Although I am a fan of structures and schedules, my life never seems to go according to plan; I always end up organizing things last minute or losing my to-do list somewhere along the way.
Just as I was slowly starting to appreciate the unexpectedness of life, a girl I met at the Rockies invited me along for a trip to San Francisco.
And since I am looking for as many adventures as possible while spending time on this side of the world, I quickly accepted.
Before I knew it, I was on a plane to the city I had wanted to visit since I was 10, flipping through some tourist guides with one eye only, too busy gazing at the Grand Canyon beneath me (we booked a cheap flight which took us from Seattle to Pheonix to San Francisco).
As we made our way through the airport, I remember mumbling to my Chilean travelling companion, Betsy, I hoped our luggage hadn't got lost.
The laughter it provoked soon disappeared when it turned out both our suitcases had been loaded onto the wrong transfer flight, sending them all the way to Austin, Texas.
It was dark already, we were tired and hungry, but ended up spending our first night in San Francisco shopping for underwear and sleeping in our jeans. I usually carry around a spare set of clothing just in case, but I guess that is what you get the one time you forget.
Nevertheless, minus that slight bump in the road, we had a terrific stay in the fascinating metropolis by the Bay.
We dove into some true American history by taking a ferry ride to Alcatraz, one of the world's most legendary prisons.
Back ashore, we explored Fisherman's Wharf and treated ourselves to some budget-friendly fish and chips.
We took a train ride out to the prestigious UC Berkeley, where our personal guide, Betsy's college friend, toured us around the campus.
Watching students toting their books and backpacks left me somewhat nostalgic over my own student life, although the thought of stressful finals quickly made me grateful those days are over.
And then there was Muir Woods, the famous national monument filled with giant redwood trees.
Long before a trip to San Francisco was on the calendar, I had read an article recommending the 10 most beautiful places in the world, including this natural source of beauty.
While surrounded by nothing but quiet and impressive redwoods, I once again realized the most beautiful things have nothing to do with mankind, since they are merely gifts from Mother Nature.
Of course we enjoyed many more of San Francisco's highlights; we spotted Victorian houses, rode a cable car and strolled around in Sausalito.
But the climax of our trip was walking across the Golden Gate Bridge, which felt like fulfilling my childhood dream. The perfect sunny weather plus my perfect happiness equalled a perfect day.
But time flies when you are having fun; four days passed by at a dazzling pace. I took home pleasant memories of fascinating places, a camera loaded with pretty pictures - and a wonderful new friend.
Betsy and I went from having seen each other just once before to spending 24 hours a day for four days in each other's company, and it all worked out well.
We walked for hours, kept ourselves busy soaking up a bunch of different impressions and slept like roses every night due to exhaustion.
But at the same time, while breathing in the San Francisco air, I had not been as relaxed in ages, since travelling without a strict schedule felt liberating.
I hope North America has more of such adventurous experiences in store for me, but for now: thank you San Francisco - I might be used to a small Belgian town, but I loved life in your big city.
Anne is from Belgium, completing an internship with the Richmond News.
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