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Hitching the World

The time I discovered…

Natalia Dutt

United States

My time in Maui taught me many things about life. I learned the importance of aloha, going with
the flow, and to take every opportunity possible. By having the “say yes no matter what
mentality” allowed me to experience all the magic the tropical paradise had to offer. I lived there
for three months and was able to see every aspect of the island life. However, I did not see it in
the most conventional way. Though I rode my bike around the island, I feel as though I saw the
most in the passenger seat of a stranger’s car. Hitchhiking is very much a part of Maui’s culture.
At any given time you could pass by 10 hippies with thumbs outstretched yearning to get to the
beach. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before. Each day that I would hitch I came
across a complete stranger that would give me life lessons I didn’t realize I needed.
As a young girl from the midwest I was completely terrified. In our part of the country the only
stories of hitchhiking I had heard were ones of danger. On Maui, however, it is just another
mode of transportation. After being on the island for about 2 weeks I decided I finally wanted to
get off the mountain and see the ocean. Needing salt in my hair and sand underneath my feet I
set off on this mini adventure. Nervously, I left the safety of my bungalow and hit the highway.
With an outstretched thumb and a heart full of good intentions I willed myself to have a magical
day. Within ten minutes of being on the road a rusty, red, four door sedan pulled up beside me.
The front seats were occupied by two dudes who seemed to be my age or a little older. They
were bohemians seeking adventure or at least to enlighten those around them. After we got
over the initial awkward small talk we moved onto things such as our family, beliefs, and what
brought us to this beautiful island. It turned out we all had set off on our individual adventures
with similar intentions. We each had opted to avoid the restraints of adulthood and that of
normalcy. We yearned to discover a place full of culture and positive vibes. We were all drawn
to Maui in similar ways and were blessed by its magic abundantly. I believe that I got the most
out of this wonderful island through my hitchhiking. I was able to gain a glimpse into the world of
these strangers even if it was only for a few moments. It gave me a sense of wonder. Though I
had a destination on the horizon; I had no way of knowing how I would arrive each time I set
out. The beach was my touchstone

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