The all-Canada edition of the mailbag

     Greetings from California! This is a short mailbag since I believe everyone wishes I wrote less. First, thank you to Graydon (a Canadian!) for this guess-that-toilet game, The Crapper Mapper, and thank you to Lisa (from Canada’s neighbor!) for this guess-that-language game, The Great Language Game. Let’s get to it:
From Phill in location unknown but it could be Canada:
     You are who I one day very soon hope to be.

     I don’t know, man, be careful what you wish for—but thanks.

frozen tevas

     The dark side of traveling: freezing (for 18 hours minimum) is the only way to get the smell out of Teva sandals.

From Name Hidden in India:
     Dear Mr. Kent,
     At the outset I owe you an apology for addressing this mail and I have fervent hope that you will not mistake me for this liberty. I have gone through your web site, really it is interesting with full of information. So I think you are the proper person to take some advice to travel without a visa and other procedures.
     I introduce myself as ______ from India. I am an educated male, of ___ years. I am interested to relocate myself in USA. I have no friend or any family member in USA who can guide me in USA. Moreover it is almost impossible to get a official visitor/ Tourist visa of USA from India especially after 9/11. The tour agent of India is asking a very big amount to manage a USA visa and for preparing bank balance/ property documents needed for visa procedure. Many tour agents in India are fraud and full of scam.
     Looking to all legal hurdles of immigration rules and regulations, I am thinking to cross the border of USA from Canada without any visa. The Mexico border towards USA is like to travel in a death train; there is no safety of life. So the Canadian border is much safer to cross. I request you please give me proper advice and guidance to cross Canada border to enter USA without visa, I have Indian legal passport, but only passport is not sufficient to enter USA for an Indian. Many documents are needed to satisfy immigration officer at border point, which are practically not possible. Please guide me how can I cross the Canadian Border to enter USA by avoiding eagle eyes of immigration officer. I assure you all confidentiality and safe correspondences of your reply. I can manage a tourist visa for Canada from India to reach at Border point to cross over to USA.
     I am writing this mail with a frank and open mind, hope you will not feel bad and uneasy to handle an illegal matter. Thank you.
     I will appreciate if I get a good and positive suggestion from a person like you who is a master in tour and travel.

     Hi, that is a good question, I really don’t know how to do such a thing, and there are risks if you get caught. You will also spend quite a bit of money trying! I’m sorry, I don’t know what else to advise.
His response to my weak answer:
     Dear Mr. Ken
     Thank you for reply. Really it makes me glad that you have replied my bad question. I appreciate you for your kind gesture. I know there are many risks and also money is a big issue, but I have noticed many Indian as well as Mexican has successfully crossed the border in past. As the USA VISA process is a very rough and tuff matter for an Indian like me, I have no option but to think to take a bad route to cross the border. Moreover I have nobody to help and guide. Life is a game; I have to play the game for a good future by doing hard work with honesty and sincerely.
     Don’t worry, I am not a bad person or a terrorist, I am an educated person, working as a Manager in a company in India. I have earnest desire to arrive in USA, for a good future and a secure life but there are many immigration rules and regulation hurdles that compel me to take a bad idea to cross the border. I am planning to come to Canada, and cross the border to enter USA, and I am looking if anybody can give me some idea for easy cross to USA without any legal issue. If I arrested by immigration officer, than my life game will be ended for ever, as I have no sufficient money to save myself of legal litigation.
     I just write you with open and frank mind, as I find you as a gentle, kind person with lot of travel experiences. Anyway if you have any thing or information that you think useful to me, you can write to me. I assure you all safety and confidentiality of correspondences. If any of your friend or anybody of your group circle can guide me to cross the border in to USA, can write me. Total safety and confidentiality assured. I need at least first hand information before I reach to an unknown border.
     Once again thank you for your reply. Write to me anytime without any hesitation. You are not going to loose anything, but definitely you will get a gentle response.

