“Trust is the most joyous kind of bond with another living being. But isn't it true that whenever we enjoy being with someone, there is [both] a factor of risk there, and also a factor of trust, which gives our enjoyment an edge of rapture?” (Lingis 2004: x). Trust is akin to a permeable border, solid but skin-thin, that makes possible connections between Other and self, self and world. A hitchhiker exercises trust when surrendering to another but, as a prerequisite to a successful journey, also submits to indeterminacies and ambiguities of chance encounters. Trust is openness, but also an acceptance of risk. Whilst on the road, it is impossible to know who you will travel with next. Trust guides and draws lines and dots on the map. Trust determines the length of waiting times at petrol pumps; it regulates feelings of safety; and shapes geographic contours. Trust is an emotion that welcomes becoming. In contrast, a lack of trust impedes the friendship necessary to move the hitchhiker’s body; provokes feelings of danger; and, inevitably, will hamper the fluency of lines on the map. Trust is the fundamental stuff of hitchhiking. But, what is trust? How does it look like, feel like, how is it evoked, and where is it located? Does it have a colour, a gender? Drawing insights from the phenomenological work of Alphonso Lingis and my own personal experiences being-on-the-road, this contribution analyses geographies, feelings and the sensing of trust associated with and experienced in hitchhiking.
Nieuwenhuis, M. (2022). Geographies of Trust: Hitchhiking from Gateshead to Calais. Geohumanities, 8(1), 329-343. https://doi.org/10.1080/2373566x.2021.1990102