Saturday, 23 April 2016

Two weeks to go

I'm now two weeks away from my trip to New York and the USA and the reality of it all is now very much dawning on me. I keep wandering around in a state of shock, unable to believe that I'm actually going and it's only round the corner. I finally bought some dollars this week as the exchange rate hit $1.44 and that made it seem even more real. I still have more to get but that doesn't change the fact that this is a huge deal for me.

I know transatlantic travel is easier (and cheaper) now and more people than ever are travelling around the world on a regular basis seeking fortune  and, in my case, adventure. For me however, this still isn't something I do regularly or am able to as this trip has cost me about a month's wages (not including spending money). I could potentially have done the trip a little cheaper but the US isn't cheap and I'm not going all that way to share a small hostel room with several other people (at least not on my first time out there for 14 years!).

I don't know too many people who can just decide they're going to America and actually do it - families, mortgages to pay for and children all cost money. All of which reminds me I'm simply not ready for that (and maybe never will be!)  I'd much rather spend my hard earned cash at this stage on an exciting adventure such as this one. My living costs are lower than many other people's I know but it still isn't an easy trip to make with all the planning involved and getting time off work.

Anyway enough waffling. I've got my sights so far set on visiting the 9/11 memorial museum, Ellis Island and the New York Transit Museum, as well as seeing the street with the Friend's apartment building on it, just to convince myself it really does exist!! Let's not forget of course that New York will come second, and I'm staying in Brooklyn first, not Manhattan (kind of a mistake on my part, maybe?).

Also, the first stop before New York is St. Louis, for fun and relaxation, but I'm expecting New York to be the big hitter, where I cram in so much and still only scrape the surface. I can already see myself leaving the city wanting more, and will hopefully return the following year during my *gasp* 30th year. Possibly not in May, like this year, but maybe in September - the other time when the city shouldn't be too hot! Here's hoping the next few weeks pass with relative speed...

Over and out.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

The countdown begins

I know it's not usual to do a blog BEFORE you actually do a big trip, but in this case I just couldn't help myself. I'm three weeks away from a two week adventure to the USA, and I'm both nervous and excited. Nervous, as I haven't done a long haul flight in 14 years (!) and excited as this is easily the biggest trip I've done since I spent a month in Poland and Ukraine during the summer of 2008. In fact, it's the longest holiday I'll have had since both graduating in November 2012 and starting work in the summer of 2013. So you can imagine I'm very ready for this break.

The plan is to spend a week in both St. Louis and New York, which will be broken down into stays in both Manhattan and Brooklyn (getting my hipster on). It'll be my second time in St. Louis and my first time in New York.

The difference between this time and the last time in St. Louis is that I will be 29 and not 15. Which basically means I can enjoy a few bars, experience the cultural sights and generally get more out of it than I would have done as a somewhat moody, grumpy teenager (I still have the photos as evidence!).

I have done a fair bit of travelling over the last 10 years or so, principally during university holidays but also outside work where possible. However, this has mainly been in Europe and I think I'm now ready to take it to the next level! Certainly feel like I've earned it after all my years of hard work ;).

Those who know me know I can't survive without at least two trips outside the UK a year, even if one of them is just to Dublin or Italy! Plans are already afoot for a post-USA trip to Slovenia. Anyway, I digress..

As for New York, well I'm basically going to be like a kid in a sweet shop, candy store, toy shop and Santa's Grotto all rolled into one. Forget being 29, I'm going to be like Kevin McAllister on his own in the big city, except with my Dad in tow and a few more dollars to my name and the opportunity to pick up a taxi whenever I want, as well as a few beers if I want it!

I already sense that St. Louis will be the quieter part of the holiday as I settle into the feeling of being free from work (which I imagine won't take long). The plan there is to see a few of the sights I saw last time round with a keener eye, relax by the pool, see some blues/jazz and generally have a laid back holiday. Then comes the big hitter!

New York will be all about blitzing the sights, filling myself up with coffee and gorgeous street food and generally getting my cool vibe on (if I even have one). I'll be spending my time in bookstores and museums, riding the subway and stomping around on foot. Might even get in on a bike ride in Central Park if I'm lucky? Anyway before I get too carried away I'll leave it there. No doubt you can tell I'm excited!! Here's to the next three weeks of normality and general servitude...