A guide to Hitch Hiking in Denmark

“I would never do hitch hiking it’s for hippies” says a friend not such a long time ago.

After 3 days of travelling he came back to me and said “It’s so easy and amazing, I am so good at it!”

In Denmark I doubt it’s very common to hitch hike, you would most likely find foreigners or back packers doing it in the summer but that’s where it ends. However, I found it one of the best to travel (as well as car sharing). Because it’s efficient, easy, and most important a way to make your travel an experience rather than some time you are “wasting” on a train. Some like to be on train on their own, letting their mind wandering, I also like doing this but I also feel that when I hitch hike I always meet amazing people.

Hitch hiking is a way for people to meet but somehow there is a selection process going on. Why? Because not everyone will hitch hike, therefore if you put your self out there it means you have energy, time and the will to meet people (it doesn’t mean you have to be talkative but you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable being in stranger car). Plus while doing this you rely on others, you assume being dependent and in an society becoming more and more individualistic interdependance is often seen as a weakness.I see it as strengh because if I can’t do something on my own I am not scared to ask for help.

The selection process continues because not everybody stops to take hitch hikers. I like to believe that the people who stop are inherently good not matter who they are and they background because they see someone on the road and stop to help, they know they won’t get anything in return appart from a nice chat maybe. You also have creeps that stop but I haven’t met any.

That’s where the magic happens, I had the best conversation riding people’s car, it’s such an easy to meet people when you are in a foreign country and want to get into the culture. It’s a very interesting way to communicate because all of sudden the akwardness that people may feel while having to talk to strangers isn’t really there. You have at least one thing in common: going somewhere therefore it’s your starting point.

Learn how to hitch a ride!

Thanks to Emilia, Cecilie and Christoffer for this video :)

Are you ready to put in practice what you learned from our previous video? I am heading to Copenhagen this week end and I am getting ready to encounter this!

 

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One year ago…

Exactly one year ago I landed in Tel Aviv and I was on my way to Bar’am.

My flight was on the 6th at night and my mom called me like 3 times asking me if I was sure I wanted to go because she had heard on the radio something about Syria…But I really wanted to go even though I wouldn’t know until the following where I would live for the next 3 months.

After I left the office I had 5 hours of travel. 5 hours to wonder if I had picked a “good” kibbutz, if I would enjoy it there, if this wasn’t a big mistake after all? But as soon as I met the volunteers it was fine. Better than that actually.

So what happened since?  Where am I now ? What did I get from this?

In the kibbutz I lived surrounded by people 24hours a day, with so many different nationalities and languages spoken. My Bar’am family spreads all over the world. In June I will visit some of my closest friend from the kibbutz, in Sweden :)

After 3 amazing months there I left. That was heartbreaking. I have never cried when leaving a place or a country because I felt it was time to move on, but the kibbutz that was something. I cried in the volunteer office, while handing my keys, in the car to Tel Aviv, in the hostel, at the airport, in the plane. Almost non stop until the plane landed in Paris and when my mom asked on the phone if I was happy to be home I said “NO” I didn’t want to speak because I was too sad.

I was very excited to go to Denmark then because I hated being home but what wasn’t good is I still had in mind the kibbutz and how I missed it. So I was a sad person for some time.

Have you heard of the cultural shock ? Because in September I was right in. Basically you can’t deal with the “strangeness” of the new place you are so you close down. After being extra social 3 months, I was “extra alone” for a little while. Luckily the volunteers with me were incredibly sweet and nice.The Danes I met weren’t so terrible people, it was just..the circumstances were difficult.

The Danes are probably the most individualistic people I have ever met, (not in a bad way) comparing to other places I lived in. So imagine the transition between a place where people come to be social all the time and have fun, and a place where people have a specific goal, want to work hard on themselves, stay focused.Plus they have their life here already, with friends etc…So it’s understandable it was harder to connect at first. It was a bit like the Israeli members or the kibbutz, they have their life their and you are one more volunteer passing…

It was challenging but I adapted ok I guess, even if it took time. I became more flexible at work.

I wasn’t so convince by my volunteer work here, however I really like how people work in Denmark. You don’t have the hierarchy like in France, where the boss give you order you will follow, I feel it’s more equal, my mentor give me ideas and what he has in mind but then we are really free to try what we want. So I developed skills and tried things I didn’t think I would have the opportunity to do elsewhere.

I also had to question my self a lot. Especially because I was very negative when I came to Denmark, and it was easier to blame everyone else but myself for that.

It may seem a contradiction because everybody thinks Danish don’t express their feelings but I improved a lot with this here!

