Hitchhiking  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Hitchhiking (also known as thumbing, hitching, autostop or thumbing up a ride) is a means of transportation that is gained by asking people, usually strangers, for a ride in their automobile or other road vehicle to travel a distance that may either be short or long. The latter may require many rides from different people; a ride is usually but not always free.

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Hitchhiking in popular culture

Literature

The writer Jack Kerouac immortalized hitchhiking in his book On the Road. The road has a fascination to Americans; countless writers have written of the road and/or hitchhiking, such as John Steinbeck, whose book The Grapes of Wrath opens with a hitched ride. Kurt Vonnegut's perpetual protagonist, Kilgore Trout hitchhikes halfway across the country in Breakfast of Champions. Roald Dahl wrote a short story called The Hitchhiker, in which he uses the idea that you can hear fascinating stories when giving people a lift to introduce one of his trade-mark eccentric characters. Another lesser known author, a lifetime hitchhiker named Irv Thomas, incorporates hitchhiking into his writing perspective and lifestyle in Innocence Abroad: Adventuring Through Europe at 64 on $100 Per Week, as well as recounting his hitchhiking travels in a memoir, Derelict Days...Sixty Years on the Roadside Path to Enlightenment. Douglas Adams postulated on interstellar hitchhiking in his cult classic The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, while fellow science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein described interdimensional hitchhiking in his book Job: A Comedy of Justice. The protagonist of Tom Robbins' Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Sissy Hankshaw, becomes legendary as a hitchhiker in part because of her unusually large thumbs. British comedian Tony Hawks writes about hitchhiking around Ireland with a refrigerator as the result of a drunken bet in Round Ireland With a Fridge. An in-depth analysis on the practice of hitchhiking in Poland was published, aptly called Autostop Polski ("Polish hitchhiking"). In 2005, No Such Thing As A Free Ride?, a comprehensive anthology of hitchhiking stories and viewpoints was published by Cassell Illustrated. The book was serialized in The Times and named The Observer's Travel Book of the Week. Edited by Tom Sykes and Simon Sykes, it featured contributions from Mike Leigh, Sir Alan Parker, Sir Max Hastings, Tony Hawks and Eric Burdon, amongst others. In 2008, No Such Thing As A Free Ride? North American Edition was published by Goose Lane of Canada and featured JP Donleavy, Margaret Avison, Doug Stanhope, Jeff Lewis and Will Durst, amongst others.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Hitchhiking" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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