I Was a Female Hitchhiker— and I Found Humanity's Best
Toby Israel describes positive experiences in Europe
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2013 1:42 PM CDT
Updated Oct 12, 2013 7:00 AM CDT
Stock image.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Toby Israel hitchhiked her way through more than 3,700 miles in Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Germany, France, and Italy, and in the entire three months she spent thumbing, the only negative experience she had was when a male driver asked if she'd ever had sex with two men. And though the idea of hitching, particularly as a woman, initially frightened her—and people she told were quick to warn her to be careful—ultimately, "I met with a veritable sea of humanity in those three months, and an inexhaustible wave of kindness and goodwill carried me across Europe," she writes on Salon.

In fact, she found that many people went out of their way to help her. "Young and female, I seemed to inspire not the worst, but the best in them—their instinctive drive to protect, to assist, to slow down for a moment and care about the fellow human at the edge of the autogrille (rest stop)," she writes. Why did she do it? She was determined to live as freely as a man can—and she's optimistic. "I believe in the goodness of humanity," she writes. "I chose to act not out of fear of the violent, malicious minority, but out of faith in a good-hearted, decent majority." Click for Israel's full column.

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Oct 13, 2013 9:26 PM CDT
If she'd tried that in the States they'd probably be digging her out of a swamp.
Oct 12, 2013 8:35 PM CDT
Well she's right. But why? Because 99.9% of people don't have serial killers living next door. What I'm saying is that if she kept on hitchhiking all the time eventually she would run into the bad apple. Then her story would be different and possibly written by a third party. It's like winning the lottery only in her case it's losing the lottery. Think of it in terms of airplane crashes. The vast majority of flights don't crash and we trust them but we sure don't want to be on the one that does.
Oct 12, 2013 7:58 PM CDT
She was smart not to try that in the states.