Today we're talking with R.K., author of Travels With a Road Dog: Hitchhiking Along the Roads of the Americas
FQ: K.R. - I have to say as one who drove cross-country many times to see the world, this book resonated. I have to ask…where, if you had to pick just one, is the location you most remember in a positive light and would like to visit again?
That is a really tough question as there were many places that were so wonderful to visit, but since you are asking about just one....I would have to say that it would be the few weeks I spent camping out on Nassau in the Bahamas. Waking up under the open sky, doing yoga, eating a bowl of oatmeal and then having a swim in the ocean as a way to start the day was amazing and incredibly refreshing.
FQ: Do you still keep up with various people you met along your journey? And, is Rainbow Gatherings something that still exists in 2012 for current explorers?
One thing I quickly learned was how fleeting "road travel" relationships can be. There are a couple people I've heard from, one is Doba, I learned she went on to become a famous artist and is still creating music. I also heard from the woman I traveled with to the Bahamas. We had a short phone conversation on the phone several years ago. I tried contacting someone I found on FaceBook, but although I would think he would remember me, he never responded to my emails. There are only two other people I would love to know how they are doing and hope to hear from them one day (Poppy & David).
Rainbow Gatherings still exist but I haven't been to one in a very long time. I was more interested in my own personal growth and although people were around, it wasn't often that I really connected with anyone. It would be interesting to learn how gatherings fare in these days.
FQ: I have to admit, even though this says it began in 1993, there are a great many things that bring about images and feelings from the sixties. Do you wish life remained more ‘face-to-face’ than the ‘social media’ world we live in today?
Although I do see that we are suffering as a culture because of online social interaction, I also find it very useful. I've made friends around the world and have had friends contact me who wouldn't have found me otherwise. I think we need to find a personal balance with using social media and that usually takes moving from one extreme to the other.
FQ: In relation to the above question, in 2012 the internet feels a great deal safer than actually hitchhiking at night along the roads of America. Do you feel the same way?
Of course the internet would feel safer since most people are using it from the privacy of their homes, which probably feel warm and safe to them. Once you've got some hitchhiking experience under your belt, it doesn't seem so dangerous. The funny thing is, I felt more nervous in a city in the middle of the night than I did camping or hiking out in the middle of nowhere.
FQ: Now that time has past and you are on a different chapter, would you recommend your own children following this path when it comes to finding themselves? Or has the time period changed your mind about hitchhiking?
I wouldn't recommend anyone hitchhike, but that falls in line with my general philosophy which I don't recommend anyone do anything. If they tell me they really want to do something or try out a new adventure, I encourage them to follow their heart. I don't have children, but if they were grown adults and wanted to hitchhike, I would worry like hell, but short of locking them up in a box, I wouldn't be able to do much about it.
FQ: Did you notice that a majority of the nice people you met were truck drivers. I ask because a great many people feel that the semi’s are angels on the highway; that they are the ones who will help anyone from a hitchhiker to a stranded motorist.
In the trucker's world, I would say the road becomes their home. These days there are fines handed out for picking up hitchhikers, so I'm not sure how common it is for truckers to pick up hitchhikers or stranded motorists anymore. There are many stories about truckers picking up hitchhikers or who they thought were stranded motorists only to be robbed of their cargo. Over the span I was hitchhiking I saw that more and more truckers were passing me by.
FQ: I have to say many readers will love the canines that appear in this tale from Mojo to Jamba - and the great company they provide. When loneliness hit on those highways, were those the hardest times to get through?
Oddly enough, I didn't often experience loneliness while I was traveling. The only time I felt real loneliness was that time in Venezuela that I had the dream about my sister coming to visit. The next morning was the only time I can recall really experiencing loneliness. During my travels and in life, I've felt surrounded by life and that has filled my heart.
FQ: I know about your career, but is writing also in your future beyond the memoir? I would assume you could create a great many novels simply from the people you’ve met along the way.
I do have some ideas for fiction novels but writing is really hard work. As a small business owner at this time, writing is probably out of the question. Maybe when I retire!
FQ: Thank you for your time. From one Road Dog to another (who was too lazy to hitchhike and had to use a car that broke down every five minutes, LOL) - thank you for your time and sharing your memories.
Thanks for your questions. It's nice to hear that other people have enjoyed traveling and seeing the world!
Rajam K. Roose (RK)
To learn more about Travels With a Road Dog: Hitchhiking Along the Roads of the Americas please read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.