Hitchhiking around the world, was one of the richest experiences I have ever known. A seeming randomness brought excitement to each day, who would I meet, how far would I get, and where would I sleep that night?
One of the most interesting people I encountered was a hitchhiker I met on an entry road to a freeway going north.
For the almost 2 years I was on the road, every hitchhiker I met followed an unwritten code of conduct, “Never sit in front of a person already sitting on the road.” It allowed the one who had been there the longest to get to the front of the line and be the one that was most often picked up first.
Pierre was different. He had no where he had to be and no time he had to get there, and over his years on the road, he told me,
cars would stop to wake him up and ask if he needed a ride.
When I met him, I was somehow drawn to him and I asked if I could sit with him until he got a ride. He answered, “Sure. that’s fine by me, but if you are wanting to get a ride soon, do not sit with me, sit 10 feet in front of me or behind me and you will get a ride quickly.
If you choose to sit with me, you will be here for a while.”
I replied that I did not want to delay his ride, so I would do as he suggested and sit 10 feet behind him. His response startled me.
“Do you do that often?”
“What?”, I asked.
“Interpret what people say, rather than listen to their words. I didn’t say what I said for me, I said it for you. People both in front of me and behind me get rides quickly,”
“Why do you think that is?” I asked him
And he answered saying,
“Everyone I meet is trying to get somewhere else; very few people are happy where they are. But, I have nowhere else to be than where I am, so what is the rush?”
He then looked me in the eye and said,
“It’s easy to get somewhere else, what is hard is to be 100% where you are.”
45 years later, I can still hear his voice as clearly as i did that day. The truth of his words still echo in my soul. How often I run away from where I am, wanting something other than what I have.
Does this resonate?