Wednesday, 11 June 2014


“I light a cigarette
'Cause I can't get no sleep
Theres nothing on the TV nothing on the radio
That means that much to me
Theres nothing on the TV nothing on the radio
That I can believe in

All my life
Watching America
All my life
There's panic in America
Oh Oh Oh, Oh”

America – Razorlight

It was around this time last year when I got an itch to go on a solo travel adventure. There were many places I considered going, like Southeast Asia and Europe, but ultimately I knew I had to go somewhere English speaking because I was too scared to travel alone to a foreign language country on what would be my second big overseas trip going farther than Australia. I needed a place easy enough to go to for a couple of weeks, and with Europe being a far off dream in which I hoped to travel around for months, I turned to America. I booked it at the beginning of this year after deliberating where to visit, and today I got back from my whirlwind two weeks tour of the United States of America.

Booking onto a Contiki was a no brainer for me – I knew I couldn’t travel completely on my own, so instead I jumped on board a bus with fifty strangers and we set off (but more about these crazy people in my next blog post). I’d had some preconceived opinions about what the landscape and the culture of America would be like, because I had spent a lot of my life watching the country. America influences our media greatly, and every television fictional or real life show or movie I watched or book I read or even songs I listened to seemed to give away some part of their culture. It was time for me to stop watching and experience it through my own eyes.  

In a strange way what I expected to be great was a let down and what I expected to pass by me were the best bits. I saw a few bits of Los Angeles, including downtown LA and Hollywood, and it seemed a bit rundown to me as I’d always imagined this place to be very glamorous. But in contrast, San Diego seemed fresh and full of life, and was my favourite city we visited. We went through a few really cool in places in Arizona then onto the stunning Grand Canyon. Las Vegas was intense and full of a weird energy I’m not sure I liked. Yosemite National Park was a beautiful little place perfect for relaxing. And San Francisco was the upbeat, contemporary city it promised to be.  

I could sit here and write down everything I saw in these places and describe the details and tell the quirky little stories about the towns and post photos, but I doubt you'd take much way from that. It’s only by going to USA I’ve learned how another culture works. They drive on the other side of the road and it is terrifying. They have Walmart which secretly I loved very much. Their soda sizes are huge. Their currency works very differently. They have different customs and traditions and it puts you out of place when you first have to acquaint yourself with them. I spent my whole life watching America but when I got there I understood you can’t learn much by just watching. You have to jump head first in and experience the good and the bad and the different for yourself, and realize how much more there is in the world beyond your own little country.

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