As much as I was unhappy to leave people and the place I really loved, I was excited to start the road trip. That was the thing I was saving my money for (like many other people). A road trip through the USA!
I was happy to share the moments with Joka and Petra on the east coast and getting together with Artem and Lena on the west coast.
Philadephia was our first stop. We were lucky that we went with two people from Cape May who were Petra’s employers.
In Philadelphia, we went to watch the Eagles play in the huge XFinity complex. I remembered that day as it was yesterday, with a few holes in my memory.
If you ever watched the movie Hangover, this was a really close experience!
Highlights from Philadelphia:
- Totally wasted on a hostel check-in. I couldn’t even type or say my name in English
- Getting into VIP without even having a VIP seat
- Getting lost in Philly, totally drunk, trying to find a hostel which, by my luck, was in the same street I was walking around
- Climbing Rocky Stairs and overlooking the city
- Exploring the prison where Al Capone was imprisoned
Next stop was Washington D.C. I was so stunned with the ghetto surrounding the city! I couldn’t believe it’s America’s capital!
Staying there for a few days was a good way to get our energy back since we were drinking a lot! The city has so many cultural monuments and pubs with amazing craft beer!
Highlights from Washington D.C.:
- Standing in front of the White House
- Drinking a black beer with chocolate aftertaste (one of my favourite beers of all time! Unfortunately I can’t remember the name.)
- Exploring museums (the majority of them were free to enter)
Miami was the last stop on our East Coast exploration. We spent two or three days at a party hostel. I must say I would probably never go back to one again!
I remembered when a taxi driver said that we arrived. We were walking through the lobby to check in while we were surrounded by 20 drunk people, who had an amazing time there.
Everyone was dancing and drinking on the way to our room, but we were totally wasted by our flight and a few hours of sleep. We pass it on.
It’s really hard to get some quality sleep when you share your room with 10 other people who’re in the city to drink and party.
Anyway, I’m thankful for meeting Jorge from Paraguay. We had some great time and talked about much stuff!
In Miami, I celebrated my birthday in a very inconvenient way. I really enjoyed drinking at Miami Beach… I was drinking cheap vodka, talked with great people and simply had an amazing time! Actually, when I reflect on that, I need to celebrate one of my further birthdays that way!
Highlights from Miami:
- Drinking Coronas all day in the shade of palm trees
- Swimming in the ocean on Miami Beach. The water was amazing and I actually talked about tattoos with some guy who spent 10 years in prison while floating in the water
- Night swims in the water
- Seeing iguana from a few meter distance
- Birthday celebration
Our next stop was Los Angeles baby! We were meeting with Artem and Lena whom I became very close to and we actually met in Prague after our USA road trip!
We rented a huge car and that car basically acted as our second home as we were spending so much time there exploring the city. LA is one of the biggest cities I’ve ever been to and it would be very hard to explore it without a car.
Our life was very relaxed and happy. We simply just walked, drank beers, hiked, caught every sunset and swam in the cold Pacific ocean. You know life in LA is something different and that vibe is simply hard to beat.
Highlights from LA:
- Meeting again with Artem and Lena
- Having a car
- Driving the Pacific Highway with a sunset in your eyes
- Swimming in Malibu Beach
- Two words – Venice Beach!
- Hiking to Hollywood Sign and overlooking the city!
San Diego, the city that overlooks the Mexican border. I was so close to Mexico!
This city looks very nice as I didn’t see any trash or homeless people there. So much different than LA.
I really enjoyed swimming and catching the waves. The Pacific ocean is very cold compared to the Atlantic ocean, but the waves are way bigger. The perfect combination for someone who thinks he knows to surf! Actually, one day in Cape May, I almost broke my spine while bodysurfing, so I’m not good at all!
A great experience we had was driving to Cabrillo National Monument to explore the nature there. The only thing was that the park was closed.
As being a man from Balkan and surrounded with few more Balkan girls, it’s not hard to guess how it went.
We jumped over the ramp and explored it on our own. I don’t regret a single moment doing that and we were actually rewarded with the amazing sunset you can see in the picture above.
Highlights from San Diego:
- Catching the biggest waves I’ve ever seen in my life
- Jumping over the ramp to explore the park
- Randomly met Serbian girls walking and chilling around San Diego
- Amazing scenery and a very chilled city to spend your time
Las Vegas shouldn’t miss on every good road trip through the USA. I deeply believe Vegas was the place we all were secretly waiting for! Well, who wouldn’t be so hyped about Vegas knowing that we’re going to attend a wedding there?
Artem and Lena got married in Vegas and man, it was a real Hangover scene!
So, the story went like this:
We all got our suits and we were looking amazing! The limo waited in front of our hostel and from there we went to the chapel. The priest was a really cool guy and after his speech, I was really amazed by his performance and great energy!
As the wedding ceremony was done, we went to the limo again and started to drink like crazy!
I remembered the smallest tip you need to give a limo rider, but we didn’t have much money left as Artem and Lena overpaid for the whole wedding ceremony. Later, we met this guy in the front of Bellagio and at that moment we were really drunk, so we were trying to avoid him.
