Having made my way successfully down the West Coast, and heading back to my dad’s in New Jersey (via Austin of course) there were very few places left to visit as far as I was concerned. In fact, if it wasn’t for flights being significantly cheaper to Philly, I would’ve flown straight back to Newark – but seeing as the flight was booked, I may as well make the most of my time here and book a night in a hostel. With my flight arriving fairly late back on the East Coast, I got into Philadelphia and made my way to the hostel. In truth, I didn’t expect much from the place – and having got off the public transport in Chinatown, I was pleasantly surprised to see a Chinatown authentic enough to match that in San Francisco, if not reduced in size a little. But making my way over to the hostel, I found myself enamoured with the site of Independence Hall at night – a site that, alongside the Liberty Bell, I had no interest in seeing before I arrived in Philly. However, the beauty of the crisp white under-lighting effect meant I couldn’t help but stop for a moment.
Having done the west coast, it was time for me to expand my horizons a little and make my way over to Texas, namely the hipster capital of Texas – Austin. When I told someone of my travel plans they joked that I was simply visiting a list of the most liberal and bohemian places in America, which given my political allegiances I didn’t take particularly offensively and would much rather do than end up getting called out for being English.
Having left San Francisco, my newfound travel companions and I headed down the iconic Pacific Coastal Highway down to Los Angeles. On the way there, we stopped to take in the sunset at the coastal town of Pescadero where we met a local girl at the beach. Full of good views, but hungry for good food we asked the girl for recommendations for places to eat and she gladly gave us some tips. We headed into town where we enjoyed fish tacos at a gas station (they were incredible, and I don’t even like fish!), followed by some Irish coffees and a slice of olallieberry pie at a tavern. Pescadero was a multi-sensory sensation, but I wasn’t about to give up the quest for Hollywood for this beautiful little town.
Because everything is a lie, I didn’t complete my road trip completely using the roads of America. I did, in fact, fly from Portland to San Francisco, however, you’d be stupid not to trade an 18-hour bus journey for a couple of hours on a plane and a couple of pints at an airport beforehand. Onto a winner here methinks. Regardless of my method of travelling, I made my way from lovely Portland to San Francisco. San Francisco is a city I’d seen in films and skate videos and read about in On the Road, so I had some idea of what to expect from this place – and it’s safe to say I expected quite a bit.
Portland, the next big thing in the Pacific North West after visiting Seattle. Was I excited? I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect from the place, in all honesty, something that I found exciting if not a little scary also. I had seen the beautiful scenery (which due to the restrictions of my travel plans I feared I would not actually get to experience), but that was pretty much all I knew of the place. That, and the fact it was where both Poler (the camping brand) and Elliott Smith (not a camping brand) were from originally.
So for the first leg of my trip, I made my way to The Rainy City, Seattle. Famously the home of grunge, the first ever Starbucks, and weather that makes Salford feel like the Costa del Sol. The purpose of my visit here? Well, I suppose it was a convenient place to start a trip down the west, given that it is very much the top of the west coast. “Why not also pay a visit over the border to Canada?” you may ask, and that is easily explained away by not being willing to go through the level of difficulty I went through getting into the country for the second time.
As of Monday, I’m spending a few weeks living my personal dream and travelling around the USA. Starting in Seattle and heading down as far as Los Angeles before making my way back east to visit Austin and Brooklyn amongst other places – it’s safe to say I’m very excited to get out on the open road (or rather use the cheapest combination of air, bus, and train travel) and get immersed in the cultures of the various cities.
For any travelling I guess it’s important to pack your back properly rather than spend your trip cursing the items you left back home. Following the mantra of “live heavy, travel light” I’m going with only carry-on baggage, and this is what I’ll be taking. I’m not going to bore you with details of just which pair of black jeans I decided to take with me, however, here is an insight into what I will be taking in my rucksack on my travels.