Archive for Argentina

My experience hitchhiking around the world

hitchhiking in Cameron Highlands

I am not a person who goes hitchhiking a lot. When I am alone it feels a bit weird and I am not used to it, I guess. And also, it is no secret that I have no patience. So even waiting for a few minutes makes me nervous and, or I just want to jump in front of a car to make it stop, or just to take the dumb hitchhiking idea out of my mind and go to pay for any kind of transportation available.

But there is still a bunch of places where I did hitchike and I would like to share my experience with you.


1. Snina – in my home town in Slovakia I hitchhike pretty often but it is always with my mom only. When we go tomy grandparents house in a village 10 km away and we don’t make it to catch a train/bus, we hitchhike. I don’t think it has ever taken us more than 5 minutes because many people know us here so they stop to take us. We also hitchhike when going to the Rybniky swimming pools in summer or to the closest town Humenne.

2. Spain can be tough for hitchhiking, I learnt this when trying to hitchhike in Madrid but it deserves a whole separate story.

3. The only other time when I hitchhiked in Slovakia was back in summer 2005 when me and my best friend of that time decided to hitchhike to Madrid. We just spent 5 months there during Erasmus scholarship at the University and just after a couple of weeks back home we missed our friends so much we wanted to go back for summer. The only problem was that I ended up in Italy instead of Spain then.

4. Ipoh – Malaysia. Ipoh turned out to be a hidden gem not many tourists know about yet. I don’t even think I have seen any other tourists during my 2 days in Ipoh and the looks I was getting from the locals just proved it. One of the most beautiful things one can do here are no doubt the temples just outside of the town. I did take some buses but also did hitchhiking to get to the rest of the temples. It was around 10 minutes to make an Indian guy to take me to Kek Lok Tong temple where I was headed. He even waited there for me to take me back to Ipoh.

hitchhiking in Cameron Highlands

hitchhiking in Cameron Highlands


5. Cameron Highlands – Malaysia. I spent just 2 days of my holidays in Cameron Highlands but I would regret it for ever if I did not bother to visit at all. The mountains are such a marvelous place to visit with all the fresh fruit, beautiful flowers and butterflies, tea plantations and strawberry farms. I knew before I went there it was very popular for hitchhiking so I just stuck my thumb up between each 2 destinations on my bucket list. Absolutely easy to stop even the first car coming. The only small problem I had was to get to BOH Tea Estate so I walked there but on the way back a car with a young couple stopped to ask me if I needed a lift.

6. El Calafate to Perito Moreno glacier. It is not cheap at all to take a bus with one of the travel agencies to take you from El Calafate to Perito Moreno glacier and back. I met up with an American girl in El Calafate with who I traveled together already for a bit before and we said yes to hitchhiking. I have to say our local friend Pablo warned us saying

You will not get any car going to Perito Moreno as just organized buses go there. But if you still want to try, go early morning.


So we listened to him and around 9 am we were already at the outskirts of El Calafate taking turns with a thumb up. I lost all the hope after 30 minutes as it was definitely the longest hitchhiking I have ever done. At that moment I sweared to myself I was never going to hitchhike again and I have not ever since. At least not until December 2012. But in the end a huge truck pulled over. Yes, 4 crazy Argentinian guys were staring at us with their mouth open, but come on, some 20 euros saved on the bus was worth it. It even turned out to be a perfect day at Perito Moreno glacier.


I know some people do hitchhike regularly. The friend I went to Perito Moreno with is one of them. Another friend, Arne, I met as well that day hitchhiked most of the route from Argentina to the US.

What is your experience hitchhiking around the world?

Interview with Arne Van Schoors I met in Argentina and Chile many times

Arne in Chacarita, Buenos Aires

Life can be really fun sometimes. I never thought something like that would be possible, but it was. Asking me what I mean? Well, meeting with Arne!

First, I saw Arne looking kind of desperate in Rio Gallegos, Argentina waiting for the same bus to Ushuaia. We didn’t talk there even though we were both travelling solo. Then I spotted him with some more guys in Ushuaia a few days later walking along one of the streets in the city centre. Afterwards, he was staying in the same house with me and more Couchsurfing guests in Puerto Natales in Chile (no, thankfully that time there was no sex and Couchsurfing issue). Then, we met by accident when hiking Torres del Paine when I made friends with his friends – yes, the same guys he was with in Ushuaia! Later on, we met again a few more times. Back to Argentina, we met again by accident with Arne and his friends one night in El Calafate among hundreds of people who came to the live concert. The following day we met again in Perito Moreno glacier where we decided it was enough of weird unplanned meetings already to finally start talking more 😀 And also that it was nice to watch sunset above the glacier getting frozen together:) Then, a few days after, we spent some time together in El Chalten. We were supposed to cross our paths with Arne again in Chile, but because of bad weather we both changed our plans so it never happened.

Right, I would never think I could keep meeting the same people for around a month across 2 countries! Unbelievable how it can sound, we never took a photo together 🙁

Btw Arne writes about some of his trips in his mother tongue on Genblogt.

