I’m going to back track a little today and talk about my Trek America experience. I want to have a hard copy of my memories of the trip for future reference and now’s a good ‘a time as any.
I chose to go on a Trek America trip as I’d heard that a lot of single travellers go on these trips and have a great time. After looking through their brochure, I decided that the Best of the East tour had a lot of things I wanted to do and see. I recently split from Z and needed to push myself out of my comfort zone, she had left me in an unsociable state with hardly and friends so I found it really hard to move on and meet new people. The trek was my idea to alleviate the problem, by throwing myself in the deep end with a load of strangers on the other side of the Atlantic, I had no choice but to be sociable and make friends. It did wonders for my confidence, especially with the love interest that occurred (I’ll explain all in a later post)
It didn’t start well though. My trip down to Heathrow was fine, I checked in, found my gate, had a look around the duty free then caught my flight on time. I love the organisation of airports, the sense of knowing what comes next and no surprises is brilliant. Information is everywhere. I got to Newark airport and grabbed a taxi to the hotel that I had researched on the net. I was convinced that there prices were excessive online and would be a lot cheaper if I booked on the day. I could not have been more wrong, the price was way more expensive and to top it off, I was paranoid that the taxi driver was going to tip some local fugs off to the where abouts of the foreigner in their neighbourhood. I locked myself into my hotel room and broke down, I had a complete nervous breakdown. What the hell was I doing on my own meeting people I had never met before! I missed everybody and everything. The simplest thing got to me. I finally got to sleep after worrying and going over 100 scenarios where people burst down by door and steal everything I had at gun point.
The next day I got very nervous about meeting everyone. I got to the meeting point about 2 hours early as to make sure I wouldn’t be late. This turned out to be a good move as the first person with a backpack arrived. I could tell she was due to meet everybody here as well, she asked if I was on the tour and we began chatting. I instantly felt relieved, I now knew someone out of the 14 strangers I would have to spend the next two weeks with. Slowly everybody else arrived and introduced themselves. I decided to stick close the Kerry, the 1st person I met.
We drove a short distance to our 1st camp site after a brief introduction and paper exercise. Everybody paired off with the person they sat next to on the van. Except myself who foolishly agreed to sit in the front and Kerry. I thought my luck was in, she was a really nice person and made that fatal move of showing an interest in me… I don’t get a lot of attention from the opposite sex and become very shy around girls. I don’t have a specific type of girl, just someone I get on well with has the possibility of becoming an interest to me. It’s not until they categorically say that there not interested in me that I realise nothing will happen between us. I was excited that Kerry had chosen me to sit next to and talk to out of everyone so was glad when I thought we’d have to share a tent. It then came to my attention that a Korean girl was to join us later on that day and she’d be sharing a tent with Kerry and I’d have to sleep in my own tent. I was glad to have my own space but worried that I’d be left out. This wasn’t the case, we spent most of our time outside the tents sitting around the fire anyway.
We had lunch at the tour leader’s parent’s house. This was very weird, it was a nice house in the middle of a forest with no other houses for miles around. I did worry that we were somehow being led to a slaughter house. Lunch was nice, American food is so much better than ours. Their turkey and chicken slices were so sweet and fat free, their cheese was a mix of cheddar and mozzarella and their bread was amazing! I ate loads.
While we were in Pennsylvania, of tour leader (Graeme) decided to bring us to Gettysburg. This was really fascinating, we learnt all about the civil war and saw the spot where the bloodiest battle took part, they still had cannons everywhere. You could see holes in rocks where guns and cannons had hit.
We were then taken to Washington DC. I saw all the landmarks and statues that are shown in TV shows and films. I stood next to Abe Lincoln and saw the Washington Monument. Kerry, Monica and I went up to the top of the old post office building and to look at the WW2 memorial. I had a great time with them and felt like I’d got to know them a lot over the day. I felt totally at ease and comfortable around them, even on the other side of the globe. When we got back to the camp site, a few of us went to the pool to cool off, it was a boiling day and was nice to go for a swim in the evening. I was embarrassed about my body though and got really self-conscious, especially as everybody else had well-toned bodies and no scars on their chest. After the swim we went to an off licence and got some bears, we stayed up all night talking around the camp fire and getting to know one another.
P.s. I saw real life fireflies, they were the coolest looking bugs I’d ever seen! Just as magical as I imagined them to be.