I really loved the night! When we came back to our hostel we drank like crazy (Artem won us all in drinking) and just talked, talked and talked! Awesome night!
But…. what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!
Highlights from Las Vegas:
- Wedding in Vegas. Let’s face it, it was simply an amazing experience and I was so lucky to be part of it!
The Grand Canyon
After the wedding, we took a day trip to the Grand Canyon.
Can you remember when someone told you “it took my breath away”?
I heard that phrase many times, but never actually experienced anything like that. I’m so thankful that I went to the Grand Canyon as this place really took my breath away.
I remember driving on a windy road without seeing a single bit of canyon. We were all talking in the car and suddenly someone started to shout. I moved my head to left and saw the canyon.
The first scene of that canyon will always remain in my mind. It was so unreal!
Later during that day, we took the last bus that drops you off at a point where you can watch the sunset.
I remember waiting in a huge row for the bus and after some time we were sitting on the cliff, overlooking Grand Canyon with the sunset in front of our eyes!
After Grand Canyon, we knew that we’re going to separate our ways with Artem and Lena. I thought that I became very good at saying goodbye, but this one was so hard!
They went to San Francisco, while we were taking a flight to NYC.
We arrived in New York another must of a good USa road trip! We waited for some time at the airport as we were scared to take a subway during the night (haha). After we finally got to the subway station, we went straight to Brooklyn where we took an Airbnb.
The problem was that our host was available later in the day so we had to wait.
Every normal person would just sit in a bar and take a coffee. We’re definitely not normal!
You would never guess where we went! We went to wash our laundry!
I remembered Joka was taking care of the laundry while I was sleeping in the chair there. Imagine what passed through people’s minds when they saw me sleeping there.
Anyway, after a few hours we finally met our host who seemed like a decent Hungarian guy. He showed us around and took us in a few bars.
We entered one bar, finished a few beers, then he proposed to show us a really special place!
I still remember his words: “I will show you something magnificent! Follow me!” and he entered another bar and ordered a beer and fireball for everyone. I guess the Hungarians really love to drink in New York and we weren’t saying no!
Highlights from New York:
- Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. I remember the goosebumps I’ve got during that experience. The reason was that as a kid, I always wanted to visit New York. I actually got familiar with the city before… thanks to street view.
- Walking from Battery Park to Central Park
- Being surrounded by so many buildings
- Drinking an Irish Coffee in the pub where ‘How I Met Your Mother’ was shot. Irish coffee is a special coffee mixed with whiskey. I remembered I asked a bartender if he could put milk or coffee as it’s too strong and he replied: “You’re the first one who’s not asking for more whiskey!”
One Last Stop Before Heading Home – Amsterdam!
Well, I always dreamed of visiting Amsterdam and checking coffee shops there!
It was an amazing chance that I was able to set my returning flight with a layover in Amsterdam.
Dude, I had a whole day to spend there!
When I arrived at the airport I went to sleep on the floor as I had a crazy jet lag.
After I woke up, I realized that I was totally alone for the first time in a few months. Anyway, I went outside the airport and headed over to the centre.
My mobile phone was off, so I didn’t have internet. I was on the mission to find a coffee shop by myself, but knowing me, it wouldn’t be a problem.
It was easy and instantly found one, sat there, bought one pre-roll and got so high! I can’t remember if I’ve ever been that high. Only half of the joint was done, but the situation seemed like I wasn’t going to get less high for a long time.
I went outside the coffee shop probably a few hours later with a half joint in my pocket.
I had the chance to explore a bit of the city but it was raining hard. Still, I had an amazing time there!
Coming Home After The Best Three Months of My Life
When I finally arrived home after my USA road trip I was so stunned by the thing that people were still the same doing the same things they were doing before I left.
Me: “What happened in your life during these three months?”
Others: “Well, it was busy, we did that thing we’re doing every other day, you know. Just regular stuff. It was fun.”
When someone asked me how was my time, well, it was hard to explain in just one sentence!
- Believe me, your life starts outside your comfort zone
- Even if you’re travelling solo, you’ll never be alone as you’ll meet so many amazing people on the road
- You need to be tough as there is no place for whining. Always be ready to do your business even if it’s hard
- Money and materialism isn’t everything. Experience is something nobody can buy!
- Travelling really widens your perspectives on the world and you become a better person
- Travelling helped me in transforming me from a very shy and unconfident person to someone who is not scared of taking risks, someone who is really good with people and most importantly, someone who knows how important is happiness
- Be thankful even for small things, moments and people. It’s always hard to say goodbye
- Enjoy the moment and be completely present!
- Travelling is the best teacher
I could talk and write for days, but it would be hard for anyone to follow that story as there were so many things to talk about!
Hope my road trip through the USA will motivate just one person! I would be really thankful for that!
If you want to read about Antonio’s work and travel experience check the article Work and Travel New Jersey: Waiter in a Restaurant in Cape May.