Retired professor shares road stories

The driver has spotted you with your thumb out. He passes over the dotted line, making his way toward you. He’s going to stop – but he drives on.

Perhaps it’s not the ideal form of travel, but it’s an adventure for sure. “Adventure… is another word for discomfort,” retired Seton Hall business professor William A. Stoever wrote in his book, “Hitchhike the World: Book I: America, Europe, Africa,” published in January.

In Book I, Stoever invites readers to join in his travels hitchhiking through America, Europe and Africa. In hindsight, Stoever admitted, he did do some foolish things when he was young, but he said his experience has forever changed his perspective of the world.

“I feel like I’ve had a wider exposure to a wider range of society than many people who have come from comfortable middle-class existences,” Stover said.

Stoever has lived what some people could not fathom. For instance, while traveling in East Germany, Stoever was arrested by the secret police: he matched the description of a carjacker they were after.

“I was never really scared,” he said. “I was bored, I was worried… I never curled up in a ball and started crying. I never screamed and pounded my head on the wall. (I was) absolutely at their mercy… This is going to sound strange, but you have to trust them.”

Trust is part of hitchhiking, he said.

Essentially, to get in a car with a stranger, Stoever was very trusting, but Stoever’s trust was not blind.

“I got in with a couple guys one time who were muttering together and I had the impression they were planning to rob a filling station…I would make a very convenient hostage,” Stoever said. “I got out from those guys.”

Although Stoever captured many of his findings on camera, he wrote, “the more I traveled, the less the camera came to mean to me.”

“The pictures don’t really reflect what the trip was all about,” Stoever said.

Michelle Foti can be reached at

Author: Michelle Foti

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