SF DAY 0 – Brussels – London – San Francisco

I’m gonna give you the short version, because this shit is BORING.

Girl wakes up at 5am to take plane to the city of her dreams. Plane is delayed. 30 minutes. 40 minutes. One hour and forty minutes. A forty minute flight feels hours-long. When girl gets to London to catch her connecting flight, the plane already took off.

Then it’s a labyrinth of desks, lifts, shuttles, border controls and boarding passes. A chatty, amazing guy finds me a flight out in the next hour. Gorgeous, well-endowed, smart, amazing guy. Probably married to a supermodel. I will name all of my children after him: airport dude.

Some more running. Everyone in this airport is so polite and helpful. I love the Brits, they saved my trip. The flight is like any long-distance flight: excruciating. But the entertainment ain’t half bad. Handmaid’s Tale, Spiderman: Homecoming, Baby Driver, yes, thank you.

A wonderful thing about the Brits: they sell electric kettles with travel items in airports.

In the plane, three glasses of wine in:

I am scared. I’ve been scared.

1 – Because I’m doing this alone. I am on my own, I have to be careful. And restrained. What if something happens?

2 – Because I’m bringing myself on this trip. My fucked-up, shy self who’s afraid to talk to people and can’t even stand up for anything. How is that girl gonna fare in the US of A? I can’t escape who I am.

The guy at border control was rude as hell. What’s it to you if I have a lot of Thai and Cambodian visas? Why do you care what I do for a living? Why wouldn’t I want to stay 13 days in the same fucking city? So what if I just wanna walk around? I know he was supposed to ask these questions, but seriously, bro. It is 5am in my country. I’ve been queuing for 45 minutes. Give me a fucking break.

My bag didn’t make it. So, that’s an adjustment.

I had planned to take a cab, seen as I got here much later than I anticipated, but since I’m going to have to buy stuff like a toothbrush and shit, I’ll save some money and take the BART train… I utterly ridicule myself failing to locate the thing to slip the ticket into. The city is a dark mass around the train, suggested by feeble road lights. City of stars, are you shining just for me?

I get off at Civic Center. It’s not too cold, which is great because I’ve only got the clothes on my back. Instead of doing the sensible thing and taking what the guide deems “safer” streets, I forge on through Larkin, smack dab in the middle of Tenderloin. In a city I don’t know, in the dark, alone, with all my possessions and 300$ in a nylon backpack. Hey mom and dad, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry? Clumps of homeless people at every street corner… and not one of them is anything other than polite, asking for a bit of cash. Take that, classist guide.

At the hostel, finally, I sink into my bed like it’s made of quicksand.

So, this is it. Here I am. Signed, sealed, delivered. Without clothes or a toothbrush or my glasses. It’s fine. Listen, it’s fine. This is what I wanted, right?

Adventure. Danger. Cojones.

Me against the city.