I met a man from Morocco sitting on a church bench in Argeles-sur-mer. We talked, he brought his goon friends over who offered me hash and talked poorly about women, so I left. He told me hitchhiking is too dangerous and can’t be done here in this village. A scared man. I had literally just said goodbye to a very attractive French woman who had hitchhiked enough for two lifetimes. She was all for it. So I walked to a roundabout and stuck up my thumb and smiled as wide as I could. People drive on. People shrugged their shoulders. They shook their heads. And I got more and more discouraged. I walked further down the road, getting more scared what I would do, because I had no place to sleep that night. I kept walking with my heavy backpack and thumb up. Finally a couple stopped their car. I ran to their car, in disbelief they stopped. I’m forgetting the woman’s name. The man’s name was Jacques. They drove me closer to the highway where I was walking towards. First hitchhike a success! I walked towards the highway and stuck my thumb up again. One car passed, the next stopped. Two cars! After two cars I got picked up. This man’s name was Perier. I told him I’m filming a documentary and he was a little shook up when I started unzipping my backpack lol. So I filmed him a little, he drove me past the second town, Elne, and deposited me towards the direction of Perpignan. I thanked him and stuck my thumb up some more. After enough time for me to think, I should be filming this, a man approached with his car. His name was Erma. But the French people who can’t pronounce his name call him Jesus, his middle name. He was going towards Perpignan. He only spoke Spanish so I brought my crappy Spanish. I think he was weirded out by how thankful I was and how many times I thanked him. I also asked all three of these people if I could sleep at their place which they all denied. Still without a place to sleep! So I decided to spend the money and go for the youth hostel. I was going to ask random people in the street (which I did while hitchhking), but figured I was too scared and already did enough for the day. So I walked towards the hostel (the only one in town) and dropped my phone, rendering 2/3 the screen useless. It was enough to get me to the hostel, where I found it closed for the winter. Alrighty. What am I going to do now. I was seriously considering sleeping in the bushes, but I would’ve froze since sleeping in a hostel hallway the night before was so cold. I asked a random man next to his car if I could sleep at his house and he said he sleeps in his car lol. He gave me the number for the homeless shelter which I called. They asked me, “how long have you been homeless for?” Can you imagine how shitty you feel when a homeless shelter calls you and you say you paid an absurd amount of money to fly to their country from the united states, you’re here making a documentary, and now you want free accommodation? I couldn’t steep to that level of disrespect. So I said, okay, time to start asking strangers. There was a man working at his desk with the light one, I was about to pass, but said fuck it and rung the door bell. I explained everything, and he let me in. Phew. Wow. I entrusted him with my passport, and he’s holding that for security. We dined like kings and queens. I hadn’t eaten anything all day. The entire day was saved by Bernard and Jeannette.
You have to be persistent. With everything. How badly do you want it? With sales calls, with habits, with finding a place to sleep in some random french city you’ve never heard before. That day, I had asked 7 people to sleep at their place. 1 said yes. That is better odds than hitchhiking. When you want to tap out, go a little bit more, then a little bit even more beyond that, and if it requires, one last push. Then go ahead to plan b.