As dark creeps in around you, the question arises about when to stop for the night. At what point is it no longer worth trying to hitch-hike because sleep becomes more valuable?
After an unsuccessful attempt to reach Hamburg from Cologne, I found myself stranded in Munster and walking for great lengths of time to find the motorway. A bus ride and a long hike along the side of the motorway later, I was finally at a petrol station. Very few vehicles passed as I stood, fruitlessly waving my sign at them.
I went and bought myself a chocolate milk. It helped.
Just about to turn in for the night, a large truck pulled up. The seats were full and they didn’t speak any English, but they indicated I could get into the back of the truck. I was just about to turn the ride down, when they opened the truck to reveal a man at a table in front of a window. It was a simple living room, within a truck.
I jumped in and soon we were on our way to Osnabrück.
We communicated in words and hand gestures. Possibly bits of language that only one of us understood. From my encounter I learnt that the man was from Kazakhstan, lived in Russia while in the army, and now resided in Germany. He was married and had a ten year old daughter. Also in the truck was his father in law (Kazakh), a Russian, and a German. He told me all this despite our language barrier. I shared my own story with him.
He speaks Kazakh, maybe German. I speak English.
He gave me an apple juice.
I van filled with Kazakh people = a Kazakh-Van.
We parted ways several kilometres later and as I write this, I am nestled in my tent somewhere between the train tracks, a gas station, and the motorway.
Communication is more than just words.