How Hitchhiking Made Me A Better Free Hugger

Posted by:     Tags:  ,     Posted date:  June 19, 2011  |  5 Comments
Insert Drawing :)

I was visiting my friends Maggi and Mihau in Zabrze, near Katowice. I hadn’t seen them in almost a year, since their wedding.

It was a spontaneous trip and they had to work, so there wasn’t anything planned. So after arrived, Maggi asked me, “What do you want to do tomorrow?”

Me: “How about Free Hugs?”
Maggi: “Ok”.

The next day, I met Maggi and her workmate Gabi in Katowice to do Free Hugs. We took our signs and started on our way. Katowice is a post-industrial city, kind of like the ugly cousin to Krakow but I like it because it’s totally unpretentious. Sort of like the girl next door who’s cute but wears dorky glasses. One of my favorite places is the kebab shop opposite the train station, run by two friendly Polish girls who look like they should be on the cover of FHM rather than selling processed meat high in sodium and saturated fat. Wait, maybe not the cover of FHM but definitely in FHM. At least on an advert page.

Katowice can also be a bit rough around the edges, however. We went to the bus station, thinking that people waiting for a bus could do with a hug. But that didn’t go so well when a guy started screaming at me in Polish. He must have intimacy issues.

(The best thing about being cursed at in a foreign language is that you can’t understand what they’re saying, so it’s like it didn’t happen.)

We walked on to the main pedestrian mall and had much more success there. Most of the people hadn’t heard of Free Hugs before but after a brief explanation many were happy to have one, especially after seeing other people get a hug without any ulterior motive. Overall, it was a great free hugs outing. It’s nice when you get to see people’s barriers crumble.

I realized as well that my recent hitchhiking adventure had made me a more effective free hugger. I was looking people in the eyes to catch their attention and had my arms outstretched to appear more approachable. It worked for hitchhiking so why not for hugs?

Best of all, we got grandma hugs. I love how grandmas everywhere give the best hugs.

Ever been free hugging?

About Me


In 2004, I sold everything I owned and left New Zealand to go see the world. In that time, I've run with bulls in Pampolona, watched the Man burn at Black Rock City, volunteered at a special-needs summer camp in New York, hosted & couchsurfed with 100+ people, taught English in Prague, trained with Muay Thai fighters in Phuket, worked on 5 different cruise ships, hugged strangers on streets in 7 countries and this one time, I even hitchhiked naked (but that was back home, so that doesn't really count). I moved to Vancouver, BC in 2012, to embark on new adventures. It's nice here, I think I may stay awhile! Let's connect: @roymarvelous, facebook & RSS.



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  • http://quirkytravelguy.com Scott – QuirkyTravel

    Free hugs are always fun, especially when it's in an unexpected place.
    My recent post Hiking Mt Washburn in Yellowstone

    • http://www.cruisesurfingz.com cruisesurfing

      Indeed!!

  • http://www.thetravellerworldguide.com Hogga

    Haha. I heart this. I also draw in some of my posts. I'm in love with the dude at the right hand side of your site that says Hi to me. Tell him I want a date.

    • http://www.cruisesurfingz.com cruisesurfing

      Thanks a lot Hogga. The stick man dude left, said something about moving to Toronto to become a bike courier.

  • http://expertvagabond.com Matthew Karsten

    I've never tried this before. Sounds fun. :)