Obviously, I couldn’t get the Pacific Crest Trail off my mind just like that. After my visa application got rejected I decided to do research. Clearly, and I must confess here with red cheeks, I wasn’t prepared for the interview at all. I totally underestimated the importance, thought it was just a formality, answering a few questions and voila, done, visa in the pocket. Boy was I wrong. The United States of America holds every visa applicant for a potential immigrant. So I had to prove their wrong and my right.
I thought immigrants were desperate Cubans and Mexicans, floating on a raft in the ocean, making their way to the land of milk and honey.
So this potential immigrant decided to apply again. And pay the fee of $200 again. And going over a lot of effort this time. I started to assemble all the documents that were necessary to prove my (economic) bonds with the Netherlands. First, I met Apple Pie, a Dutch woman who lives in the US but happened to be in the Netherlands for family matters, and thru-hiked the PCT a few years back. She wanted to help me by giving me tips for the interview. I got help from another Dutch friend who lives in the US, who works as a lawyer, consultant and politician and who supported me with providing feedback on the documents.
On the day of the interview I was well prepared, on time and nicely dressed. I had signed recommendation letters of all my clients with me, stating they expected me back in October, brought bank statements, an excerpt of the Chamber of Commerce, a house certificate, itinerary, budget and a very detailed re-supply strategy plan for the PCT. They were not in the least interested in any of the documents I had with me and within 90 seconds I was standing outside again. An empty passport in my hands.
My dream got stuck, somewhere between the gutter and the stars.