paris airport


From Name Hidden in location unknown:
     I just stepped on your blog and I gotta tell I like what you’ve been doing!
Next vacation me and my best friend are gonna leave for a trip around States – no money, no car – just a backpack on. Hitchiking, walking, by any means possible πŸ™‚
     I have a couple questions for you, as you seem to have a lot of experience about it!
     1. For sure that’s two of us guys going (we’re 19) but there’s a third guy who’d love to go. But a lot of people tell me that hitching in 3 is too big of a group for somebody to pick us up. I also predict that 3 of us would be more fun, safer etc. I just don’t want to ruin the whole trip, not getting any rides… What would you do if you were me?
     2. I heard that in the places that we’re gonna be visiting (like Alaska, Rockies, wild Canada) there’s a lot of wild animals. My friend suggested taking a shotgun for self-defense against those bears etc. Is it advisable? Can we even legally carry around such a shotgun in the backpack? I thought that a little handgun would be more sensible to take. But then I’m not sure can we even hitchhike possessing a weapon? I don’t really want to, because it’s heavy and you can’t carry in the cities mostly
     3. What if a cop stops us and wants to shake us down for hitching? How would you react? I know there’s two (?) states where it’s illegal but overall what should we do? Does having a handgun (legally) in this situation may change anything?

     Hi, I don’t think a cop will shake you down in the north because you are a young foreigner, but they may strongly warn you about hitching or safety or something like that.
     Three people hitching is a bad idea–even two guys will be extremely difficult–but you never know until you try, so don’t necessarily listen to me. I had a hard time hitchhiking in British Columbia last year, but this guy is doing it now. rideshare can be a good alternative.
     I think a gun is a very bad idea and you are one small mistake from spending the rest of your life in an American jail, which isn’t very fun. I know USA sounds like a gun-crazed nation—and it is—but we do have strict laws and Canada’s must be even stricter. I doubt you would ever need a gun against wild animals because I doubt you would ever be in such a survivalist situation (you aren’t going to go Alexander Supertramp on the world, are you?)
     If you will write about what you do in a blog, let me know.
His response to my weak answer:
     Thanks for such a quick response!
     I wouldn’t even consider carrying a firearm illegaly, I know that’s a legal suicide! So what if a have an firearms owner’s ID card and know the specific state laws? Does that change anything or would you still advise not doing that? You know, a white guy, in the bushes – for me that wouldn’t sound like a criminal or a bank robber, but I’m concerned about hitchhiking with a gun itself. Because I don’t want a cop to say “you have a gun, you can’t hitchhike” or something like that.
     We’ll probably spend a lot of time in the real wilderness, as northern Canada has a low population density and not a lot of cities there, so just want to be prepared for every kind of situation that we might face. We’ll be probably fishing, I also wanna do some hunting – just taking a step back from everyday life. We don’t plan to risk our lives strenuously but just wanna be really safe and prepared. So, aside from hitchhiking, that’ll be a hiking/taking a step off from a beaten path journey.
     And, as to your question about Alexander Supertramp – I’m not gonna burn my documents, passports, throw out belongings, and try to spend the rest of my life in the bushes πŸ™‚ I want to come back with a good sense of real-life knowledge and experience. It’s all about self-actualization for me. I already got over the “adventure” part in my head (because we have no chance to predict what’s gonna happen, although I’m pretty sure it’ll be fun)
     I’m concentrating more on the self actualization and the inner experience of such a trip. Meeting people, somehow different they are, retrieving the hope in them. When have just your backpack on and nothing else to rely on you start figuring out various ways to get yourself ahead. Us filming is just an addition to every other aspect, if it’ll be no good for publishing, we can still have it for our grandkids at least πŸ™‚

     Thank you to everyone who wrote! I like getting messages from anyone about anything, and if I use your email in a mailbag I will either redact your name and personal info or I will ask you first for permission before I give a gentle response, so don’t worry.
tofu cat

     Panko-fried tofu with my parents’ cat. How can I get the egg to stick better to the tofu so more crumbs adhere? It’s one of life’s great mysteries.

     Why don’t you stay with me? You can follow along with RSS, subscribe to an email feed, see what’s cooking on Facebook, pray that I’ll say something worth remembering on Twitter and if you are really slumming it, there’s always Google+.

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The all-Canada edition of the mailbag — 8 Comments

  1. Just FYI, I am almost certain you can’t carry a gun (of any kind) from the US through Canada. There is no way to get to AK from the lower 48 by road without going through Canada. You can take an unloaded gun in your checked bag if you want to fly. Another option would be the ferry, but not sure of the gun rules there.

  2. Hi Kent,
    To get the panko breadcrumbs to stick better to tofu dip in egg then either cornflour or the japanese use rice flour. That will solve your problem.

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