A bad break inspired Talya Ariel to pack up, and explore the world. She spent 10-months hitchhiking through the United States, visiting 46 states and even crossed the borders to Mexico.

“I’ve always struggled with existential boredom and wanderlust, and I wanted to do something extreme and adventurous,” Talya told Travel Noire. “I didn’t want to do the standard travel I had done previously.”

But it didn’t stop there for Ariel. She decided to hitchhike through Cambodia and Thailand, too.

In an interview with Travel Noire, we learn more about how she safely navigated hitchhiking, as a travel means.


Travel Noire: How do you define hitchhiking, and how did you do it safely? 

Tayla Ariel: I define hitchhiking as obtaining a ride either by thumbing it on the roadway, or finding a ride in a truck stop or gas station. I’m not sure I can say how to do it safely. But I can say that intuition and knowing how to use a knife helps.

If something feels even a little bit off, listen to your gut. This is a higher risk travel style, and that has to be understood. With that being said, there is risk in everything. People should assess whether the risk is for them.

TN: What type of traveler do you recommend it for?

Tayla Ariel: It’s truly a thrill. I’m not a fan of bungee jumping, sky diving or white water rafting, but this is my thrill. If you crave absolute freedom, and want to travel off the beaten path, this is definitely up your alley.

TN: What did you find to be the best part of your experience? 

Tayla Ariel: Meeting people. I’m a natural storyteller, and the people I met have filled my life with great memories and completely off-the-wall adventure stories. I met some of the most unique and dynamic individuals, and they’ve changed my outlook on life completely. 

Travel Noire: Is there anything you want to tell our readers that I didn’t ask, that you feel is important? 

Tayla Ariel: Have a plan, even if it’s minimal structure. Know how you’ll get home if you decide you’re just done, and hitchhiking isn’t for you. 

Don’t carry too much stuff. It took me getting to Cali, to realize I truly did not need the 20-lbs of stuff I had. Be patient. Some places are slow and it may take a few hours to get a ride.

Also, I’d avoid metropolitan areas like NYC, L.A., and especially Las Vegas. It was extremely difficult for me to hitch out of these places. Make friends with locals. They will help you a lot.