Thursday, 15 November 2012

Krystal Wade's "Wildest Moments" blogfest

Krystal Wade is hosting the "Wildest Moments" blogfest from November 12th to November 23rd, in celebration of the release of her novel WILDE'S MEADOW (released on November 5th! Congrats Krystal!!).

Prizes are a Kindle Fire (!), Kindle skins or a $15.00 Amazon gift card. In short, this is a pretty cool contest. But more than that, the blogfest itself is a really cool idea, so I had to join!

What are the requirements of this blogfest?

"All you have to do is blog about a time you did something wild, something life changing. Jumped from a perfectly good airplane? Quit your job to write full time? I’m looking for fun, heart-pumping, or inspirational stories that you have experienced. “Wilde” things you’ve completed on your quest to grow up or move on." - Krystal Wade

San Francisco, 1998

My story is about the night 17-year-old me slept in a homeless shelter in San Francisco. The story does involve some mouldy cheese, but I'll leave that part for another time. ;) Back in 1998 I was travelling the world with my Dad, and on this particular day we arrived on the outskirts of San Francisco near sundown. We used some of our last dollars to get a train downtown, and went to the police station to find out about shelters we could stay in. The first one couldn't accept us due to my age, but they did advise us on how to get into another shelter nearby:

"You need to tell them you've had a drink today. Just make sure you say that."

At this second shelter, the manager sat us down and asked a series of questions, which I shall now paraphrase (along with my answers):

Q: So, what are you addicted to?
A: Um...nothing.
Q: Well, what are you doing here?
A: I've had a drink today
(pretty sure this wasn't true as we couldn't afford a drink that day!)  
Q: Well, I can't just let you stay here if you're not addicted to anything...

Eventually, the guy did begrudgingly let us stay the night. And what a thrilling night that was for me, sleeping on a paper-thin mattress next to some poor woman hacking up her lungs, and listening to the shouts of folks out on the street who sounded in danger of killing each other. But it sure did make me appreciate my own life a lot more. At least, the life I led when not travelling with Dad.

The next morning, we had a family wedding to attend. It was a fair way from where we'd spent the night, and we got part of the way there by bus, but wound up at the bottom of a very large hill when we needed to be at the top. This was when I did my last bit of hitch-hiking for 1998, when a very kind stranger picked us up and drove us all the way to the wedding venue. Here is an excerpt of an email I sent home to my mother after all this had gone down:

-only just made it to <cousin's> wedding, arrived in a Jag with a guy who picked us up hitching, who tooted the horn in front of the guests and then, as a joke, got out and opened our door for us—a very nice man!

It was particularly amusing to have this well-dressed, spiffy-looking guy pretend to be our chauffeur when we were looking so incredibly scruffy. Oh, and as a nice ending to this particular story, our very generous relatives put us up in the Radisson that night.


  1. Funny story, but only cause you arrived safe. A night in a shelter and then to attend a wedding. Awesome moment!

  2. loved the story...gonna have to check out the blogfest!

  3. Sounds like your travels were very eventful! When I was 21, I spent the night on a beach in Australia, and pretty much narrowly escaped being raped. My time down under was very pleasant apart from that, though!

  4. Those early travel stories are always the most fun. Loved reading yours.

  5. Wow. That's a memorable night! I love the jag driver part. So funny!

  6. Sounds like a wild and crazy trip!

  7. Oh.My.Gosh! JAG Guy sounded wonderful! Shelter people? So sad.

  8. Such an awesome story! Seriously, what a great adventure. Scary as heck, probably. But great! :-D

    1. A little bit scary, yeah, but at least I was with my dad. :) I did miss my mummy a lot that night though. haha

  9. Wow! That is a wild night and story!

  10. What a great story -- and such an extreme contrast between the shelter and the guy in the Jag. You should submit it for publication. Seriously.

    1. Well, I've considered writing up the story of the whole thing as a travel memoir, but the one year I tried to write it as a NaNo project I ran out of steam. Still, it's something I've still got in the back of my head. :)


Thanks for your words, me hearties! and don't forget to leave a link to your blog somewhere I can find it!