Getting Turned Down by Customs & Putting my American Dream Time on Hold
So… This happened.
I guess I’m a criminal now.
I tend to say that bad choices make good stories, but sometimes they make bad stories too.
I should have sensed it, when I dreamed of sleeping in jail 3 days ago.
When I didn’t receive my flight ticket.
When my cameras and computer got stolen.
When my card didn’t process the payment for the LA conference six times. Signs?
So What happened?
Well. During my last trip to LA, I miscalculated the length of my visa and overstayed of one day.
This means that I’m now forever forbidden to travel to America on a waiver.
I can still apply for a visa (approval not guaranteed, at the embassy’s discretion) but I’ll be pulled to a room for hours each time, interviewed and at risk of still being politely declined every single time I’d enter the country.
That’s what happened last night.
I got pulled aside at LAX airport.
I had to give my phone’s password at customs and taken to a room for an in-depth interview after 10 hours wait of observing a parade of cops exiting the office with a fake cut throat or a bee costume on, wishing us a Happy Halloween.
I got threatened to never be allowed on the territory again should I lie (“We know what you did” with the desk lamp dazzling at me kinda conversation).
Eventually, I had to admit receiving $30 in exchanged for organizing an event, and some drug intake… Whoops. Which will be on my file forever.
In any case, there’s always a bright side of things… I talk about breaking points all day long and how pain turns into beauty.
While seated in front of the TV with shows on, and a selection of sugary snacks (which, for some, might sound like the perfect definition of a Saturday night), I had the chance to put into practice one of my recent learnings from my meditation retreat, and practice gratitude.
“I’m safe, I’m not going to jail, I didn’t have to get naked and ass-searched like I thought I would when the cop put her gloves on”, said I to myself.
Replaying in my head what I had learnt from the show Making a Murderer.
I also practiced “non-attachment” with my custody-girlfriend, between sequences where we’d simply break down, due to our lack of food, 2 sleepless nights and inability to make any digital contact with the outer world.
Concretely, “all” I lost was time, attendance to an insane conference, time spent with the friends I loved and huge networking opportunities. Life pleasures that I can come to experience in the future with the help of a good lawyer.
It still feels like shit when such things happen, but I was able to step back up on my feet, laugh about it, and here I am, reassessing my action steps on my flight back to France.
No point looking back.
I still ADORE LA and I WILL come back sooner than you know, but I gotta accept that I’m not welcome there. I’m seen as a potential threat to security so I might as well lay low for a hot second, especially now during the elections.
The highlight of that adventure was definitely me being escorted by two policemen through the secured hallways, slaloming between the planes taking off in an armored truck and walking up to my plane in front of everyone staring at me like either a badass or a weirdo (which was pretty hilarious as I was walking around with no shoelace, pant-lace & a “LOVE” pullover).
At least I got a horror story to tell, on that Halloween night.
Hope you guys had a better one :).