USA

There’s so much to see in the USA, the country is so diverse and each state has its own personality and cultural heritage to explore. We hope to travel through the USA one area at a time over a few separate trips, starting with a three-month trip to the north east of the country in autumn 2015. I’ve long since dreamed of experiencing the spectacular New England fall foliage, so we’re taking an eight-week road trip through New England, as well as visiting New York City, Niagara Falls, Philadelphia and Washington DC. In the summer of 2018, we took another road trip to the USA, this time exploring California and Oregon, a beautiful region that we fell in love with. Check out our USA travel stories here.

It’s a sad fact that places can become synonymous with tragic events that occurred in them. Vietnam, for instance, may immediately bring to mind images of war for many people; when we travelled in Cambodia, I couldn’t help seeing the scars of genocide everywhere we went.   Similarly, we couldn’t ignore the huge mark the 9/11 terrorist attacks have had on the world, so while we were visiting New York City we chose to visit the 9/11 Memorial Museum and Tribute Center.
We spent our last week in the USA with Andrew’s relatives in Brooklyn, New York City. Much of our time was spent sightseeing on foot in Manhattan, visiting museums, landmarks, parks and soaking in the atmosphere of this fast-paced metropolis.  Our visit also happened to fall over the Thanksgiving holiday, so we were able to celebrate our first ever, somewhat unconventional, American Thanksgiving.
We couldn’t visit America without taking a trip to the Capital: Washington, DC. What we discovered during our fast-paced visit was a small, understated city full of museums, memorials, history and a few blogging friends. Visiting Washington DC was thought-provoking and intense as we looked back on past struggles, caught a glimpse of the less-affluent side of the city and learned so much about the history of the USA.
2015 has been a year of two very different halves for us; the first spent in Asia, the second in America and the UK. We lived in Vietnam’s crazy capital city, Hanoi, where we saved over £14,000 (and nearly lost our minds!) by teaching English. We relaxed on beaches in Thailand, house sat in London, toured South Wales and took the best road trip ever through New England in the USA. As we prepare to celebrate Christmas in Blighty for the first time in nearly three years, here’s our 2015 travel round-up.
I’m not going to lie; Philly came as a bit of a shock after spending two months in idyllic New England. Gone were the tiny towns full of independent shops and cute cafes, the craggy coastline and sweeping forests. When our bus pulled up in Philadelphia we found ourselves back in a concrete jungle, ready for five days of intense city sightseeing; what we hadn’t banked on was an Airbnb bedbug disaster and the tougher side of city life in Philly.
Ever tried using Airbnb? The website has become our go-to choice for booking travel accommodation these days and we used it exclusively during our trip to the USA. Airbnb has saved us tons of cash, allowed us to stay in some beautiful places and meet some amazing people. Unfortunately, we’ve also had some less comfortable experiences with Airbnb, from freezing cabins in the woods to last-minute cancellations and the worst of the worst: bedbugs.
By the time we reached Cape Cod, our last stop in New England, it felt like we’d come full circle. The sun was shining and the air was almost as warm as it had been when we’d first arrived in September.  As always when we travel, time seemed both long and short; although the days had whizzed by in an idyllic whirl, I also felt like we’d been in New England forever.
Maine: the Way Life Should be, proclaims the state slogan, which greets us as we drive over the border into this wild, beautiful land. Cars all around us bear the former slogan, Vacationland, on their licence plates and before too long we realise the truth of both these statements. In summer, crowds flock to Maine searching for quaint seaside towns, unspoilt beaches, well-preserved national parks and miles of rugged forest. Although we visited in Autumn, Maine's beauty still struck us hard - here are the highlights from our time there.
Oh, yeah, this is supposedly one of the most haunted houses in Maine,” our Airbnb host told us, “It used to be a brothel, funeral parlour, and doctor’s room…I’ve had paranormal groups here investigating.” Andrew and I exchanged wary looks, trying to figure out whether our host was just messing with us or whether he really believed the house was haunted. Either way, as we listened to his tales of heavy footsteps in the halls, voices coming from the billiard room at night and a boy ghost trying to play with his dog, I knew the images popping into my head were going to keep me awake that night.