Arriving into JFK airport we joined the immense security queue waiting for everyone who is arriving on a first time ESTA. A warning to those who are, be prepared to spend about an hour and a half waiting, so go to the toilet before the plane lands if you need! However this didn’t dampen our spirits as we were excited the journey had finally begun (although still not having been hit by the reality of what has started)!
Once we finally got out of the airport we were faced with our first journey carrying all of our bags. Our first realisation that maybe we didn’t pack as light as we thought..they were heavy! Jason blames the toleteries bag I packed but I suspect it’s his countless Marsiglia soaps.
Our first impression of New Yorkers were that they were friendly, even after experiencing one man on the Subway who gave a fun lecture to the passengers of how tourists suck, with pointed looks in our direction (I guess the giant backpacks were a giveaway). But apart from that we enjoyed the Subway ride. The carriages are fairly spacious and nicely air conditioned in contrast to the stuffy London tubes, and we soon found ourselves arriving in downtown Manhattan with the journey easy to navigate.
After a short walk we made it to the hotel. We were fortunate to find somewhere reasonably priced in midtown Manhattan, within walking distance of most attractions. After our previous night’s stay we were apprehensive to say the least about any ‘cheap’ lodgings (i.e. not expensive as everywhere ellse), but once we got in we realised we had made a good choice and couldn’t nave been happier! The ‘Yotel‘ cabins were clean and fresh and although they were on the smaller side (hence being cabins and not rooms), they had some innovative space saving quirks. For example when you weren’t using the bed to lie down, you could recline it into a seating position, effectively giving yourself a mini sofa. Jason also highly enjoyed the robotic luggage hold as a nice touch in reception.
I would highly recommend this hotel for comfort, location and cost, and we had some hearty breakfasts included too that set us up for some full days of sightseeing!
We arrived in New York from Manchester with no major hiccups, a fairly smooth journey. The most notable thing to mention is the hotel that we stayed in the night before flying out. It really was awful, similar to what i would expect of a 1960’s drug hostel. We spent most of the night awake hearing the shrieking of other patrons through the air vents and the constant banging and brawling taking place in the corridor outside our room, whilst waiting with baited breath for someone to break down the door eventually and come to attack us – perhaps the frightful fancies of sleep deprived minds but also a very real possibility in that hell hole. Add to this the strong smell of weed emmimating from every turn and I can advise with confidence that you should never stay at the Ashley Hotel in Manchester. One thing that I can say it did teach us early on was that no matter how cheap a place might be to stay, the most important thing for us is to feel safe while we sleep.
So this is it, the journey has finally begun! Those of you who know me will know that my husband Jason and I have spent the last few months preparing to take 6 months out and go travelling. This wasn’t a decision to make lightly as it has meant me leaving my job and Jason taking a sabbatical, but after a lot of thought we knew that it was the right next step for us.
You can often get to a place in life where you don’t know what the next step is, sometimes the perogative of having too many choices and opportunities (1st world probems ay) so rather than wait around and continue with the mundane drudgery of the everyday, we decided to take some time out and have an adventure. Hopefully this blog can give you a taste of some of our experiences along the way.
The route we have planned will cover The Americas, Africa, India and South East Asia, and as you can imagine, 6 months is not long to see all of these great places. The approach we’ve taken is to dip into each country, seeing some key sights and getting a taste for the local culture before moving on. For The Americas we will be starting in North America. We will spend a few days in New York before taking a road trip to Niagara Falls and hitting Allegheny National Nark (NP) on the drive back. Following that we plan to fly to Houston Texas and spend a few days driving to see the key sites such as Guadalupe NP and Fort Worth. We will then be flying East to spend a few days soaking in the amazing culture of New Orleans before spending a final day in Miami. After these 20ish days in North America we will head to Cancuun for a few days before ending our trip to the Amerias with a few weeks spent in Peru and Bolivia.
All that’s left now is to be on our way with our huge backpacks, wish us luck!