The USA has always been a place I wanted to see and explore myself, being such a pop culture fan. So, the hubs and I decided it was time to pack our bags and escape the beginning of the Aussie winter. After a whole lot of planning, we began our adventure bravely. The itinerary was nothing short of adventurous and challenging since it comprised of eight cities, two countries and a month to visit it all. Here’s the short version of a story about the journey of our lifetime I hope you enjoy it.
New York For Dummies
We have landed on a Thursday evening, and I remember a distinct smell that would carry to follow us throughout the trip. John calls it the smell of America, I just think it was bleach to be perfectly honest.
As a newbie to NYC, I was surprised how the city makes you feel a part of itself, not that it’s very welcoming, but it’s like everybody’s playground, and I felt just as much as a New Yorker equally as the person standing next to me.
John is a regular on Manhattan, so he was my guide, and I followed him everywhere like a little pup.
We were on our feet for 12 hours a day, went out every night and walked all day every day. It’s hard to even begin telling a tale about a city with so much beauty, a city that consumes you every second, makes you want more, chews and spits you out, and still takes care of you like none other. So let’s stop here and I’ll let you explore it yourself, when you get the chance.
Next Stop – Orlando
I know what you are thinking… but we went there for one reason and one reason only – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at the Universal Studios. It was on my must bucket list, so we had a bit of a detour to Florida. Thankfully we had a great payment deal with Travel Pay and that allowed us to visit a couple of more places, and Orlando was one of them. As the biggest Harry Potter fan in the southern hemisphere, it was an absolute must. There, we spent two whole days in both parks – The Diagon alley, and the Hogsmeade, waved our wands and listened to the music from the movies that made the whole experience incredibly real. The third day, we visited Cape Kennedy Space centre so John could live out his boyhood dream as well.
Our Favourite – Austin
Austin blew us away! The music, the beer, the people, THE BARBEQUE. I mean come on. I remember having the least pictures from Austin because we forgot to take them. That’s how much fun we had. We waited the 2.5 hour line for the Franklin BBQ and it was worth not only that but the whole Austin visit. The surprising thing is that Austin is not at all Texan. At least not what people assume Texas would be like. Which is both good and bad. The only Texas relatable experiences were that everyone does drive a pickup and, hear this, on every bar or restaurant there is a sign that says – “Please conceal your weapon before entering the premises”. How awesome is that?
Visiting Family In San Francisco
Oh the life in the City… We were greeted by my uncle who has lived there for a couple of decades, and he managed to show us around in his Prius (insert a beautiful cliché here!) so we have finally rested our swollen feet for one day. What I didn’t realize – San Francisco is coooold. And foggy almost all the time. We had the best experience walking on the Baker beach and taking photos of the glorious bridge. The City has a lot to offer, and if you’ve watched the show Silicon Valley, it pretty much sums up the lifestyle in the Bay Area. Anything is possible, it’s the world of startups and amazing ideas. Uh and don’t get me started on the competition. We loved it!
San Diego And Baby Seals
The most amazing thing about our visit was a small place near San Diego called La Jolla. It has a huge beach and steep cliffs with amazing hiking trails. A lot of surfer dudes from all over California come here to chill and ride the waves. There are countless seals at the beach and in the bay and I loved watching them play and yell at each other.
No More Parties In LA
We have a crazy friend in LA, so obviously we wanted to visit him. Let me tell you – you’ve been to Venice Beach. Explanation – we have all seen it in so many movies it felt like we’ve already been there. But all jokes aside it’s AMAZING, I loved how deep the beach was and how many different people, mascots, performers and just plain weirdos were strolling around. After a gig at a local bar (where we randomly listened to Billy Idols guitar player) we drove in a black, old school Mustang cabrio on the Sunset boulevard and it was one of the most amazing things I’ve experienced. The wind in my hair and 80s music on the radio. What a beautiful cliché.
We’ve only been there for one afternoon – got stuck at the walk through border on the way back and were pretty scared for our lives. But the rest of the story is amazing. Tijuana is basically an extension of San Diego but it’s nothing like it. It was incredible to see the cultural shift, especially since we went straight to the market. The diversity of fruit and veggies is amazing, and we had to try some local delicacies such as quesadilla con huitlacoche (blue corn tortilla with an infected corn filling, yum) and grasshoppers with guacamole of course.
Vegas is amazing. It’s so kitsch that it went the whole circle and is actually pretty awesome. For us, that meant tanning at the pool and gambling small amounts of money at night. The most amazing thing we saw was the demolition of an old hotel at the end of the Strip, at 2:30am after a rooftop party. Rock and roll!
This was a glimpse into our trip of a lifetime and I hope it inspired you to go and visit the diverse US yourself and embrace the different parts and lifestyles it has to offer.