And you say he’s just a friend

About a month ago, my dream scenario became a reality: I had no job, no rent to pay and some money in the bank. I realised this would never happen to me again, so I booked a month-long trip to Canada. Of course.

I decided, having done the solo backpacking thing last year (and written a book about it, which is currently gathering dust in my macbook docs folder), that I wanted something more organised and more social. As well as something active. After trudging through several yoga retreat websites, hiking holidays and travelling meetup groups, I decided to go with Trek America. The itinerary was perfect: two weeks of hiking, biking, canoeing, swimming and most importantly, toasting marshmallows over a campfire.

I booked the trip two weeks before it was due to start, and almost puked with excitement. This was my dream trip. Canada, the Rockies, campfires, marshmallows. I’d also planned a week after the trip to drive down the coast from Seattle to San Francisco, cos I knew I wouldn’t want to go home straight away.

I’m a very impatient person, so thankfully there wasn’t long to wait before I was hurtling towards Seattle at 35,000ft.

I changed planes in San Francisco, and had to go through the dreaded customs routine. I was ready for anything they could throw at me, passport clamped in sweaty palms. I stepped up to the customs guy:

“What are you coming to the USA for?”

“Holiday. Just a holiday.”

“Ok and how long will you be staying?”

“Three weeks. Three and a half weeks. Well, 24 days.”

“And where will you be staying?”

“I’m staying with a friend in Seattle.”

“What’s your friend’s name?”

Gulp. “Matt. Matt Aldman.”

“And ya’ll are just friends, he’s not a boyfriend? Or maybe he will be?”

“Nope, just friends.”

Sings: “You say he’s just a friend, and you say he’s just a friend…” (Hands me my passport and says “you can go through”)

Continues singing even louder, “Oh baby you! You got what I nee-eed! And you say he’s just a friend…”

I walk off to catch my next flight, chuckling to myself. A good start!