Three years ago I spent an amazing two months travelling the USA. It was my first long-haul backpacking trip, and helped seal the deal for my long time addiction to travel. As I have mentioned before, we (my best friend and I ) did our best to see more of "small town" America, instead of doing all the usual touristy sights...I hate feeling like a tourist.
Growing up in New Zealand all you see is bus loads of tourists all over the place, getting out of huge buses at one "must see" area after another. For me it lead to a disdain of sheep like visitors, who rarely ventured out of their buses to see the real NZ. There are many more independent backpackers in NZ these days, but I tend to get a bored of hearing visitors say that Queenstown was their favourite destination *sigh*
Somewhere in LA, in a thrifted dress and with terrible food poisoning thanks to damn Fiji airlines.
Despite the true fear and frustration we felt riding the roller-coaster that is the Greyhound bus system, we did manage to safely navigate our way to many classic small towns.
Regardless of all the stereotypical jokes and comments I have heard on my travels about "arrogant" Americans, I found the people to be kind and surprisingly generous to two strange girls from some strange country. We had people go out of their way to help us, talk to us, and in some places we even became minor celebrities! Admittedly, the further you get from the coasts, the more "geographically challenged" people seemed to be, and we got a lot of comments on how beautifully we spoke English (it being our second language and all!). Most people were fascinated about where we came from ("your from WHERE?!"), and were amazed that we weren't stinking rich to be able to afford to travel.
My favourite states were Wyoming and Montana, but I also loved the deep south. There were so many places we didn't have the time, money or means to get to, and I long to go back there:-(
Since that unforgettable trip I have dragged my pack through Europe, Asia, the Pacific islands, and of course all over Australia and NZ. But my American trip remains one of the best I have ever made, and not a day goes by that I don't daydream about how I could get back there on as little money as possible and see some of the places (and thrift stores!) I missed........
Hopefully one day soon?