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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.

    Together, we can change the way that travel looks today

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    • AD | Gifted 💫 Probably my last field photo for a while as starting this weekend I’M SHOOTING AUTUMN CONTENT. I’ve got a Pinterest board full of inspo, lots of amazing outfits to shoot and a million and one ideas about locations. I am SO excited. Can you tell? 🍂
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Also, the hill you can see in the background of this photo is called the Wrekin, somewhere I *used* to love walking up. Earlier this week my Mum told me that there’s a famous saying based on the Wrekin, does anyone know what it is? 🙊👇🏻
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❤️ Co-ord gifted by @boohoo @boohooplus #boohoo #boohooplus #boohoocurve #boohoouk #boohooplussize
    • AD | Gifted 💫 Although I love writing my travel content I have found lately the posts I enjoy writing the most are my guides to plus size travel. Whether it’s plus size travel essentials or surviving hot countries and warm weather whilst plus size, I LOVE sharing my tips and tricks with the world 🙌🏻❤️
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With over 100 posts on my *to write* list, I still have LOADS more plus size travel advice to come your way! What would you like to see next? 👇🏻
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❤️ Dress gifted by @yoursclothinguk #yoursclothing #yoursclothinguk #plussizetravel #plussizetraveltoo
    • Bosnia has easily been one of the most stunning countries I have ever visited. Even though we only spent a few hours driving through the mountains and exploring Mostar, I know it’s a country I want to go back and see more of when I get the chance 🇧🇦
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When we visited Bosnia, we were on a day trip from Dubrovnik. We spent a lot of time spent in the tour bus but I definitely think it was worth it to 1) cross another country off my list and 2) get the chance to experience Bosnia for the first time 👏🏻❤️
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Do you like long day trips when you’re travelling? Or do you prefer to stay in one place? 👇🏻 #Bosnia #bosniaandherzegovina #bosniatravel #visitbosnia #mostar #mostarbridge #mostarbosnia #starimost
    • AD | Gifted 💫 The irony of this photo is that although I am wearing a tee that says ‘Hello Sunshine’ - it was absolutely chucking it down when I took this photo ☔️
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With lots of things to shoot and no content, me and @unwrittenchloee thought it would be a great idea to shoot during nonstop rain. We packed umbrellas, hid in the car when the rain got worse and as expected, only managed to shoot one outfit each 🤷🏼‍♀️
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As excited as I am for autumn, I hope the rain isn’t here to stay 🤭🌧 •
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❤️ Tee gifted from @fashionworlduk
❤️ Skirt gifted from @fashionworlduk
❤️ Bag gifted from @fashionworlduk
❤️ Trainers gifted from @fashionworlduk #fashionworld #fashionworlduk #plussizefashion #plussizebloggers #plussizeblog
    • AD | Gifted 💫 This weekend has been a super busy one so I’ve decided I’m taking the rest of the night off to relax with a Netflix Original and some Milkway Magic Stars ✨
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What are your favourite Netflix Original movies? I need some inspiration 🍿🎬
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❤️ Dress gifted by @lovedrobe #lovedrobeuk #lovedrobe #lovedrobeloves #plussizefashion #plussizeblogger
    • AD | Gifted ☀️ Yesterday I posted on Twitter that I had spent the morning pitching brands and PR agencies and had managed to score myself three high-paying campaigns, one gifting campaign and two potential collaborations for next month. After a couple more responses this morning, I’ve now turned August into my best month ever when it comes to blogging! 🙌🏻👏🏻
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I think it just goes to show that most of the time, people’s success is what they make it. If I hadn’t taken the time out to pitch the people that I have, I’d probably be having a very very quiet summer ☀️
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Although I have my ‘Guide To Pitching Products, Payments and Press Trips eBook’ that you can buy, I wanted to share some pitching tips with you on here. Whether you’ve been pitching for years or you’re about to send your first one, these could definitely come in handy.... 👇🏻
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1️⃣ Always find the right contacts, rather than pitching blindly. Whether you meet them at an event, find them on LinkedIn or see their details online - you need to be sure you’re talking to the right person.
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2️⃣ Pitch an idea. If you can’t see a way in which you and the brand could be working together, you probably shouldn’t be pitching them in the first place.
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3️⃣ Be specific about what you want and what you’re going to do in return.
