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Why My Trip To America Means So Much To Me

April 1, 2019

Why My Trip To America Means So Much To Me

April 1, 2019
As I write this I am currently 50 days away from taking the trip and although it’s not the furthest I’ve been, it’s definitely the biggest trip I have taken when you consider the sheer distance I’m going to be covering. Over the space of three weeks, me and my brother will be doing the Atlantic Dream Trek America tour, then ending our trip with a week in Orlando, Florida. We’re going to be visiting New York, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Shenandoah National Park, Ocoee, Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans, Destin Beach and Orlando. Basically, it’s one hell of a trip. 

But why am I more excited than I have been for any other trip I’ve taken?

I think it’s time for a little story…
I haven’t really mentioned this a lot on my blog, but when I was 19 I moved to America as part of a work-abroad programme. I had just gone through a really bad break-up and having dreamed of living in America for as long as I could remember, I decided that there was no time like the present. I was very nervous but knew that if I didn’t do it now, I probably never would.
On the day that I decided I was definitely going to join the BUNAC Work America programme, I didn’t realise that just three and half weeks later I would be flying out to California to start my amazing adventure. Looking back now, I honestly don’t know how I managed to find a job, apply for a passport, get my visa and find somewhere to stay in such little time. Past Kirsty was clearly a lot more organised than I am now. 
 
Although I only had a short amount of time, I was able to get myself a job working as a receptionist for a company in Newport Beach and accommodation in a rented student flat near the University of Irvine. I didn’t know it then, but I was going to meet some of the greatest people I’d ever met whilst living in that tiny little Ambrose flat.
I still remember the day that I left in so much detail. I had stayed at my friend’s University halls in London as I was flying from Heathrow and after a pep talk from some of my American friends, I grabbed my suitcase and made my way to the airport alone. Whilst I had been living alone for a while, this was the first time I had been ‘properly alone’ since my break up. I was scared, excited and incredibly nervous about what was to come.
I got to the desk to check my suitcase in and after an absolute nightmare with my ticket, I was finally able to board the plane, just in time. Only I could spell my name wrong and have to book a completely new ticket hours before my flight, right? 
 
With my first hurdle out of the way, I say back and *enjoyed* the 11 hours flight to LAX.
I don’t remember a lot about the flight other than watching a lot of Big Bang Theory episodes as well as the movie In Her Shoes. We chased the sun a lot, as it felt as though it never really got dark.
Before I knew it, I was landing in California. 
As a young girl, I had always dreamt about the moment I’d first visit America. I wanted to be a writer living in New York City and although California was almost 3,000 miles away, I still felt as though I was a little bit closer to my dream. I mean, living in Orange County for 4 months comes pretty close, right? 
I spent my first night in an affordable hotel near to the airport and after a very fragmented sleep, I ate my first American breakfast. That is if you count toasted waffles and maple syrup as a viable breakfast choice? 
After the worst waffles I have EVER eaten, I was ready to get in my shuttle transfer to Irvine. I’d booked it only a few hours before and surprisingly, it wasn’t as expensive as I’d have thought. I spent the whole journey watching outside the window, taking in everything I could. My first yellow school bus, my first American McDonalds and my first sighting of the beach.
When I think back to the whole experience now, I wish I could experience every single first for the first time again. 
 
I don’t think the journey to Irvine was too long, perhaps around an hour or two. When we pulled up to the apartments I was going to be staying in I didn’t really know where to go, but thankfully one of the girls living in the same room as me noticed the van and came to get me. We chatted about my journey and my plans for the summer and before I knew it, we were on the way to Target to get me the essentials I needed for my stay. I bought a cheap smartphone, a grey comforter and some cheap pillows that I still regret buying. The essentials, right?
 
We ate at a place called Red Robin and I had my first REAL American burger.
After we got back to the flat I unpacked all of my things and it wasn’t until then that it hit me. I was in America. On my own. About to spend four whole months working and meeting new people. The reality of what I was doing sunk in and it was so so so overwhelming. For the first time in what felt like forever, I was happy.
The rest of my night was spent meeting the rest of my flatmates, who took me to their favourite Mexican place for carne asada burritos. We sat in the lounge chatting for hours and eventually, I went to sleep a very very happy person.
Although that was the LONGEST story ever, this blog post kind of spiralled away from what it was originally going to be. Whilst the point still very much stands there, this post shows exactly why America has a very special place in my heart. Having been through a tough few months, packing my bags and living my dream out in California made the person I am today.
It gave me the confidence to travel alone. It showed me that travelling can introduce you to some of the kindest people you’ll ever meet. It fuelled my love for travel and it proved to me that America really was the place I wanted to be.
Although I remember it so vividly, my first day living in America was almost 7 years ago and since then, I haven’t been back since. In 50 days from now, that is all going to change.
Whilst I won’t be visiting California this time, being back in the country I love is going to bring back so many emotions and honestly, I CAN’T WAIT.
America, I’m coming home <3
  • Melis Living April 3, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    Wow this is such a lovely post. Similar to how Singapore feels to me! Somewhere that challenges you and changes you for the better is always going to have a special place in your heart. I hope you have a fantastic time when you go back! Melis x

  • I'M KIRSTY LEANNE

    My mission is simple. I want to help change the way travel looks, showing both brands and society that plus size people really do travel too. In a community where plus size travellers are made to feel unwelcome, I want to inspire and advise people like me on how they can make the most out of their own incredible travel experiences.Join me as I share my own personal experiences, my best tips and tricks and all of the challenges I face along the way. It won’t always be an easy ride, but it sure as hell will be a fun one.

