What is the purpose of your trip to the USA?

“What is the purpose of your trip to the United States of America? – Business or Pleasure?” Asked the Airport Entry Security Agent. I answered: “Pleasure”.

I was a single woman travelling by myself to Florida in January that year staying with extended family. I answered all questions asked by the Security Officer promptly, honestly and provided appropriate documentation when asked. I can’t deny that I, like most people, are uncomfortable and nervous for NO REASON when trying to enter into the US!! Many people are surprised that I tend to be held up longer at the entry booths to the USA than most people as I guess the assumption is that I’m a nice Caucasian woman? However, easy entry to the US is not the case for me.  The consistent delays that I’ve experienced only add to my dread of going through the quasi-interrogation routine when entering the United States.

I was held up longer on this occasion with many questions asked at the entry booth. It should be noted that I take this process very seriously, every single time – 100%. On this occasion the entry booth guard asked me if I was bringing any food into the US, I paused to think, and automatically responded with honesty and concern: “I have a few loose Skittles in my purse…should I throw them out?…I don’t mind throwing them out.”  He responded that it’s fine to keep the Skittles and with a laugh, said that in fact they’re delicious candies…eventually I was granted the ability to board the plane to Florida for my two week escape from the Toronto winter.

I visited several cities in Florida on that trip and particularly enjoyed a visit to Stuart, Florida. There were beautiful marinas and boats and a really cute downtown pedestrian-friendly artsy quarter. I bought the pictured had made Sake set from a local potter at a reasonable price there– yay! The vacation was amazing – no complaints, until of course my return to the customs agents in Toronto

“What was the purpose of your trip to the United States of America? – Business or Pleasure?” the customs agent asked, “Pleasure”. “You spent $200 on goods that you’re bringing back?” “Yes.” “What did you buy?” “I bought a Sake set annnd, ummmm, a hair crimper thing…well, not a 1980’s hair crimper, a beachy-wave hair crimper…a plug in hot wavy making hair tool :/ 

He responded: “You bought a Sake set in Florida?” “Yes”…Then I was asked to detail where, how much, colour, etc. It was again a long quasi-interrogation as per usual. Slightly perplexted he asked: “Just those two things you bought?” “Yes.” I was granted leave from the customs booth however only after the famous anxiety-producing scribble occurred on the card and then on to the next station where my bag may or may not be inspected!! So, yep travelling is stressful, however, I also I think that if you’re law abiding and honest… it DOESN’T matter, its still stressful!! But worth it? Hopefully.

Feel free to comment below and sign up for email updates. Until next time, take care you Lovely human you! Xo Aly


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