“You’ll be going to more states in America on this trip than most Americans will visit in a lifetime.” Our tour guide was frank yet we had no idea this was the case. However, this statement struck me as odd. The moment my boyfriend and I graduated from university, we were itching to get on a plane; all we wanted to do was start exploring our world. We were 21, ambitious and free to wander the globe before the reality of the 9-to-5 grind and inevitable adulthood set in.
We both had always wanted to travel overseas, to America and Canada in particular, so our mission to the northern hemisphere was decided. Given this was our first time overseas, we opted for a mix of independent and tour travel in Western countries. In almost three months, we covered 40 states out of America’s 50, plus traversing the western and eastern coasts of Canada. It was an epic adventure ahead of us, and a long-life dream fulfilled.
We covered thousands of kilometres. We drove along famed highways such as Route 66. We marvelled at the wonders of many national parks including Yellowstone National Park and The Badlands. We spent hours awing over the depths of the Grand Canyon, cascading torrents of water ever-spewing over the edge of towering Niagara Falls and gorgeous wildlife like shy moose, curious black bears and herds of muscly buffalo. We ate tonnes of fast-food meals because it was the cheapest food to buy – we had saved every single cent in the three years prior to our adventure so it had to last! And, of course, we did the mandatory touristy stuff too – checked out a ball game at Yankee Stadium, hit the casino floors of Las Vegas, shipped ourselves over to Alcatraz, wandered the museums and monuments that pepper Washington DC’s streets, strolled along the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, took a steam boat ride along the Mississippi, visited Elvis’ house and spent a few days acting like kids at Disneyland.
Our very last day of our adventure was spent lazing on a sun-drenched beach in Hawaii. We both admitted we didn’t want to return to Melbourne – we simply did not want the adventure to end. We reluctantly touched down at Melbourne’s international airport a day later and we were met by the chills of a brutal Melbourne winter. With sand still embedded in my hair and only my Hawaiian shirt to keep me warm, I sat solemnly in the car-ride home. We were home but we didn’t want to be. It would be at least another month after this sad car-ride home before our post-travel depression subsided.
Since that epic two-and-a-half month adventure, we landed full-time jobs, went back to university, got married and bought a house. Though, we only “settled down” somewhat. Our biggest adventure, really, hasn’t ended yet and this length of it paved the way for more trips abroad; we still have so many travel ambitions to achieve. Since our biggest adventure, we have travelled together through New Zealand, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, China, Vietnam, Japan, Nepal and India. Our next trip is planned for next month – a couple of weeks in Indonesia. We have dreams to travel to as many countries as we can, plus achieve some new dreams too like conquer the Kokoda Track, discover South America and trek the famed El Camino trail. It’ll take a while, but we’ll get there – one destination at a time, one travel-bug bitten footstep at a time.