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    • AD | Gifted 💫 I am back in England and after a couple of days off to recuperate I’m excited to get back to work on Monday. I’ve had the most INCREDIBLE three weeks exploring some bucket list locations, so expect lots of USA content coming your way. Whilst I don’t have many more photos to share on Instagram, I do have A LOT of draft posts ready to finalise and publish. I can’t wait to share everything I got up to 🙌🏻🙊🇺🇸
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❤️ Disney body gifted from @primark
❤️ Skirt gifted from @primark
❤️ Disney bag gifted from @primark #disneyworld #epcot #worldshowcase #epcotmorroco #epcotdisney #epcot🌐 #primarkdisney #primarkxdisney
    • AD | Gifted 💫 If anyone knows how people get WDW photos without looking like a sweaty mess because of the humidity, let me know. Also next time I say I’m going to go to Florida in June, please remind me that 36 degrees heat is not the ideal temperature for walking around a theme park. In an attempt to get as much done as we possibly could, we did both Epcot and Magic Kingdom on a 1-day park hopper. After 9 hours in the heat, I gave up. Whilst I got to see the parade and go on my favourite rides, I am gutted I didn’t make it until the end of the day for Happily Ever After. At least we left right before the storm hit, right? Now I can see why people need two weeks at the parks, air con and storm breaks are necessary 😂😂
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❤️ Bodysuit is gifted from @primark
❤️ Skirt is bought from eBay ❤️ Mickey bag is gifted from @primark
❤️ Ears from Disneyland Paris #disneyworld #waltdisneyworld #wdwflorida #wdw #magickingdom
    • AD | Discounted 💫 Although I spent most of my time on my Trek America trip with my hair in braids and absolutely no makeup on, there were a few opportunities to get dressed up for a night out (even if it was difficult to get ready in a tent and camp toilets). I thought I would absolutely hate not doing my hair and makeup, but I’ve actually enjoyed the break! My face is 100% thanking me for the lack of makeup I’m using, but I definitely miss being able to straighten my hair as I’m not a fan of my natural fizz. Also flip flop we’re not my original choice for this outfit, but after being stung by a wasp it was all that would fit on my foot 😂🙊🐝
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❤️ My @trekamerica trip was Discounted in return for content
❤️ Dress gifted from @fashionworlduk #trekamerica #itrekhere #trekmoment #visitusa #fashionworlduk
    • AD | Discounted 💫 After 14 incredible days, I said goodbye to the rest of my Trek group a few hours ago. They were heading to Miami to end their tour but me and my brother decided to stay in Orlando to explore some of the parks. With just 5 days left in the States, I can honestly say I’m going to be sad to leave. From the quirky streets of NOLA to the live country music in Nashville, my Trek America trip has been one of my best travel experience to date. Can I book the next one now please? 🇺🇸
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❤️ My @trekamerica trip was Discounted in return for content #trekamerica #itrekhere #trekmoment #visitusa #travelusa
    • AD | Discounted 💚 🎶 You're as smooth as Tennessee whiskey, you’re as sweet as strawberry wine 🎶 Even though Jack Daniels gives me horrible flashbacks to pre-drinks at Uni, I loved seeing the distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. I had no idea that every single bottle of Jack is made at the distillery, as I thought it was so commercial it would be mass produced in the countries that stock it. Still didn’t find out why it’s called No7, though. 🥃🤷🏼‍♀️
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❤️ My trip with @trekamerica was Discounted in return for content
💚 My dress is from @forever21 #itrekhere #trekmoment #trekamerica #jackdaniels #jackdanielsdistillery #tennessee #tennesseewhiskey
    • AD | Discounted 💫 The Instagram theme has gone well and truly out of the window because all I want to do is share my favourite photos from my trip, and that’s exactly what this view of Broadway in Nashville is. On our second night in Nashville we celebrated my brother’s 21st birthday in the city. After a couple of drinks and a lot of dancing, we went up to the roof of Kid Rocks Honky Tonk for a view of Broadway from above. Hands down one of my favourite moments from the whole trip so far. ❤️🙌🏻🇺🇸
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❤️ My @trekamerica trip was discounted in return for content #trekamerica #itrekhere #trekmoment
    • AD | Discounted 💚 After a walking tour of New Orlean’s French Quarter I definitely needed the chilled out morning I have had. We tried some of Bourbon Street’s most famous cocktails including a hurricane, purple voodoo and a hand grenade. As some of the strongest drinks I’ve ever had, I was gone after the first two 😂👏🏻
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Now, time to explore the rest of the city before a voodoo tour tonight 🔮
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❤️ My tour was discounted by Trek America in return for content
❤️ Dress and bumbag were gifted from @boohoo #trekamerica #itrekhere #trekmoment #boohoo #boohooplussize
    • AD | Discounted 💫 After a busy few days we are heading out of Nashville, as much as I’d love to stay. Although I was excited to visit Tennessee, I wasn’t expecting to love Nashville as much as I did. From the line dancing and live country music in every bar to the great food and beer, it’s definitely made it into the list of best places I have ever visited. 100% coming back 🇺🇸
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❤️ Dress is bought from @boohoo who I have worked with in the past
❤️ My @trekamerica trip was discounted in return for content. Head over to their Instagram stories to see more of what we’re getting up to. #trekmoment #itrekhere #trekamerica #nashville #nashvilletennessee
    • AD | Discounted 💫 I’ve been VERY quiet the last few days but I promise I’m alive! I’ve been busy eating cheesesteaks in Philly, cycling around the monuments in Washington and breathing in the mountain air in Shenandoah. Although I’ve been taking photos, I haven’t had a chance to update Instagram until now. It’s been the best few days exploring and we still have so many amazing places to come. Best. Trip. Ever. 🇺🇸💙
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❤️ My Trek America Trip was given to me at a discounted price in return for content #trekamerica #trekmoments #itrekhere #shenandoah #shenandoahnationalpark

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