The end of America trip

So I’ve been meaning to finish off writing about my time in America on here for quite sometime!

 

After Los Angeles I made my way back to New York, via Chicago. Back in New York I had one night before getting on the ship back to the UK. This time without mum was a very different experience. I had my own room with balcony (I got upgraded!) and I was sat at dinner time on a table of six. A gentleman called Steve from Texas, an older widowed lady from Florida. A young lad called Christian from Switzerland who had been working on a ranch in south Dakota for 13 months and a mother and daughter from Louisiana. Dinner time held some interesting conversations. A lot about American politics. There were opposing views on a lot of ideas and government policies. Most if which I knew not a lot about. But it was interesting never the less. 

 

In the evenings after dinner we accompanied each other to shows, to the casino etc and during the day I spent most my time reflecting on my incredible trip and also walking around the ship and reading. 

The crossing was incredibly smooth, and again, like before I felt like I wasn’t even on a ship. I kept having to remind myself I was by disappearing out on deck!! 

 

My trip to America was really rather incredible. To have travelled in a circle all the way around the states and get back to the UK without stepping foot onto a plane was pretty remarkable. Most people think I’m bonkers. Especially when I told them upon my return to the UK. 

 

I particularly loved the fact I didn’t get on a plane. Getting to see all the various terrains and cities and environments of the states. From hot to hotter and then to cooler. I do love that country. Seeing close friends and family is obviously a highlight as seeing each other again will always be perhaps years ahead of time.

 

I was there for 2 and a half months. This time whizzed by. Particularly when I arrived home it felt like no time at all. When I go to Borneo it’s for 13 weeks. I’m pretty sure once I’m in the swing of things there it will all go rather fast! 

 

Top places I think people should go to in the states that I visited: 

 

Seattle ( particularly the Olympic peninsula)

Boston- tea party tour

Chicago – go to the old town fair or blues festival 

Niagara Falls – only need to go once, and regardless off the commercial side of it it’s still spectacular.

San Francisco- walk or cycle over the Golden Gate Bridge

Rhode Island – anywhere coastal, has a beautiful maritime feel to it.

 

There we go!! Those were my fave things. Other than that I loved doing America by train. You get to meet some really weird and wonderful people. The views, particularly on the west coast are spectacular to witness. And like I have now mentioned probably too much; you really feel like you have journeyed to get to where you are going and in a way it makes you appreciate distance and time a lot more. And bizarrely feels more like getting back to basics. Back to older times in history where planes did not exist. It helps you to understand and appreciate the evolution of humanity so much better and in particular the evolution of transport. 7 days on a ship back to the UK as opposed to 7 hours by flight. Back over 100 years ago it took a ship 27 days!! The difference is phenomenal. 

 

Anyways back in England now for 4 weeks before leaving on my next adventure to Borneo. Plenty of fundraising and work and prep to do before I leave. I will keep you posted on my antics at home before continuing this blog in Borneo 🙂

Write Drunk. Edit Sober

That’s what Ernest Hemingway said.

 

So that’s what I did. Here is an edited version of some ramblings and writings I did a while back whilst slightly inebriated; enjoy:

 

Yesterday I was reading a book that inspired me to think about self discipline. Essentially I think we all find it easy to slip into habitual situations that are perhaps not progressive to our characters, but so easy to inhabit.

 

At my old job I found it more alluring to come home, slouch on the couch, watch a movie, have a glass of wine and stay up late. It’s like ‘my time’ and the rest of my day felt like it had been someone else’s. This led me to feel frustrated that I didn’t have ‘my time’ throughout the day itself. Like annoyed that I had to do work for someone else. I obviously realised i was getting paid well and felt an immediate sense of guilt when I got angry at my situation. Like angry at working, using my precious time here on planet earth to fulfil someone else’s dreams and ambitions. And i felt guilty because i should be ecstatic that i had a good job in the economic climate we were in, and i certainly shouldn’t have been complaining. I don’t know about you, and I guess it kind of depends what you do for a living, but I don’t think I got masses of self worth from the job I was doing. A fantastic job in terms of it being a great experience in managing people, and managing myself within the constructs of the company, and sales techniques and social sales skills etc. but in terms of liberating, progressing and feeling good about myself; this was never at the magnitude at which it could have been. I felt like if a meteor came and dropped on my old job, and indeed its industry, and the whole thing was destroyed. The world would still spin.

 

I struggled to believe I was contributing to the world in a positive way. Because it wasn’t touching people’s lives in the way I wanted it to. I wasn’t able to help people in the way I wanted. It seemed epically superficial as an industry. A justification to our western society of gimmicks, fake, branding, power, money and trend. May I add that I really don’t want you to feel like I am belittling or chastising the people or habits of the people with whom I worked closely with. None of this should be taken personally. It is merely a reflection of the bigger society and industries within our world that to me feel ephemeral, transitional and not necessarily revolutionary to the growth of humanity.

