweeping for three pages, saying, “Some might think these trifling matters not worth minding or relating… Yet the great number of instances and its frequent repetition give it weight and consequence. Human felicity is produc’d not so much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen, as by little advantages that occur every day.”

    • http://chuckmanley.com/ Chuck Manley

      That’s a great little anecdote. That level of awareness makes a great person.