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:
- Seeing double rainbows at Niagara Falls without any crowds.
- Eating a Deep Dish Pizza in Chicago, because… pizza!
- Meeting a whole bunch of awesome Couchsurfers and joining Couchsurfing.
- Listening to country music on the radio, the real soundtrack of an American road trip.
- Hiking with ALL the dogs in Colorado.
- 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:
- America has a lot of flags…
- If it ain’t country or christian it ain’t on the radio.
- 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.
- Absolutely nothing beats the feeling of being clean.
- You can learn something from everyone you meet.
- Be kind, have fun and even when faced with the prospect of staying in a stinky, stain ridden motel, just keep smiling.