 

However on the flip side of this, and after reading this book I started off talking about… I came to realise that actually yes; I am contributing to society, to humanity, to my environment, and that pretty much all my self worth at that time was centered around my job. My self discipline was not something that was determined by my job. It was and remains to this day entirely up to me how i construct my time and create my own self gratification.

 

My dad once told me that men get their self worth from the job they are in, and how successful they are, and in turn women get their self worth from their men. So if the man that you are with is not happy with his success or situation it does perhaps dent, affect and stem questioning of your own self worth. I don’t think that it is quite as literal as this anymore. I think in my generation and with regards to our evolutionary advances specifically to do with women in the workplace; I think it is quite common now for single women and even those in a relationship, to get kicks from the job they are in and to establish their own self worth. Never the less, there is definitely something to be said on the thriving of a relationship between a man and a woman based on the mans success and self worth.

 

The book started to talk about self gratification. And delaying self gratification. All linked with personal disciplines. An example it gives; a person works a 9-5 job. 2 hours of that job they really enjoy and the rest is mundane and a struggle to push through. As people we tend to want the best thing first. That person arrived at their job and spent the first two hours of their day doing what they enjoyed and feeling happy. The rest of the day dragged and sufficiently lowered the persons attitude and mood for the rest of that time, leaving them tired, fed up and not empowered by the end of their working day. Of course I realise that perhaps a lot of you are good at delaying self gratification. However it is something I have always struggled with. Like, why do today what you can do tomorrow. This concept mounds up in my head until I have a to do list as long as my arm and I actually feel miserable at the concept of attacking that list and getting round to things that actually have to be done.

 

If that person had arrived at work and then done their mundane hours first and foremost and then had the last two hours of their day to do what they loved and what made them happy and inspired, then perhaps the rest of their day would end on a high. They would be motivated to continue with this method of delaying self gratification throughout the rest of their evening. In my case I found it so easy to come home from work, make a cup of tea, sit in front of some latest tv series and just zone out. Completely putting off things that I actually need to do in order to superficially satisfy myself and that time. When in actuality, all that did was apply more stress and discomfort as the mountain of actual things I had to get done grew up all around me.

 

I think delaying self gratification is all well and good in theory. But much harder to do in reality. There are so many things we put off; correspondence with friends, seeing friends, washing, ironing, exercise, homework, paperwork, finances etc in order to make ourselves feel temporarily better. When in fact if we had delayed self gratification from the moment we awoke, then perhaps there is no end to what we can achieve in a day. We take each day for granted so much. But it is so precious, and each day should be treated like the next is in question. A bit of a cliche, and a sobering and scary thought. But I think if we could all do the things we need to do before doing the things we want to do then the evolution of humanity would become this ridiculously empowering progressive thing.

 

To summarise with regard to my previous job. I always have struggled with what direction I am supposed to take. On one side of me I am pretty logical and I realise and want success within my chosen profession/career. I realise that having been on the first rung of the ladder, I could most likely successfully keep climbing up the corporate ladder until I was on some crazy salary, but living a lifestyle in which I have become accustomed because of my incredibly fortunate upbringing.

On the other side of me I want to see the world, help people, meet people, engage with people, talk with people, philosophise with people and work on projects that not only make me happy but genuinely affect and change people’s lives, specifically those lives that have been less fortunate than my own. It’s almost like a sense of guilt for the relative ease in which I grew up with a loving family and was provided for with no bother or real hardship.

 

So after 2 and a half years in my old job, as much as from time to time it may have been liberating and interesting, and lessons were learnt; I think the overall thing I learnt was that I’m not quite so interested in the corporate ladder anymore. It was great feeling comfortable in my job and with money, but it really didn’t necessarily build upon this drive and need within me to embrace the whole world and its people and to give something back to this beautiful earth that bought me into existence.

Niagara Falls

After having a delightful hot tub bath overlooking the falls I descended down to the ground floor of the Hilton Fallsview hotel for breakfast. Once satisfyingly filled up Richard came to meet us and then the three of us headed down to the water front where we were to catch a ride on the ‘Maid of the mist’ boat that takes you right up to the Niagara Falls.

The falls themselves were of course phenomenal. I had to try and imagine that none of the surrounding buildings were there though. As with many natural wonders of the world; being turned into a huge tourist attraction makes it lose a lot of its magic. It’s a shame. I would have liked to have trekked a few miles and then turned a corner and seen these falls appear in the distance completely untarnished by humanity, and in fact with no sign of human influence over them whatsoever. It’s annoying that authorities didn’t ban building around the falls or something. Like in Paris where nothing can be built higher than the Eiffel Tower. 

Most people have told me its a ‘tick in the box’ experience. And it certainly is. I would go there again if all the buildings were knocked down and trees grew in place of lamp posts, and animals were at home in shrubbery instead of gamblers occupying the casinos.

It did remind me of Las Vegas in a way. I mean, if it hadn’t been for the falls, it would have felt like a mini version for sure.

