A Memorable Few Hours in Pensacola

512px-TileSSaludAllendePeople fascinate me–they always have. I like hearing their stories, learning about their lives and connecting my own observations to what I’m being told. When I travel, I particularly like to meet people wherever I am, especially if it’s someplace I’m not all that familiar with. It’s always cool to take in the local culture and visits some of the places that aren’t necessarily tourist destinations, although I’m usually down to see the must-go-to spots as well.

With that in mind, after a few hours in Pensacola the other night, I wavered between eating something really quickly and going to bed a bit earlier than usual and seeing a bit of the town. I took a quick cool shower to wake up a bit and decided to see what I could see since I didn’t anticipate getting back to Pensacola any time soon. I threw on a bright summer dress, quickly brushed back my wet hair and tied a scarf around my head before heading out the door. I felt like a bit of a mess, but I didn’t really care. Time was a-wastin’.

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Flashback

Hitchhiker-Luxemburg-1977I saw an unusual sight yesterday. It was someone hitchhiking, a young man maybe in his early 20s, a bit of a mess really, walking along the side of the road, turning when a car came his way, extending his arm and sticking out his thumb. You don’t see that much anymore.

Back when I was a teenager, and probably for as many years prior since types of transportation that allowed more than one person to get a ride came about, thumbing a ride was not an uncommon sight. It was customary to hear tales of people thumbing across country, through Canada, and across Europe, all of which inspired romanticized versions (for me at least) of what those adventures must have been like.

For those without a car, hitchhiking was a way to get around. When I was in my pre-teens and early teens, I rode my bike like other people drove their cars around town. I would ride for hours at a time, and for me, it was sweet freedom. I would ride that bike from one end of town to the next, reveling in my own ability to get somewhere on my own. I couldn’t wait until I could actually drive a car and really go somewhere. But until then, I had my bike, first a Raleigh 3-speed (a very elegant black bike) and then a bright, sky blue 10-speed. I loved both of those bikes, and went everywhere on them. I liked riding my bike so much that once when I rode in a 25-mile bike-a-thon, I rode the course 3 times that day. The people that sponsored me per mile were NOT happy when I came to collect.
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