Canada Part 3 – The American Detour

And so the day arrived, the day I jumped in a car with a total stranger. I will admit in hindsight that this was a dangerous move, but I took all the precautions necessary to ensure that if I was raped, murdered and or thrown in a ditch at least my culprit would be caught.

I’m really sorry to show immediate distrust of you and your intentions Julien, but I’m just gonna take a quick photo of your car and the license plate before we set off. It’s for my mum. Yes, I know I’m a full grown adult but she will worry…

We were off. Just the thrill of a new adventure had my heart racing. The big destinations were the Niagara Falls and Yellowstone but admittedly, everywhere we went I loved. From the big cities to the National Park, I devoured the experience of these places like I was starving. Originally we had not intended on stopping in Denver, but Julien had friends he wanted to visit and I was happy to take the detour. My highlights included:

  1. Seeing double rainbows at Niagara Falls without any crowds.
  2. Eating a Deep Dish Pizza in Chicago, because… pizza!
  3. Meeting a whole bunch of awesome Couchsurfers and joining Couchsurfing.
  4. Listening to country music on the radio, the real soundtrack of an American road trip.
  5. Hiking with ALL the dogs in Colorado.
  6. Snowmobiling in Yellowstone.

The disappointment of our adventure came from being on the road and Julien obviously felt the same. We just didn’t connect and despite a mutual love for travel, Julien and I had little in common. It could’ve started as a language barrier. Perhaps I didn’t get his humour or he didn’t get mine. But any attempts at friendship ceased the moment he yelled at me on the streets of Chicago and stormed off as I attempted to work out the bus system. In all fairness he didn’t want to waste time whilst we were in the city whereas I was winging it with a rough idea of what I would like to see. That’s pretty much how I do everything though. Let’s be realistic, I jumped in his car on a whim, was he really expecting me to have my shit together?

The real problem arose because I never feel like shouting is a necessity to making a point and I lost a lot of respect for him in that moment. Shouting is merely a scare tactic used to gain a level of control over another person and to assert your authority within a situation. Is it Julien’s fault that I feel so strongly about this? No. Does he know what happened to me in Croatia? No. But nonetheless I wanted as much distance between us as possible. What happened to me doesn’t excuse the distance I put between myself and Julien but hopefully it helps to explain it. I should’ve been more honest with myself and with him about how I felt but I didn’t want to anger him further. So regretfully I remained silent. Had I told him about how I felt he may have approached the last disagreement with a different tone, instead it went in a very similar fashion. I bailed on the road trip at Calgary. Not for my safety, but for my sanity.

Things I learnt on the road:

  1. America has a lot of flags…
  2. If it ain’t country or christian it ain’t on the radio.
  3. Being a healthy vegetarian is nearly impossible and you will message your mum at least once to ask if Cheetos are even vegetarian – the answer is yes but not the spicy kind.
  4. Absolutely nothing beats the feeling of being clean.
  5. You can learn something from everyone you meet.
  6. Be kind, have fun and even when faced with the prospect of staying in a stinky, stain ridden motel, just keep smiling.
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