I think as with most situations and experiences, an awful lot of what you feel about it in retrospect has a lot to do with who you are experiencing it with, or who you meet along the way. And in this case, the novelty and sheer coincidence that me and mum had happened to meet up with Richard at Niagara Falls, of all places in the world, was quite remarkable. I guess fortunately for the place itself this gave the experience quite a few more brownie points than it perhaps deserved. 

It did get me thinking about how small the world is. Over dinner last night we were telling each other stories of our ‘it’s a small world’ encounters. Like what’s the weirdest meeting/encounter of another person you’ve had that makes you feel like the world is just a very small place?

Mine was when I was travelling in Australia in 2005 with Catherino. We were at a neighbours party in Melbourne (super cool I know. You all must go) where to be fair the majority of those attending were from the UK and Ireland. Shockingly most the ozzies don’t watch neighbours (I know right!) 

Anyhow after an hour or so we were sat in a corner when a guy about my age came over and sat down and started talking to us. We did the usual ‘where are you from?’ Question. This resulted in England as the answer (duh). Then I asked where abouts and he said from Buckinghamshire. I was like ‘no way! Where abouts in Buckinghamshire? That’s where I am from!’ And he said I wouldn’t have heard of it as its a tiny village, but its in between Aylesbury and Milton Keynes. I said ‘you’re kidding – what’s it called?’ And he said, ‘seriously if you’ve heard of it I’ll be surprised but its a tiny village called cublington’….

Turns out him and his family had just moved out of the village to somewhere else in the country literally just before he went travelling. I knew who he was by name straight away once he told me his full name, but I had never met him. But there we were the other side of the world, meeting each other for the first time after having lived in the same village in England for at least 10 years or so.

Crazy eh! Or at least at the time for me, this was crazy, but its more and more common to bump into someone you know, or bump into someone that knows someone you know whilst you’re out and about travelling now I guess. Six degrees of separation..

After lunch with the daddy Goldson me and mum departed in the rain; destination ‘Sarnia’ a border town situated at the southern most part of Lake Huron on the Canadian/USA border….we had decided to break up the journey before we were to meet up with Sam in Chicago on Friday. As otherwise it was rather a long journey. Plus mum secretly, (or not so secretly as the case maybe) loves Canada over the states anyday so I think the longer we could spend in Canada the better! 

Providence to Boston

Today was a rather crazy day. We woke up early to have breakfast with Julie. (Croissants and scrambled eggs) The weather was gorgeous today and so before we left we nipped down to the beach again to take some more pictures before leaving for Boston and saying goodbye to Julie.

 

 

 

With only one day in Boston we wanted to get there as soon as possible. It is only about two and half hours away, and so we stopped off in providence (capital of Rhode Island) for an iced tea and a wonder around to see the sights. We walked the streets around brown university, admired the views and overall mum and I decided we rather liked providence.

 

 

 

 

 

An hour or so later we arrived in Boston. Sort of accidentally booked probably the most expensive hotel you could stay in in Boston. It was the first one that came up… Boston harbour hotel. We chose a city view (The harbour view was about 100 dollars extra…) After dumping our bags in what can only be described as a small apartment; we then wandered down to the harbour to take a walk around boston. 

 

First stop was the Boston tea party museum and tour. 

I honestly didn’t have much of an idea of what on earth the Boston tea party was about. To hazard a guess… I thought it might have been a bunch of Bostonians having a tea party when some member of our royalty came to visit. Ha. How little do I know. But then every day is a school day eh! 

 

So for those of you who don’t know; the boston tea party was essentially the start of American independence. Back in the day, our good old king George the third had a bunch of tea from somewhere in the world that was shipped into Boston, I believe in route to Europe… Anyhow it had to be offloaded in Boston, and the Bostonians were to essentially be forced to pay tax on it. But the Bostonians were having none of this and basically conspired against the king and a large band of them formed an alliance, dressed up as Indians (to disguise themselves) went aboard the British vessels and lifted and threw all of the boxes of tea into the water. Obviously this day went down in history as clearly the Brits/red coats found out it was the Bostonians, to which point we then essentially went to war with the yanks. Ultimately they (the yanks) won and on July 4th 1776 America gained their independence. 

It was an interesting tour as obviously it was relatively anti the crown and the Brits. I suddenly felt rather foreign. Which of course I am 🙂

Anyhow after this we continued to wander around Boston in the blistering heat. Stopped off at the library for quite some time which I of course loved. Sat with an ice cream outside trinity church (which we also visited) in copley place, which is an older area of boston and walked through beautiful parks where there was so much activity, I would imagine because of the weather. Mum then decided she wanted to find the oldest house in Boston and to follow this trail marked on a map. 1 hour later, feet rather painful, and pretty tired we found the house. Very modestly sitting amongst some other buildings within an Italian style quarter if the city. Mum took a picture of said building, we looked at it for about half a minute and then we marched back to the hotel. By this point I was pretty tired but still, the views of the harbour, and walking the harbour walk back to the hotel were pretty beautiful, and we decided that we also had fallen in love with Boston too.