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The Hitchhiker Man

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Loved it! 😍

An adventurous coming-of-age story that leads author Matt Fox along the path (and across Canada) to find what matters most in life.

Synopsis

When you’re willing to step outside your comfort zone, the world awaits.
In 2007, Matt Fox—a recent graduate who studied strategic decision-making in university—found himself alone on the side of a highway with no plan other than to see where his thumb and the road would take him. For the next two years, he would travel across Canada to Alaska and back, experiencing life in a way most people never will…a life beyond his comfort zone.
Along the way, he encounters adventures he never imagined—sleeping under the stars, sneaking into drug-fueled music festivals, and working at ski resorts and local farms to earn enough for his next meal. He also confronts danger—and his own mortality—from a life-threatening injury in Whistler, to a confessed murderer in Banff, to a hungry grizzly in Alaska. But most importantly, Fox learns that life isn’t about getting to the destination, but enjoying each moment along the way. From feeling like an invisible outcast on day one to a man comfortable in his own skin no matter the circumstance, The Hitchhiker Man is the unforgettable story of how one man got lost on the road, and ultimately found himself.

After getting rejected on what was supposed to be his successful life plan, author Matt Fox decides that he no longer has to be bound by expectation and that he now has the opportunity to do whatever he wants. A friend casually brings up the idea of hitchhiking across Canada over drinks one night, and despite the reservations from his family and himself, he creates a new path for this life into the unknown.

 

 The Hitchhiker Man is a fairly quick read with short chapters and a story in constant motion. Make sure to stop and read the quotes included at the start of each chapter, as they help set the tone for that particular chapter. It's clear that Fox spent a fair amount of time crafting the narrative of the book as he reflected on his adventure from years ago.

 

The roller coaster of emotions that Matt goes on while hitchhiking feels very authentic as he questions why he ever decided to hitchhike in the first place, but then finds some comfort and feels relieved that he took the chance. It's relatable to the ways of life and especially to a young person trying to figure out their path in life.

 

One of his motivations was to see the beauty of Canada he has only ever dreamed of seeing, but what he also finds is the beauty of humanity. Though coming in close contact with the dangerous side of humanity more than once, the majority of the people Matt meets are kindred spirits wanting to show some kindness. Many of the people who pick Matt up quickly ask if he smokes and start to right then and there. This seems like too much of a coincidence, but may just be probable characteristic of the kind of person more likely to give a ride to a stranger.

 

This leads to a warning about this book for younger readers. There are abundant depictions and references to drugs and alcohol that readers should be aware of before reading. This subject matter is not apparent from the synopsis but is throughout the book, and those it is not suitable for should skip this book.

 

That being said, I would recommend this book for those with Wanderlust. The Hitchhiker Man takes readers on a path thousands of kilometers long, and they will revel in the twists and turns of Matt Fox's hitchhiking adventures.

Reviewed by

Sarah is a freelance book reviewer in the Greater Chicago area. She has a lifelong love of reading and learning and believes that books can change lives. Her goal is to work with and help authors bring their writing to a community of readers.

Synopsis

When you’re willing to step outside your comfort zone, the world awaits.
In 2007, Matt Fox—a recent graduate who studied strategic decision-making in university—found himself alone on the side of a highway with no plan other than to see where his thumb and the road would take him. For the next two years, he would travel across Canada to Alaska and back, experiencing life in a way most people never will…a life beyond his comfort zone.
Along the way, he encounters adventures he never imagined—sleeping under the stars, sneaking into drug-fueled music festivals, and working at ski resorts and local farms to earn enough for his next meal. He also confronts danger—and his own mortality—from a life-threatening injury in Whistler, to a confessed murderer in Banff, to a hungry grizzly in Alaska. But most importantly, Fox learns that life isn’t about getting to the destination, but enjoying each moment along the way. From feeling like an invisible outcast on day one to a man comfortable in his own skin no matter the circumstance, The Hitchhiker Man is the unforgettable story of how one man got lost on the road, and ultimately found himself.

THE TIME HAS COME


“Time and effort can get you anything you want in the world. But nothing in the world can get you more time.”



The sound of something breathing deeply woke me up from my sleep. The strange noise provided a quick reminder that I was camping in Denali National Park – six million acres of raw Alaskan wilderness. I held my breath and hoped that whatever was beyond the thin fabric wall would go away.

The tent shook violently. I looked around, but I couldn’t see in the pitch-black night. Then the tent became still again. I could hear the creature’s claws tear the thick Alaskan moss as it circled us. I hoped it wasn’t a grizzly, but I had seen so many that morning there was no doubt that it had to be.

 My friend Heidi was sleeping peacefully beside me, unaware of the dire situation we were in. I couldn’t decide if I should wake her or let her sleep. Then the tent shook again. She had to know. It might be the last time we speak.

I remembered the girl who had given us a ride that morning who had insisted that we got bear spray. She took us to the store to buy some. It was thirty dollars, but I only had fifty to my name, so I left it on the shelf. It seemed like the biggest mistake of my life.

How did I end up in Alaska in the first place? I thought. When only a year before I had been living a normal middle-class life near Toronto. One decision to go hitchhiking had changed the path of my life forever. But I had no regrets for the decisions I had made. I had chosen what I thought was the right path for me and perhaps that path had finally come to its end. I said goodbye to the ones I loved then thanked the universe for the life I had lived before sitting and waiting in silence.

About the author

Matt Fox was born to a middle class family in 1983 near Toronto. He studied Economics at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario. In his first book The Hitchhiker Man he shares his thoughts, emotions and what he learned with each experience he went through. view profile

Published on July 20, 2019

Published by Orange Fox Publishing House

70000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Biographies & Memoirs

Reviewed by

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