One in particular gave me quite the scare today.
It was much easier to be granted access into Canada than to be granted access back into my own home country.
It took a few minutes of answering questions to get into Canada but almost a complete interrogation session to be granted entry back home.
But first, much respect to the Canadian Border Services Officers that have been super nice to me anytime I visited. Our interactions have been short and sweet.
So as I pulled up to a US Border Patrol Agent to show my passport upon entering the states, I answered some simple questions. But apparently, traveling solo all the way from California to Canada only for a day without a plan, without buying souvenirs, without knowing anyone or meeting up with anyone comes up as suspect.
I just explained it was a little road trip and I wasn’t going to delve into anything spiritual or anything related to that matter because obviously any kind of non practical explanation won’t fly with them, whatsoever.
He kept asking me questions and then said, “Sorry ma’am, but your story doesn’t seem to make any sense. Hold on a moment.”
My stomach dropped and then I said that I didn’t know what else to say. Then he said it was hard for him to accept that I had traveled all this way for just a day without knowing anyone or having some form of “validated reason”.
As I waited, I see cars in other lanes going through wondering if I was going to have to pull over and go through some kind of interrogation session.
He comes back and says something like, “So ma’am, you want me to believe that you drove all the way up here for a day? Why?” I responded by telling him I just traveled 8,000 miles around the US plus over 1,000 miles to Canada for sentimental reasons and I had visited a year ago for the airshow in Abbotsford because I worked with the Canadian parachuting team and while I was here at that time I was curious about Vancouver but never went to visit. I also added that I enjoyed traveling alone.
He then responded by asking me a whole shit load of random questions and then finally the mileage of my vehicle and if I had traveled the whole 9,000 miles in “this thing” referring to my Jeep. I said yes and then he looked back at the computer and mumbled something in his intercom.
Finally, he grabbed my passport and as he handed it back to me he said, “That’s quite impressive, welcome home.”
I thought, wow what a process that was to come back home. Is it really a huge deal for someone to travel alone without any plans or to meet up with someone? It doesn’t matter though because the Border Patrol Agent both scared the shit out of me but in the end also flattered the shit out of me as well!
Photo: The Peace Arch on the Canadian/US border.