Trevor Daneliuk – Hitchhiking Across USA
Trevor Daneliuk, who used to be an accounting major at a university in Kelowna, British Columbia whose life took a rather interesting turn mid-way through college, tells us about his 139 day journey hitchhiking through the 50 states in USA. Hitchhiking is a way of life for this 24-year-old now, as he live-streams his journey on Twitch, an Amazon live streaming service, where he has built his network of 22,500 followers.
With four years of hitching rides, be it cars, trucks or planes, Daneliuk shares his unique experiences with us as he urges us to hitchhike.
What’s your story?
“I started hitchhiking four years ago between semesters of college. I was an accounting major, and though I was doing well in school, I was bored, and once I began hitchhiking, I couldn’t bring myself to go back. The experiences that I gained that summer were enough to interest me even more than my schooling had, and I feel that I have been learning a lot through my travels ever since. You get to know the places you travel through the eyes of the locals, and that is something you don’t always get traveling in more common ways.”
What’s it like hitchhiking in the US?
“Hitchhiking in the US isn’t much different from hitchhiking anywhere else. Some areas, rides come easier, others are more difficult. There are 5 states (Nevada, Idaho, Delaware, New Jersey, and Hawaii) that hitchhiking is illegal in, and I can’t do anything illegal on stream, so those were more of a challenge. I had to find rides that would take me through those states without having to change vehicles and pick up another ride. But for the most part, it wasn’t too bad. People were really nice and interested in what I was doing with the stream.
If you are showing up to a city/town by a plane/bus/train and staying in a hotel or on a resort, you are separated slightly from the more local experiences and have to work harder to find them. While hitchhiking, I get to meet the people from the areas that I am traveling through. The drivers tend to share stories about their cities/towns and want to show their favourite parts to you. I really value that, it’s why I travel like I do – for the connections.”
How do you get internet access everywhere?
“I have to get data plans big enough to support live-streaming for each country I travel to. The U.S. was the first I have done this way, so I found a plan that provides me with unlimited, unthrottled data through a third-party company and it sustained me for the length of my travel with minimal issues. There are always areas with less coverage than others – the more rural, obscure parts are sometimes hard to stream from, but I tend to do pretty well in more developed areas. Being in Canada now, data is more expensive so I have yet to find a plan that will cover my needs in a cost efficient manner, but I am planning my next trip so I am more worried about finding coverage there.”
What has been the most frightening experience, if any?
“There was one time in rural Arkansas where I had set up my tent for the night. I was winding down the stream and getting ready for bed when I heard gunshots – really close gunshots. I instantly called out, I assumed that the person shooting didn’t know that I was there and I wanted to make myself known. Once they saw someone was there, we spoke and he apologized for the close encounter. He had been shooting at a sign above/in front of my tent, but since it was dark he hadn’t noticed me there. After that everything was fine, we chatted and he continued to shoot, showing off his new purchase. But it was pretty terrifying in the moments before when I wasn’t sure what was going on.”
The most interesting person or people you met?
“It’s impossible to pick just one or two, there are an endless number of interesting people that I have met, but a few would be: the private pilot who picked me up in California that taught me how to hitchhike on airplanes, the two guys in a van who picked me up and told me about how they draw energy from other peoples blood (vampires), the guy in Washington state who took me out to some bluffs to shoot some guns on day 1 of Hitchhiking America, a man in Oklahoma who told me he spent 38 in prison for shooting his nephew, and the travelers in an RV who picked me up and played a concert for the stream in Wyoming. The list really goes on and on, I’ve met innumerable really interesting people on my travels.”
What are some tips to keep in mind for someone who wants to hitchhike but never has?
“Advice for aspiring hitchhikers would be to be confident, and be patient. Like I was saying before, not all rides will be safe/desirable rides, and sometimes they just aren’t headed where you want to go. You have to be willing to turn down rides and wait it out – that’s where the patience comes in. I have waited eight and a half hours for a ride before. But generally my wait times are averaging closer to 30 minutes. It’s also important to pick a good (preferably legal) spot to hitchhike from. Having a decent sized shoulder on the road gives the driver space to pull over for you safely without putting themselves, other drivers, or you in danger. Also somewhere with a good line of sight for a fair distance – it allows them to see you and think about picking you up before they are passing you by. I think what people don’t expect about hitchhiking is that it can really be a relatively safe mode of transportation if you do it right. You get to meet incredible people and see places through the eyes of the locals. It’s a really intimate way to travel, and that’s why I love it.”
Name one place you’d like to visit again: Ireland
The app you can’t do without: Google Maps
Your must-carry travel accessory: Clean Socks
Coffee or tea: Tea at home – Coffee on the road
Favorite quote: “If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It is lethal.”
Favorite emoji: Thumbs up emoji
Your inspiration: Adventure, exploration, freedom
What’s next: Next I plan to continue streaming and hitchhiking in as many places as I can that have good network coverage so that I can bring the stream with me.