In France we like to be emotional, sometimes dramatic and we think that we communicate well this way. Well not really, we just hope everybody will guess what is on our mind just looking at our face and being angry when something is wrong will be enough for it to change. Here it doesn’t work (it didn’t work in the kibbutz either…I didn’t realize it, that’s all) so even if it might be hard for me I have to use words and not my face because I understood people aren’t psychic. I feel happier this way trust me :)

I had incredible experiences in both places (and more to come!): hitch hiking, meeting amazing people ( I am proud to prove my dear Martin, that yes there are actually nice Danes in Denmark, and some have empathy!!! ;) ), visiting beautiful places, trying new food…

Today I am happy because the friends I met one year ago in Israel are still close to me, we manage to see each other and I would have not imagine having such friendship. I wonder if in one year I will still be in touch with the friends I have here, I hope so, but I don’t even know where I will be so…for now I will just enjoy it :)

I think I am a happier person now that one year ago even if it wasn’t easy everyday and that’s nice!!!

Looking for Hanna…in Paris

During Christmas holidays, my friend Hanna from Sweden that I met in the Kibbutz came to visit me in Paris. And we started this…journey in video!

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100 ans ce n’est pas tous les jours!

Aujourd’hui un article un peu particulier. Et oui aujourd’hui on fête un anniversaire! Celui de l’école où je suis volontaire.

Mon école est spéciale (pour ne pas dire étrange mais bon ça c’est un autre débat…), c’est le genre de choses qu’on ne trouve qu’au Danemark. Ils appellent ça højskole (si tu trouves cela imprononçable et bien….moi aussi!).

Tout à commencer avec Grundtvig, un gars avec de multiples talents (écrivain, poète, pédagogue…merci wikipédia!) qui pensait que ce serait bien d’éduquer les masses plutôt que seulement les nobles, et à l’époque c’était assez révolutionnaire comme concept. Donc ces écoles sont apparues partout dans le pays. Pas d’examen d’entrée ni de sortie, le but c’est d’apprendre sur divers sujet pour soit, d’être “éclairé” (ouais l’influence des Lumières t’as vu! La France est PARTOUT).

Mon école est donc l’une de ces højskole, mais elle a bien évoluée depuis 100 ans. Je sais que pendant un moment il y a eu des gymnastes qui s’entraînaient ici mais aussi des pêcheurs, dans les années 90 des geeks, pour apprendre l’informatique. Mais depuis un moment c’est les comédies musicales.

J’en entends rigoler dans le coin. Mais les comédies musicales au Danemark c’est du sérieux, ce n’est pas les trucs minables à la Kamel Ouali qu’on a en France, où avouer qu’on aime, c’est être rejeté par sa famille et ses amis! Ici non, il y a même une école nationale de comédie musicale, oui je suis sérieuse! Et c’est dans cette école que les élèves de cette classe veulent entrer, donc ils se préparent ici.

Mais il y a aussi théâtre, internationaux et “jeunes”. Les jeunes c’est un programme un peu particulier, ce sont des jeunes (oui comme le nom l’indique) qui ne peuvent pas suivre au lycée pour diverses raisons, donc ils sont envoyés ici pour pouvoir rattraper leur retard et être plus soutenu en cours et d’un point de vue personnel.

Bien sûr le fait qu’il n’y ai pas d’exam n’est pas la seule différence, l’enseignement est très différent de tout ce que j’ai vu, c’est très relax comparé à la France. Rien que la relation prof-étudiant, le vouvoiement, les noms de famille on oublie. Je trouve que le dialogue est bien plus présent aussi. Et on est vraiment libre, que ce soit les étudiants ou les professeurs, ici prendre des initiatives c’est bienvenue même très encouragées. Du coup l’école évolue sans cesse. Après ça peut être déstabilisant parce que la méthode de travail est très différent mais je reviendrais là dessus

Bon je vais arrêter de parler et laisser parler les images (oui je fais de la pub pour mon taf, aucune honte!). Je vous encourage bien sûr vivement à regarder toutes les vidéos! Voici la chaîne et aussi notre blog!

 

 

How I hitch-hiked your mother

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Few weeks ago, I had a little surprise: Some students had an assignement: travel in Denmark for 2 days, with 200kr each, the goal being to meet people.

One of a the team had a free spot so I could join them and here we are, dropped in the middle of nowhere, the rain starting…The first people that stopped for us were a brother and his sister. He was driving her to the hospital because apparently she had trouble breathing, however they still turned back to pick us up! How nice :)

The things I learnt during those two days and a half of traveling:

  • Raincoat can really save your life, thanks to the one someone lend me 5 minutes before I left!
  • You will look weird if you dry your socks with the blowdryer in public toilets…this should be done in private
  • How to ask a spoon in Danish. You never know when you need one! So go back to your lesson.
  • Most Danes can speak very good English. It doesn’t mean they will speak it :) get over it
  • Italian wine is very good. Especially when offered by a lovely Danish family that just open their door to you. And provide dinner. And a bed. And give you a ride to Graasten the next day after you sang a song with the children at the school!wine
  • You can shoot a short film with a phone and random people in a park. Just ask nicely.
  • Writing a sign when you hitchike is super effective (in 5 minutes we were on the way)
  • If you can hitch hike instead or walk, hitch hike. My leg will thank you.
  • Bread with ham and beans is a pretty good lunch. Cold the beans, of course…
  • You can sleep in a strain station, in your sleeping bag no one will wake you up, because Danes are so in love with privacy.
  • Not everyone knows where they are going even if they are the one driving.

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