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Riding with Strangers: A Hitchhiker's Journey

3.4  ·  Rating Details ·  50 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
This fascinating tale of the author's cross-country hitchhiking journey is a captivating look into the pleasures and challenges of the open road. As the miles roll by he meets businessmen, missionaries, conspiracy theorists, and truck drivers from all ages and ethnicities who are eager to open their car doors to a wandering stranger. This memoir uncovers the hidden reality ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published May 1st 2006 by Chicago Review Press (first published January 1st 2006)
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Jon
Oct 30, 2013 Jon rated it liked it
A big fan of Kerouac, especially when I was younger, I often had romantic notions of taking off on a hitchhiking tour of the country. But I knew that I would never dare such a thing. In reality, I suppose, I'd rather drive across the country--and would have preferred that even then. There is something that scares me a bit about getting into cars with strangers and also makes me feel a bit of an imposition. I'd have been more likely to hop a freight, had it been legal and halfway safe.

Nevertheles
...more
Theo Logos
May 26, 2012 Theo Logos rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
If you believe that hitchhiking is a quaint bit of our recent past now assigned to culture's dustbin, Elijah Wald is here to tell you that reports of its demise have been greatly exaggerated. Past forty now, Wald still successfully surfs the highways with his thumb out and a guitar on his back, and claims to be able to hitchhike across the country faster than a Greyhound bus can make the trip. In `Riding With Strangers' he presents a smorgasbord of hitchhiking information and lore in between sto ...more
Tami
Jul 17, 2007 Tami rated it did not like it
This is unfortunately not the true travel story the blurb would have you believe. If you really, really enjoy reading about why every young person in America needs to start hitchhiking again, then this is the book for you. The author mentions practically every five pages that only a FEW people are murdered by hitchhikers/people that pick up hitchhikers...I'm sorry, those odds just aren't good enough for me. I'm pretty much appalled that anyone could suggest that anyone should be hitchhiking beca ...more
Iris
Jul 30, 2011 Iris rated it liked it
Non-fiction, very interesting book about his twenty-odd years of hitch-hiking in multiple countries. His most recent trip was across the U.S. from coast-to-coast. He travels this way for the freedom of it, the excitement of the unknown, and the love of humanity. He has a basic trust of people and believes that if you are reasonably careful hitchhiking is not the terrible threat it is made out to be (especially if you are a male). He writes reasonably well and strikes a good balance between telli ...more
Ietrio
Feb 12, 2015 Ietrio rated it really liked it
Shelves: bio
The book has its slow moments, but I liked the author's philosophy.
Catherine
Jun 30, 2007 Catherine rated it it was ok
How many ways can Elijah Wald say that he thinks hitchhiking is great and not as dangerous as our laws and rumors may have you think? That's the message in this book that's said over and over and over again. I'm shocked I made it through this repetitive platitude. Boring! The only story that I found mildly interesting was his experience riding with Martina. I also found the information on the separate areas for truckers at rest stops interesting.
Bob
Aug 08, 2007 Bob rated it liked it
A 3 is meant to mean a good but not great book. A 5 would be a spectacular book.

This book follows many of the same patterns for travel books. Lots of people met along the way, lots of statements made about the current state of travel, especially in hitchhiking. A little dull in that it is on interstates, though mabye the writer wants to prove a person really can hitchhike anywhere.
Mark
Mar 26, 2013 Mark rated it liked it
Not a bad read, but not as entertaining as I thought it could have been.

I did find myself skimming over some of the more boring paragraphs.

Interesting if you want to know what the life of a regular hitchhiker is all about.
J. Alan
Mar 13, 2007 J. Alan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bottomshelf
This firsthand account of a recent crosscountry hitchhiking trip is a refreshing perspective, free of the paranoia and hysteria that traditionally surrounds thumbing a ride. Wood tells a very laid-back tale of a true American past time.
Francis
Jan 28, 2014 Francis rated it liked it
Wald shares interesting stories of his hitchhiking experiences and a history of the art.

He is a big advocate of hitchhiking and some parts of the book made me want to follow his lead and take to the road.
Steve
Jan 11, 2012 Steve rated it really liked it
Liked this book, about the author's experiences hitch hiking. I've read two of his other books about music and liked them a lot also. Some gentle, light-weight philosophizing.
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Elijah Wald is a musician and writer, with nine published books. Most are about music (blues, folk, world, and Mexican drug ballads), with one about hitchhiking.
His new book is a revisionist history of popular music, throwing out the usual critical conventions and instead looking at what mainstream pop fans were actually listening and dancing to over the years.
At readings, he also plays guitar an
...more
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