The Hitchhiker – Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Monday was spent doing a whole lot of driving. First I woke and worked for the better half of the day then zoomed back to Calgary. It had just started raining when I got there but it was not a problem. I was only going to visit with my good friend Kelly and rain surely wouldn`t dampen our spirits. Its been some time since we have caught up so it was really special to have a quick bite to eat while we shared stories. I was going to stay overnight but it just seemed like it wasn`t meant to be.

Kel and I jammed months of news into a couple hours then just before we said goodbye, we were treated with a double rainbow. Now this wasn`t just any ordinary rainbow either. It was as if someone had taken the end and plugged it into a light socket. The arch spanned the entire sky and the colors glowed almost neon. They seemed to grow brighter and deeper by the second. We both stared up in awe stopping in the middle of the grassy park we were walking in. It was a spectacular show of what magic nature can pull out of her sleeve whenever she likes.

On the two and half hour drive home from Calgary, I couldn`t seem to find anything that peaked my interest on my iPod. I flipped around listening to this and that but just couldn`t settle on anything. Perhaps my brain has been scrambled from all the TV watching I did this weekend.

Just after Red Deer, I passed by the spot that I had been picked up last fall. After Burning Man, I was feeling quite brave so I decided to hitchhike home from Calgary. This is not a common stretch of road to find hitchhikers but I always like a challenge. It was quite an experience and reminded me what real traveling is like.

I reminisced about the kindness and good conversation I had with my drivers that chilly September evening. I glanced at the empty seat next to me and thought about how it`s too bad there was no one for me return the favor for. Infact, to be truthful, in all the hundreds of trips I have driven this path, I don`t recall ever seeing hitchers.

Now, wouldn`t you know it? Less than 10 seconds later, there is a lone backpacker hitchhiking on the side of the highway. Ofcourse I wasn`t expecting it so I took a while to slow down from 120 to stopping. I couldn`t tell if it was a male or female but I already felt that this would be a safe ride.

Turned out my passenger was a young man of around 20 who had just hitched from Quebec to Alberta in four days. He was on his way up to Edmonton to see his sister who he hadn`t seen in half a year before going to BC to work for the summer. We had great conversation about traveling as he had been to India and Nepal collecting all sorts of great stories.

Another interesting coincidence was that his sister was staying in a house two down from my friend Chris, who was having his birthday. I didn`t think I would be able to see him on his special day but as luck would have it, I was able to stop in to give him a quick birthday hug before the hour turned to Tuesday.

I tumbled into bed that night with a very affectionate kitty pasted to my side purring up a storm. Magic had missed me and made no secret of it. It`s so nice to feel wanted and missed and needed and loved.

Grateful for hitchhiking.

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