I’ve been pretty lucky over the last few years. I’ve been to many places and done and seen some pretty amazing things. But there’s some experiences that do stand out above the rest. It’s hard to narrow it down to just ten but since I have to do so (well I don’t have to, but I’m making myself do it) then I’d say that it would probably be these, so in no particular order:
A wise man- J. R. R. Tolkien, to be precise- once said, “not all those who wander are lost.” He had a point, however sometimes those who wander are just plain lost. Getting lost is not always a bad thing. If you fall off the beaten track, you might get to see the real city, find places which you never thought you’d see or stumbled across hidden gems. Yes, it can be a nightmare, I’ve had horror film scenes flashing through my mind and you can lose valuable time if you’re in a city for a limited amount of time but I’ve found that it usually turns out for the best. At the end of the day, you’ll probably at least get a decent story out of it.
After writing yesterday’s mammoth California post, I figured it may be handy to write a shorter post with only my highlights from California- just in case you don’t want to wade through 4,200 words of places I went shopping and where I ate lunch. In all honesty, the real reason I had a fantastic trip was due to the people I was able to stay with. My travel buddy had family up and down the state and they took us in, treated us and showed us the sites. I know not everyone will be as lucky and be able to get down with the locals so in this post I hope to pass on what my hosts showed me.
Get ready for a pretty hefty post (there is a shorter alternative here). I wanted to do a city guide for the places I stayed in California but I realised that I didn’t explore any of them fully enough to write a good guide. Well maybe I did but it was a while ago so I don’t remember all the details. Instead, I thought I’d put together a guide for anyone planning a road trip through California, with a brief outline of where I went, ate and stayed. In April 2010, I went on my Great Big Gap Year Adventure. California was my first stop, for a 3.5 week road trip from San Jose in the north to San Diego in the south, and back again. I’m now going to pass on the infinite wisdom I gained in this post. On first glance, this may just look like a guide to places but if you bear with me, there’s also tips on transport, routes, music, time and food. I appreciate that this could be deemed an excessively …
It was an early start to leave the Cayos Cochinos for the rainforest on the mainland. After our breakfast on pancakes, beans, egg and cheese, the bus took us to the airport to change buses. During the changeover, we were allowed a break so we all ran to the closest food outlet: Wendy’s. Although we had had some decent meals during the week, we needed a good burger and it was one of the best burgers I had ever tasted.
My week with the conservation charity on the beaches of the Cayos Cochinos soon fell into a routine of getting up early and snorkeling twice a day through the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the second biggest reef system in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef.
My trip to Honduras seems like many, many years ago now. That’s probably because it was. It was my first trip out of Europe when I was 15 in 2007. My school had organised a Biology trip with a conservation charity for two weeks, so after exams off we went.
It was getting dark when we returned to the little house we were staying in, in the Honduran rainforest. We were supposed to be staying in a campsite but there was a problem with our booking so we had to stay in a village for a night.
Bucket List number 43: see the seven wonders of the world. I think that this is probably a regular feature on bucket lists: Christ the Redeemer, Petra, the Great Wall of China, Chichen Itza, the Taj Mahal and Machu Picchu with either the Pyramids of Giza or the Colosseum taking the last place. With the exception of the latter I haven’t been to any.
In the morning, it was time for us to leave San Diego and hike back to San Jose. We had to start early. My travel buddy started the drive and we were relatively lucky with the traffic, especially in LA. After a few hours we found ourselves driving through the grapevine (a mountainous area). The scenery was something even though it was drizzling. The mountains were snow capped and the tips were surrounded in cloud. As we finally made it through, we found ourselves in the middle of nowhere, however this time we were meant to be there and were not lost.