An English Girl in America: Backpacking at 18

An English-Girl in America: Backpacking at 18.

Updated 2016: This post is all about my first backpacking trip, aged 18. Now 25, I am travelling Australia for 2 years along with my partner Taran. Read our latest stories here.

Aged 18, myself and my best friend Fi, embarked on our first big adventure, out into the big bad scary beautiful world.

We both took a gap year between college and university, and booked ourselves on a whirlwind month-long trip to the U S OF A.

Firstly, it was super cool.

I had the best time and did NOT want to come home. I feel like something in me probably changed and my eyes had been opened to just how big this little old planet is.

WOW, I have changed A LOT since back then :) MARDI GRAS, NEW ORLEANS. Faithfully holding my travel guide.

WOW, I have changed A LOT since back then :) MARDI GRAS, NEW ORLEANS. Faithfully holding my travel guide.

We began our trip in February 2009, catching a plane into Boston Massachusetts, where we were met with 6 inches of snow, bitter cold, and some pretty amazing sights.

We meandered around the city on the train and by foot, exploring everything from Fenway Park (in my head I am reading that in a Bostonian accent, a bad one) to Harvard University to Starbucks, lots of Starbucks.

Boston was just like any typical bustling major City, like New York or London, but I liked the general atmosphere of the place.

We stayed at a fairly cool hostel and I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was; being a backpacker was proving to be way more comfortable than I had imagined. Well, once you've taken your backpack off for the day.

I was cold and jet-lagged and happy.

I was cold and jet-lagged and happy.

HARVARD!

HARVARD!

Doing a selfie, back when it was just, 'taking a photo of myself'.

Next up after Boston was New York, of course.

We had previously visited the Big Apple in 2007, with college, but this time, it was just us ladies, in the city that never sleeps.

This time we hostelled again, and booked ourselves into a private twin room, with a shared bathroom, but you had a key to use it and I don't think we saw anybody when we were there, so it was pretty sweet and entirely private.

We did end up however in the, shall we say, slightly more Ghetto side of town; the only place we could truly save the bucks.

It worked out quite well actually because it meant we could step out the door and walk the whole length and breadth of Central Park, something we hadn't done before. We realized how massive it actually was, and it felt truly awesome when we got to this sight:

The Jackie Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.

The Jackie Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.

This super cool juxtaposition of the big reservoir with the city landscape behind, was one of those WOW moments, visually.

It was such a beautifully crisp day, unseasonably warm at 10 degrees, but still with this wintery appearance.

We tore ourselves away from the charm of Central Park and made our way down to the other NY haunts.

Looking like the epitome of a tourist, in my practical weather boots and coat. It was 10 degrees here.

Looking like the epitome of a tourist, in my practical weather boots and coat. It was 10 degrees here.

BROOKLYN BRIDGE, BRAH. Keep to the people lane!
I have since learned how to smile for photos.

I have since learned how to smile for photos.

We revisited Times Square, but also ventured further downtown, to see the Brooklyn Bridge, and check out the view of the Statue of Liberty.

During our trip we relied heavily on the ever-useful subway, and our feet, to get around. I slept soooo well those nights!

Whilst here we also went out to visit the Statue of Liberty!

But I suppose my favourite thing to do was Top of the Rock, where you go to the top of the Rockefeller centre and thus get to see the whole of NY including the park and the Empire State Building.

I really was determined to come back with awful photos of myself, but hey, this was a pre-instagram world folks.

I really was determined to come back with awful photos of myself, but hey, this was a pre-instagram world folks.


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Thanks for reading!

Hannah and Taran here. We hail from Southern England, where we met online and are now realizing our mutual passion for travel here at Nomad'erHowFar. We discuss Nomadic Living, Simplifying your Life and Long-term Travel, to empower, motivate and inspire our readers. Get to know us here!