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4️⃣ Whilst we’re on the topic, don’t promise the world. If you’re promising too much, you’re going to find that you under deliver each and every time.
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5️⃣ Finally, make sure you have a detailed media kit to send to brands. This should detail your key stats, what makes you unique and case studies of previous campaigns you have worked on.
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Do you pitch brands? What has been your biggest success so far? 👇🏻❤️
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❤️ Dress gifted by @lovedrobe #lovedrobe #lovedrobeloves #plussizefashion #plussize #psbloggers
    • EXCITING NEWS TIME 🎉
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This is a little different to what I’d normally be posting but it is DEFINITELY worth breaking the Instagram theme for one photo. After sending what is probably one of the scariest proposals I have ever sent, I can finally say that I’m going to be hosting a panel on ‘Pitching Brands For Products, Payments and Press Trips’ at the Women In Travel Summit in Riga, Latvia. Not only will I be spend spending the weekend with some incredibly inspiring women, but I’m going to have the chance to explore a city that’s been on my list for years. Who will I be seeing there? 🙋🏼‍♀️
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If you are planning on buying your ticket, there’s going to be a flash sale on Friday! #WITSRiga
    • Happy Friday! 🙌🏻 A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I had to cancel my upcoming trip to Thailand due to the fact things had been a little slow when it came to freelance work and blogging opportunities. As gutted as I am, I also decided it would be best to put all travel on hold for at least six months - excluding the odd press trip, if I was to be invited on one ✈️💙
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Although the rest of my 2019 looks quiet in terms of travel, little trips and opportunities are starting to crop up. From speaking at Social Travel Summit in Italy to being on a panel at Borderless Live in London, at least I know I’m not going to be stuck at home the *entire* time. I’m also going to try and explore places that are a little closer to home, as honestly, I don’t think I’ve seen half as much of England as I should have 🏡 •
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What do you do when you don’t have the opportunity to travel as often as you normally would? 👇🏻 #travel #travelblogger #tbloggers #travelblogging #travelblog #tblogger
    • AD | This is the happy face of someone who has realised she can wear playsuits, short skirts and dresses all summer long thanks to Ivyverdure. As much as I stand by my trusty anti-chafing shorts, sometimes it’s just too hot to wear them with everything, right? 🤷🏼‍♀️☀️
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I’d honestly written off being able to wear playsuits and short dress for fear of chub rub, especially when walking around extremely hot countries all day. That was, until I used @ivyverdure irelief for the first time ever, of course 🙌🏻
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This magical (yes magical) anti-friction stick is designed to stop chafing and rashes. All you need to do is rub the formula where you’d normally experience chafing and then go about the rest of your day. I find I have to top up every now and again for the best results, but I know lots of people can go the whole day without having to reapply. It smells delicious, it’s easy to apply and it’s small enough to pop in your bag when you’re on the go. At just 60ml per stick, you can even pack it in your hand luggage for a flight! ✈️ •
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If you want to try Ivyverdure for yourself, they have kindly given me a discount code for you to use for 15% off - all you need to do is enter KIRSTY15 at the checkout ❤️🙌🏻 #Ivyverdure #Irelief #antichafe #chubrub #travelessentials #blisters #organic #vegan

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    • ✈ PLUS SIZE TRAVEL PROBLEMS PT 2 ✈
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Although I talk a lot about the problems plus size people face when they travel, I wanted to go that one step further and show it in a way that would make EVERYONE want to listen. With such a long list of images I wanted to create, a couple of months ago I hired an incredible designer (@creatiffi) to help create them for me. She has done an INCREDIBLE job, as I feel they really get across how we may feel when we're travelling  even if we don't say it outloud. Whether it's being worried you won't fit on a ride or awkwardly laughing off that a tray table doesn't fit, deep down we're thinking something completely different to what we may be saying or doing.
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So, whether you're plus size and you can relate to these images or you're straight size and you want to help bring attention to the #plussizetraveltoo campaign, I would LOVE it if you could share this post far and wide. Tag your friends, post on your stories or even send them over direct message. Thank you so so much ❤
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