March 11, 2014 by Caroline Leland
Climbing into Strangers’ Vans
What kind of shoes do pedophiles wear?
Good thing that stranger’s van I climbed into this weekend was green…
(Not as sketchy as it sounds — read on to find out why)
BlaBlaCar is a ride-sharing system popular in Europe, where individuals create profiles on the BlaBlaCar website and post about road trips. Anyone who needs a ride somewhere can search by destination and date, and the website lets you message them to work out a meeting place and price. Passengers pay drivers a reasonable amount, usually less than what a bus or train would cost. Everyone benefits because the driver gets company on his or her drive, as well as makes a small profit, and the passengers benefit from a cheap, convenient and comfortable way of traveling. Brooke and I used this system for our weekend trip to Valencia and for our ride home from Barcelona. I was nervous to use it on my own, but the website has a strong accountability system, requiring users to register valid email addresses and cell phone numbers, as well as upload pictures and personal information — and everyone posts comments and ratings of the people they meet using the system.
Every time I’ve done this, the drivers and passengers alike are always friendly and kind, plus it’s an awesome opportunity to meet locals and practice Spanish! It was even more fun alone, because I was under more pressure to speak Spanish (rather than talking to Brooke in English or letting her speak for me). I gave the driver a favorable review, and he gave me a five-star rating too!!! He said:
Ha sido muy agradable viajar con Caroline, súper puntual y buena compañía, espero que volvamos a compartir viaje. Saludos!
Which means: It was great to travel with Caroline, she’s super punctual and good company, I hope we continue to share journeys.
I am a five-star traveling companion YAY!