Arne in Chacarita, Buenos Aires

Arne in Chacarita, Buenos Aires



Let’s find out more about this interesting guy:

1. Who are you? Tell us something about you.

To start with a cliché: it’s hard to define myself. Probably I’m a ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’. I started working at a very young age and at the age of 25 I finally went to college, where I studied to become a professional educator. But before I went back to school, I travelled together with my brother and a friend through the Indian Himalaya on Royal Enfield motorcycles to cross the highest motorable roads in the world. A lack of experience with motorcycles and all the ungentle contacts with the asphalt during this two-month travel (8 crashes), made this trip an unbelievable odyssey and probably the craziest thing I ever did. On the road I saw how beautiful and powerful this planet is.

Apparently, this whole adventure triggered a sleeping traveller inside me who wanted to discover this planet, I travelled to Croatia and Bosnia, crossed the Caucasian Mountain Range from Armenia to Iran and fell in love with the beautiful Tunisia.
Meanwhile, working with refugees in my home country, I had the idea of making a movie about those people who are living in difficult circumstances and during two years I could call myself a director slash fundraiser. Leading a team of more than fifty people with a small budget was probably the biggest challenge so far in my life. Luckily the result received positive response in my city and province and the first three screenings where all sold out. The movie was titled On the Road referring to the ones who are not accepted in their home country nor in their guest country and because of that unable to find a place they can call home. But unconsciously also to my favorite author Jack Kerouac.
But my biggest childhood dream didn’t come true yet. Since years I was dreaming of crossing the Americas from south to north and during two years I did everything (worked as educator, ICT-teacher, bartender) to get all the money together to explore the other side of the Atlantic. I applied for a press card so I could start to work as a freelance journalist during my trip and write about all my adventures. Finally January this year, I travelled from Uruguay to Tierra del Fuego and from there all the way up to Canada. After 143 days I had more than 26000 km (16000 miles) under the belt, I crossed 15 countries and lost 6 kilos of body weight. Absolutely the journey of my life.


2. What is your favorite place, city and country and why? (all three of them)


My favorite place is my apartment, I live in the city of Ghent in the Million Quarter (Miljoenenkwartier) on three high. I have a fantastic view of this green and beautiful neighborhood, built in the Interbellum. The apartment I live was built in 1929 on the former grounds of the World Fair in Ghent in 1913. This green lung surrounded with green parks with a nice view through the windows of my apartment on the corner of the street is my daily part of joy. If I go out, this tremendous city gives me all I need to be happy: good friends around, nice bars with live music and the best shops for quality food or a pleasant chat very close by.

Although I love my city, I fell in love pretty recently with Toronto, Ontario. A vibrating city filled with culture, nice bars, trolleys and some great people who live there. In a perfect world I would have my summer residence there and in winter time I would spend my time in Seville, Spain to enjoy the tapas, the narrow streets and the great atmosphere of Andalucía.

The country I have a crush on is Colombia, I only spend short time there, but I heard great stories about the Caribbean coasts and the old cities around there. I had fabulous days in Medellin and Cali. Living in the motherland of Marquez and salsa and floating in a boat on the Amazon makes the illusion of my personal paradise there even bigger. But maybe it’s only illusion, like I said it’s a crush, not really love… I really like travelling in remote areas but to live I will prefer to keep my good ol’ western life. After one month of great encounters in the States, from Texas to Louisiana and further heading north to Tennessee, I really fell in love bit by bit with the Southern way. The ones that complete the stage as a good second and third: France and Canada!


3. If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be and why?

Alaska! My first plan of my journey across the Americas had Alaska as the final destination, because I was running out of money and lack of time, I had to skip that part. Only one person responsible for my love for Alaska is Jack London, who wrote beautiful books about the life over there. It’s the same thing as people enjoying looking at the sea, just like that Alaska is a metaphor of the end of the world, and sitting on the edge can be pretty relaxing, sitting on the sideline of life.

Arne in Lafayette

Arne in Lafayette


4. What do you love the most about your home country?

The happy unconcerned life. We always forget how high our quality of life is in Belgium. A good social system that helps (almost) everybody in time of need, the good working conditions, the beautiful medieval cities with a lot of culture, music, events, sports and always somebody to find to go for a drink. If you want to escape the city you can go to the coast or the Ardennes in the South, away from the rat race and stress. But I doubt I will stay in this country, life is too short to stay all my life on my little hill.


5. How travel changes you?

If I can give you one advice: never travel in the hope you will find yourself along the way, let the travel crawl slowly under your skin and try to be aware of everything that happens. Working already for years with very underprivileged people I wasn’t afraid of to meet that dark side of life during my travels. I learned a lot about people, how they deal with their daily problems, but I learned also a lot about myself: how to perceive every day new realities. One day surrounded by friends, you’re blind for everything around you and another day when you feel lonely, the helpless beggar at the corner -who is always there- makes your day by talking to you and giving you attention. In my opinion travelling is a lesson in humility, it teaches me that I’m not the belly button of the world, only an accident waiting to be happen.


Arne, thanks a million for these answers, I really enjoyed them and it made me remember all the fun we had with you and guys in Argentina!