b'finally ending in Germa- pect to hitchhiking is wasted time. OnForcebaseinThailand.Stoevertold ny, and reluctantly flyingmany occasions, he found himself ona dispatcher there that he worked for home from Luxembourg.the side of the road in desolate loca- theInternationalVoluntaryService Hehadnoguidebooks,tions, tired and hungry, waiting hoursas a freelance war correspondent and just maps and the adviceforaride.Othertimes,hitchhikingconvinced him to write orders to fly of other world travelerscould be quite competitive with travel- him to Tan Son Nhut, the capital of as they called themselves.ers lining the road. By writing Ameri- South Vietnam now renamed Ho Chi Thisincludedhippiescan Student in chalk on the side of hisMinh Airport. At the time, the Viet-and a collection of socialsuitcase, he was sometimes able to winnam war was raging and though Sto-drop-outs,aswellasaan advantage in the eyes of a driver.ever knew that traveling through a war burgeoningpopulationWhen Stoever had a lot of groundzone was unsafe, he figured this might Stoever visited Fasilides Castle built by Emperor Fasi- of volunteers in the Peaceto cover and knew it was impracticalbe the only time to see firsthand what lides (Basilide) who made Gondar, Ethiopia his capitalCorps,aprogramestab- or overly risky to hitchhike, he turnedone looked like. in 1635. lishedbyPresidentKen- toboats,buses,motorcycles,trainsTouringthesightsofSaigon,he nedy in 1961. (he rode the Trans-Siberian Railroad),then flew to An Khe, Vietnam. When askmewhathappenedyesterday,IStoeverspreferredmodeoftravelevenplanesandhelicoptors,oftena lieutenant colonel doubted his story, probably couldnt tell you. But if youwas hitchhiking. How else to keep to hiswithout buying a ticket. Some of theStoever was thrown off the base for en-asked me what happened 50 years ago,daily budget? Although it wasnt consid- more interesting modes that he experi-the interesting parts of that are still theered as risky as it is today, one still hadenced include the storied Darjeeling-most burned into my brain. to be careful. In his first book, HitchhikeHimalayaRailway;anelephant;an Starting in Tanzania at the conclu- the World, Stoever recounts how at ageoxcart in Nepal with a stop in the river sion of his teaching contract, Stoever12 he hitched his first ride on a tractorKoshi so the driver could wash his ox; flewtoAddisAbaba,thecapitalofpullingawagonloadofwatermelonsand a Philippine freighter. Ethiopia, and wound his way throughin his childhood home of Ames, Iowa.Mostsurprising,Stoeverfigured the Middle East, India and Pakistan,Duringatimewhenmostfamiliesout how to fly for free through much Sri Lanka and Thailand, and Vietnamowned just one car, hitchhiking becameof the Far East, courtesy of the U.S.during the war, mind you. He con- his chosen mode of transportation, rep- Air Force. One of his hitchhiked ridesAngkor Wat Temple in Cambodia in 1966. Although the area was unprotected at tinued on to the Philippines, Cambo- resenting travel and all its thrills. came from an Air Force officer whothe time, it is now well-guarded and has dia, Hong Kong, Japan, and Russia,Stoever admits that the negative as- dropped him off within the Ubon Airbeen restored with exhibits for tourists.20/ matters magazine / spring 2021'