- How to Reach out and Root
- Hitchhiking During The Pandemic: A Field Report
- How to Reach Out and Root
- Want to Join the Trustroots Team?
- Share your moments
- Relevant links
Greetings Rooters! Happy Summer!
We are all slowly, carefully opening our hearts to travel and making connections as the globe tentatively wakes up after the pandemic. In times like these, it is more and more important for us all to put down roots as we reach across the world and build relationships. There is still so much conflict and uncertainty in the world, but with Trustroots, we can open our hearts and homes and minds to making friendships and living life fully. We have now grown to over 80,000 Trustroots members– your personal network of global friends is growing. Come meet everyone.
Our online platform struggled a bit in late June – messages were getting clogged in a broken email server – but a small group of volunteers (some new, some old) jumped in and solved the problem, to where we’re back to seeing close to 1000 messages and message replies a day. Connections are happening!
In this issue, we’ve got a few thoughts on modes of travel while still thinking about safety during a pandemic, as well as some basic ‘rules of the road’ for being a good Rooter, and of course, the different ways you can be involved – Trustroots in 100% volunteer driven, so we need good people to apply their talents. Come on out and get involved.
Hitchhiking During The Pandemic: A Field Report
In August 2021 Adrian, tested the hitchhikability in Slovenia, Bulgaria and Turkey to find out what is the current situation like in relation to the CoViD pandemic. Interview conducted by Jans.
How long have you been hitchhiking?
I first hitchhiked in 2004, ever since until 2019 I used to hitchhike around 10000 km per year just for the pleasure of the adventure. In total since 2004 about 130000 km.
Why did you decide to visit Slovenia, Bulgaria and Turkey last summer?
Oh, it just happened I decided to go to the seaside in Turkey – that just happened to be my route. Croatia and Serbia were also on my route but there I just was incredibly lucky and got two long rides so those don’t count.
How did your experiences of last summer compared to previous hitchhiking trips?
Not only CoViD impacted hitchhikability, politics did too. And it was different in different countries. In Slovenia what happened in the last 12 months did not have any impact on the average time and effort needed to hitchhike. I still rate Slovenia as among the top hitchhiker friendly countries in Europe
But in Bulgaria: while the people I met seemed to be totally careless about CoViD, some of the drivers I met did say that some people in Bulgaria are afraid of the refugees that came into the country lately and because of this Bulgarians may be more afraid to pick up hitchhikers than before. Hitchhikability on the motorways was actually usual, but on the national roads I found it to be a lot more difficult than in the previous years – many drivers passing by were totally ignoring my presence while doing passive hitchhiking with no difference being noticed when I was using just my thumb or a cardboard.
At the Turkish border at Kapıkule I arrived on foot and I handed my documents to the border police. They told me that the Turkish government made a new CoViD related rule which forbids border crossings on foot. After a long, frustrating conversation the officer let me cross on foot. The same frustration happened when I wanted to exit from Turkey from the same border crossing.
I have tested the hitchhikability in an area that I was already familiar with and this year I noticed longer waiting times compared with the previous years – asking the Turkish people I met why in their opinion I found less people willing to give me rides in comparison with the previous years, almost all of them said that, on one hand Turkish people are afraid of the refugees that lately came into Turkey and that currently are still coming into Turkey, while on the other hand, because of the economic crisis that the country is facing, for many Turkish people it is becoming more and more difficult to have enough money to live and this led to an increase of the criminality rate all over the country.
Do you think people were worried you might be infected with covid when you were hitchhiking?
Absolutely not. If one is sick then doesn’t feel in the mood for traveling, usually when one is sick feel in the mood for staying in the bed to rest and get better as soon as possible. So if one travels it implies that is healthy, and this was pretty obvious to all the people I met during my trip.
What is your favorite hitchhiking memory of last summer?
Sitting under the sun and drinking hot tea while staring at the Aegean sea. I always carry tea with me while hitchhiking and I enjoy to take breaks to enjoy my tea.
What is your next trip going to be?
I don’t know. I enjoy more the spontaneous trips than the planned ones. Probably in the summer I will enjoy going again to the seaside in Turkey and drink more tea while staring at the same sea under the sun. While if it will happen during winter then for sure I will head somewhere to the Carpathian mountains to enjoy the wilderness, the nature and the fauna.
How to Reach Out and Root
So, you’re headed to a new city and you’d love to have an authentic connection to the place and the people. You’re a member of Trustroots, so you go over to the map search and start surfing around looking at the different people in the area. How best to decide who try and connect with, and how best to reach out to them?
First, make sure you’re not just blasting anyone and everyone. Read the profiles, make sure you can respect and understand that person enough to want to make a connection. Second, try and explain to the contact WHY you think the two of you might connect, or ask straight out if they can help you in the way you might need. That is, make “the ask” personal and specific. Don’t just send spam.
Second, be specific as you can about your plans and needs. Don’t just say, “hey, I’m coming to X, wanna hang out?” But rather more like, “I’ll be in [your city] starting Oct 1 through Oct 22, and for the second week, my schedule will be quite open. I’d love to learn more about [your city] and how you [hobby they mentioned] there.” If they respond – and every Rooter should work to respond to all messages! – make sure to follow up and give more details, and get more details – mobile numbers, address if applicable, their schedule (so you won’t be disruptive).
Third, confirm when the dates get close. Don’t expect that your local connection will remember everything they messaged about weeks earlier. Check back in about all the details and if they are still available, and tell them if you are still on schedule. This communication beforehand is very important to *root* that trust between you both. If you run late or plans change, don’t expect the new contact to be totally casual with that. Yes, we all should go with the flow and roll with it, but when you make plans with a new person, work to stick to them or communicate clearly about changes. Don’t leave people hanging. This is actually quite important: if you *aren’t* coming, please make sure to inform your potential hosts.
When you arrive, both the traveler and the host should work to communicate clearly about plans, boundaries, and needs. If you’re staying at someone’s place, see if you can bring a little token gift or find some way to give back- help clean up, cook a meal, weed the garden, bring a beverage. If you’re hosting, work to make a good impression and make the person comfortable. One hint – make sure they know where the toilet is first thing. Travelers often want to freshen up when they arrive at their destination.
Building strong roots in this community is easy, and fun, and important, but remember that it does take some consideration and work.
Want to Join the Trustroots Team?
We are a volunteer driven organization, and we can’t do anything without the efforts of all of our volunteers. We have some exciting projects we’re beginning to work on including creating more connection features on circles, design and launching our iOS app version.
We are open sourced, and carry a do-it-yourself culture. We have a group of volunteers to welcome you and orient you onto how we have worked together. We have weekly meetings at 18:00 UTC every Sunday at Meet.jitsi/trustroots and you are welcome to pop in anytime and see what’s cooking. Come help connect people around the world.
Share your moments
Every newsletter we’re looking for stories and photo’s to share with you, our community. Besides the newsletter we’re using our social media channels to inspire and show people who don’t know Trustroots (yet), what we’re about.
Do you want to share your story with the community? Email us at [email protected].