The extremely frugal traveler still has the old standbys of riding the rails or hitchhiking, although the first is illegal, and both are dismissed today as unconscionably dangerous. They used to be staples of rural life, though, and most country folk remember when young people casually hitched a ride to the farm or the next town. People still hitch in Ireland, where communities are stronger and people are less fearful, and I suspect the attitudes feed on themselves – when everyone is too frightened to hitch or pick up hitchers, the custom is abandoned by everyone but the genuinely frightening.
The same could be said of many of these options; they have become
less popular because they require people to give up the normal and
convenient, to mingle with many different types of people, to exercise
patience, to accept uncertainty. They make us engage with the landscape
and travel through it. They exercise muscles, in body and mind, that our
forebears knew well, and that we forgot we had.
-- from my latest article in Grit. Read the whole thing.