2018 Inspiration: My Favorite Rideshares From 2017

I’ve always been interested in conversations with people whose backgrounds are different than my own. These exchanges help us to learn new things and to see issues, others, and sometimes ourselves in different ways.  Maybe you are in the car with your Uber or Lyft driver just a few minutes, or if you have a bad commute like I did, maybe much longer – but either way you have a chance to speak with and learn from interesting people.  It’s worth putting the mobile phone down to help make that happen.


As we start the new year, I’d like to share a few conversations from last year as part of the Rideshare Diaries series. Hopefully these stories inspire you to converse with your drivers this year. If you have experiences that are interesting, meaningful, or amusing feel free to send them my way at neg.dekole@gmail.com.


Working New Years In Washington DC

Date Originally Published: Jan 4, 2017

In this blog post, slightly over one year ago, I recount a ride that my wife and I took just after the New Year in the DC area. Our driver was an incredibly nice guy who talked to us about his experiences working in DC on New Years. He painted some funny pictures on the differences between drunk women and drunk men when it comes to car ride conversations. We got to talking about his country of origin and had an enjoyable conversation.  Check out the full story of our short drive with Jerry, here.


To Thailand And Back

Date Originally Published: April 22, 2017

In Kyiv,  I had a long conversation with one of my drivers due to traffic. My Russian and Ukrainian are not great and he spoke English quite well. He had been practicing quite a bit on top of knowing a few other languages already. In the time we talked, I learned how he came to know so many languages, a bit about his Uber history, and how he developed a tolerance for spicy food while working in Thailand.


Troubles In Cameroon

Date Originally Published: June 9, 2017

I am not rich. At least not yet. But we are not put on this Earth just to live for ourselves.” These words were spoken to me by a Cameroonian driver I met here in Washington DC. Because of my work, and my own curiosities, I knew a bit about the causes of conflict in his country and others in West Africa.  In the case of Cameroon, it involves corruption, lack of political will to invest equally in the French and English speaking portions of the country, and politicians who try to demonize the other side for their own gain.  The driver is still connected to Cameroon, does whatever he can to help friends and family, and I wish the politicians shared his wisdom.  


From Eritrea to Washington DC

Date Originally Published: June 8, 2017

For a small country, the Eritrean diaspora is quite large.  Eritrean men have been fleeing their country for many years to avoid indefinite conscription by their autocratic government.  Eritreans, along with Syrians, Iraqis, and others have been trying to reach Europe for their own safety and better opportunities.  Others emigrated legally to the United States, Canada, and other countries.  My driver had been living and working in the Washington DC area for over ten years now.  He would like to visit Eritrea again but refuses to do so until the country has a democratic government that respect human rights.


Those were a few of the interesting conversations from last year.  I hope they inspire you to have some of your own.  When you do,  please share them with me on my Rideshare Diaries site at BryanSchaaf.org.