Last Thanksgiving I received a round-trip off of Craiglist from Portland to Seattle for just $25. Yup, that’s right, I traveled to and from Seattle for $10 less than a one-way ticket would have been through Greyhound. Especially now that the Holiday Season has finally “arrived” and travel plans are being arranged, there is no better time to share your first ride.

Image by beggs (source: Flickr)

More and more Craigslist rideshares are safe and easy to come by. And while hitch-hiking has gone to the wayside over the last several decades, a new and evolved form let’s call “neo-hitchhiking” has emerged in ridesharing.  Once again Americans that have never met before are hopping into the same vehicle to share conversation while saving money on gas and reducing emissions by fitting more people into less cars.

Finding a ride is super easy. Just locate your town or city on Craigslist and click rideshare under Community in the top left.  Then type in your destination to narrow the search.  Look through the adds to locate a ride for you and get busy with e-mails, texts and/or phone calls to land yourself a cheap seat.

While there is no need to bore you with the nitty gritty of my experiences, other benefits deserve explanation.  Normally when individuals travel by plane, train, or bus they are left with their own thoughts or device(s) during the duration of their trip.  Even though they are in a vehicle full of people, an isolation exists that creates an uncomfortable and lonely ride. Instead, rideshares establish a more personable setting where conversation is encouraged and stories are shared along with savings.

In specific reference to my ride up to Seattle, I am convinced that you would be hard pressed to find another situation where a 40 year old musician, a 30 year old professional, a college student and a 20-something blogger have the opportunity to get to know one another while diving deep into discussions on life, thrift stores, and the ever-volatile nature of the American economy for hours on end.  By the time we arrived at our destination I knew my companions more than almost everyone else I encounter on a daily basis.

It has become too common place in this country for individual reliance on companies to perform daily tasks instead of looking within the community for assistance. And while this idea of comparative advantage is the American Dream unto itself, the level of dependence we have on advertised solutions to issues has gotten out of hand to where it depletes our bank accounts and harms our environment.

There are so many people in similar circumstances, going similar places, that we subconsciously choose to ignore instead of making an effort to get to know. Collectivism should not be the scary word it has manifested into over the years as we remain locked within our own agendas and expectations of outcomes.  What better way is there to get into the Holiday Spirit than enter a car full of other people you just met to save money on gas and reduce emissions on your way to the festivities?

Just hop on, tune in and hop out.

By Andy Grossman.

Earthgarage – Greener Car. Fatter Wallet.