Hello and welcome to episode three of the series ‘This One Time…’ If you’re unfamiliar with the series, every week a new travel related story will be posted either by me or a guest. In episode one I told the story of a time in Yosemite National Park when I almost had an encounter with a bear. This weeks story is all about This One Time in San Francisco when I had a very confusing room mate in my hostel. If you would like to keep up to date with this series then make sure to subscribe to my blog and if you would like to write for this series then be sure to email me at contact@earthtoconnie.com I welcome anyone with an interesting travel story to tell!

It was my last night in the United States, after three months of travelling and working on a Girl Scouts summer camp. The whole experience was more than anything I could’ve dreamed off. Being a lifeguard, tanning in the sun all day, was one of the greatest Jobs I had ever had. To top it all off, road tripping round California, Arizona and Nevada was phenomenal. A real dream come true.

But with everything in life, it was exhausting. The last couple of days I spent in San Francisco, I felt as if I was just waiting for my flight home. Of course, I saw the sights, spied on some sea lions at pier 39, but I was longing for that moment at Heathrow where I could just run into my mums arms. I was staying in a hostel close to Union Square. In a female dorm room, it was just me and this other girl, and for the most part something about this girl felt off to me. She never left the room, not once.

We avoided speaking, and she always preferred the lights off. So when I was escaping the lair at 7am I quite literally got dressed in the dark. I could feel her beady eyes upon me when her alarm startled me each morning. Was she judging me for waking up? I guess it’s safe to assume that this girl really

intimidated me. I kept my self to myself because I found I was quite weary of her. Not in the way that I felt unsafe, in the way that I felt awkward.

Anyway, I was only in San Fran for five days. The whole experience was bearable until 5 hours before my scheduled departure. Never had I ever felt my heart stop until that moment. Never had I ever felt real fear before. More importantly, never have I ever been so lost for words that I just ran. Ran to the bathroom, ran to reception, ran back to England…

When I had arrived that evening to my surprise she wasn’t in my room and her bag was sprawled open on her bed as if she had been packing to leave. I thought, this is great, my own private room for the last night of my travels. I could sleep for an extra hour knowing that her alarm and piercing eyes would not disturb me. I don’t remember much else, I think I fell asleep still in my clothes, no cover over me. All I can recall is the disorientation and possible hallucination that beheld me when I next awoke.

In early September, the heat was still unbearable. Your clothes clung to your skin and there’s almost no comfortable position to sleep in. The hostel’s air con was merely a fan that blew out warm air and I couldn’t remember how much water I had drunk the day before. When I awoke it was the middle of the night. My eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness and I noticed that the bed next to me was empty. Not a single item of clothing left in sight. She must’ve left.

I closed my eyes for a second and in the next, slowly from the floor she rose. She had been sleeping on the floor next to me and as she rose I gasped. In slow motion she turned her head and those beady eyes stared right into my soul. I jumped up onto my bed and shrieked. Somehow, she managed to lie back to sleep – if my shriek didn’t manage to wake her up I’m not sure what would’ve. I had bigger concerns, as I jumped upright I had forgotten that I was asleep on a bottom bunk. I swear I almost gave me concussion, but thank god for that because that was the only way I managed to fall back to sleep.

It doesn’t sound like much but picture this. You’re still half asleep and the moment you open your eyes there is just a face directly in front of you! Staring directly into your eyes – that’s enough to send anyone home on an early flight.

The strangest part of this whole experience was the fact that when I awoke, she and her bags were no where to be seen. Did I hallucinate her last night? Was she even a guest at all? I guess I’ve learned one thing from this whole experience. Drink your water! Being dehydrated can do funny things to the brain…

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