In January 2020 I literally quit my jobs and packed my bags!
I packed a medium sized backpack (hand luggage) for the plane – the only luggage I would take for an indefinite amount of time travelling. The packing issues didn’t end at the fact that I was going for a long time, but there was also the fact that I was starting my trip in Vermont in January (snow, cold, need boots kinda vibe) and then going straight to Phnom Penh, Cambodia where it was a sweltering 33 degrees Celsius the day I landed…regardless, the uncertainty of my financial situation having just quit my job made me anxious to spend money, so I didn’t splash out on checked luggage…
America has never really been on the top of my list when it comes to places I want to go, but I have a gal pal out there who I used to live with and miss so so much, so I just figured why not! I got myself a Caxton travel card and loaded it with USD. Caxton is a great option for anyone looking for a travel card by the way, mine arrived super-fast, the app is really handy and the exchange rates aren’t bad either! Also there are so many currencies you can use, if you plan on travelling to different countries with different currencies this is definitely worth looking into!!!
My seven hour flight from LHR to Boston was inexpensive, I think around £250 with American Airlines (hello Covid-19, goodbye cheap air travel). It was one of the most relaxing flights I have ever experienced, maybe it was because I was so ready to begin my adventure that I felt so peaceful in the air. I read “The Tattooist of Auschwitz” cover to cover in those seven hours (will do blogpost).
I arrived in BOS at 11pm (GMT-4) into a cool minus 4 degree climate. After showing my ESTA (electronic system for travel authorization) which is basically a VISA for America, I was allowed through border control after frankly quite a lot of questioning that I didn’t expect. Snow covered the ground as I left the airport and headed for the small town of Sunderland, Massachusetts!
The first thing that hit me was how vast everything was. I know it’s such a cliché to say everything in America is so big, but seriously. I am using the term vast because I’m talking about space, the space between houses, the space on the road, the size of the houses, everything just seemed so very vast.
Another stereotype that I would like to bring to light at this point is the amount of McDonalds that we passed on the freeway, we have a lot of service station McDonalds on the M5 but for real, I saw more McDonalds on that strip of road than I thought existed in the whole world.
OK that’s an exaggeration.
Having no expectations for how America would be, I was truly surprised at how sweet Sunderland and the surrounding towns were. It felt familiar to me in a way, maybe because I have watched so many American TV shows set in similar places, but I had never thought about how they would be in real life.
All I could think about was how Gilmore Girls the whole place felt.
I loved it!
And the snow made it even more picturesque, as it was January everything was covered in fairy lights from festive celebrations and the town looked truly magical. As soon as we reached the big countryside house we were staying in, I fell fast sleep as the fire in the hearth burned.
The next morning, we left Massachusetts and headed for Vermont where we would be staying for a week, stopping at a T.J.Maxx for me to pick up some cheap boots for walking around in the snow – my very small amount of luggage suddenly hit me as being a very stupid idea and my sodden feet couldn’t take it anymore.
My time in Huntington, Vermont was spent mostly recuperating from a busy Christmas in the hospitality industry, this means that I read, I recovered from my jet lag (I napped), I did a lot of yoga, I just generally got my head straight and had some well-earned personal days spending time with a lady who is more like family than a friend.
As lovely as that was, I understand it makes for a terribly boring blog post so I will keep it brief.
Also spending time with a lovely little dog called Fig meant spending a lot of time walking around in the snow, which was no problem for me since the picturesque beauty of this small town is unrivalled. We did not see another soul, we could walk for miles and see no one, just the perfect blanket of snow and woodland.
We visited a couple of great American bars and had some glorious tacos, beers and bourbons, which was an interesting experience especially being the well-spoken British girl who literally can’t help but say cheers instead of thank you as much as she may try. I got many a stare but never an unfriendly one. I actually think it’s worth a mention of how very friendly everyone was in this (and I’m sure every other) town in America. Almost too friendly for my nearly awkward English persona, there’s only one topic amongst strangers in the U.K. – the weather.
In Burlington, Vermont, we shared a delightful dinner at a very special place called “A Single Pebble”. This restaurant specialised in a cuisine that everyone will say is essential to try whenever you visit America – Chinese food.
But as much as I mock, I do have to say this was by far and away the best Chinese food I have ever experienced, accompanied by endless hot sake, endless courses of food and endless conversation, the very best way to spend a couple of hours in the evening in my opinion.
Vermont has completely changed my mind about travelling in America and it is somewhere that I definitely want to explore more of in the future, I am thinking east coast travels and the maybe heading up to Canada to discover more stunning scenery in that part of the world
I have posted a gallery (in galleries) of walks around Vermont. There are a couple of pictures which can’t even begin to show you how stunning this place was but I try.
If Vermont was this lovely in the freezing middle of winter (and let it be known I bitterly despise the cold), then I can only imagine what it would be like in the middle of summer, with the surrounding woodland and rural setting…tbc…
If you have any questions or comments don’t hesitate to contact me at @gbgoesplaces on insta or firstname.lastname@example.org on email,
Speak soon GB