Hitchhiking vignettes: “I just don’t like to work”

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Brian Tanzman doesn’t like to work so he loads up and gets ready to ride the Alaska Highway out of Otter Falls Cut-Off, Yukon Territory.

“If you don’t want to work, you have to work to earn enough money so that you won’t have to work.” – Ogden Nash

Mild-mannered Brian Tanzman works in San Diego as an auditor the first three months of every year.

Then he puts down his pocket protector and calculator and goes traveling the other nine months. On his current adventure, he’s riding from Anchorage to Glacier National Park, Montana.

He’s been following the same seasonal pattern for 10 years, racking up an impressive list of adventures including kayaking the Mississippi River and walking the Appalachian Trail.

“People in real life think I’m totally crazy but the people I meet on the road think I’m totally normal,” said Tanzman, at Otter Falls Cut-Off, in the Yukon. “Of everyone I meet, I’m going the shortest distance.”

I met him hitchhiking my way from Chicago to Anchorage, to join a carnival. I was at the gas station/restaurant there and saw him with his packs. I’ve ridden my bicycle on three cross-country trips so I was interested in his fully-packed bicycle parked outside.

“I met a couple who are legally blind and they’re bicycling to the tip of South America from here,” he said. “I want to cycle the length of South America. I want to see the Andes. I’m going to have to learn some Spanish first.”

He intends to travel the world on his three month salary for the rest of his life.

Expenses are minimal, he says. He pays for food but camps outside. He pays for a storage locker in San Diego, health insurance, cell phone service and that’s about it.

“I just don’t like to work,” he said. “And I haven’t been eaten by a bear like all the locals said.”

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