I was on the tail end of a Greyhound backpacking trip around the United States, meeting interesting people and hitching rides when I could. So far, I’d been to the Grand Canyon, spent a few days in Las Vegas, and stopped at various cities along the way. Earlier, I’d caught a taxi to Mount Rushmore.
After fifteen minutes of walking, the city’s business district gave way to rundown restaurants and boarded up windows. The street became narrower, hemmed in on either side by parked cars. Scents turned from tantalizing to putrid. I didn’t pass anyone walking, although clusters of men, speaking Dutch, stood outside of a few bars.
At night, back roads along Nova Scotia’s southern coast are treacherously dark and terrifyingly narrow, especially when fog rolls in off the ocean.
Everything turns inky black.
That’s how it was around 12 a.m. one spring night in 2015, as I sleepily persevered behind the steering wheel toward Murphy’s Camping on the Ocean. Months before, my girlfriend, Brianna, and I had booked the camping destination online while planning a roadtrip through New England and northeastern Canada. We’d only seen vague pictures of pitched tents, ocean water, and campers; we didn’t know what to expect.
As evening sunlight fades, the charming city comes alive with twinkling lights, like those shining on the Smith College sign overlooking Main Street’s historic brick buildings. They also hang in strings above Pulaski Park, watching over couples strolling past, and old friends lounging at outdoor tables.
On the overseas travel front, I went to Mexico and visited with El Rancho Del Rey boys for the third time, traveled through West Sweden for the second time, and experienced Iceland for the first time. In-country, I went to New York a few times, Georgia, Alabama, Cape Cod and Boston.
Infinite possibilities are borne on the wings of time as it ticks past. Unmade decisions; unrealized choices; unsaid words; they are all carried forward on the momentum of the present. Time is impregnated with excitement, adventure, sadness, pain, anger and every other possible human emotion; however, despite the importance of time, most seconds simply pass by unnoticed and disregarded, almost as if they didn’t carry any significance at all.
I hurriedly pack up my camera and tripod, and turn toward the woods to flee for shelter. Suddenly, two figures emerge from out of the gathering dusk. One is slouching heavily against a tree; the other is to his left, hands in pockets and face obscured by night – he takes a step forward. Behind me, is a two hundred foot drop: in front an unknown menace; I prepare for the worst.