I first heard about Camp America when I was 17 years old and in my second year of 6th form. Unfortunately due to being an August baby I was not going to be 18 by June 1st that year as required for visa purposes so I had to put the dream on hold. Two years later on June 15th 2014 I was getting on a flight with a bunch of other Camp Americas to New York!
I spent two months working at a Summer Camp in Vermont which in itself was an awesome experience as I had heaps of fun doing crazy activities with the campers and counsellors and joining in on celebrations for the 4th of July. I also tried out some classic American cuisine (American bacon, Dunkin’ Donuts, Smores etc).
When Camp ended I hitched a lift with a friend and stayed in Northampton for the night before heading down to New York City. I spent 4 amazing days in New York City, staying with another friend from Camp, and I hit all the sights including The Empire State Building, Rockefeller Centre, Central Park, Coney Island and I even took a boat ride around the island and saw The Statue of Liberty.
I then joined a group to travel down the East Coast to Miami which I booked with Camp America Treks. This didn’t come cheap but it was so worth it. In the space of 14 days we covered 2645miles and 12 states, it was a blast. There were 14 of us bundled into a van with a trailer attached for all of our luggage.
Our first stop was Philadelphia where we got Philly Cheesesteaks for lunch before continuing on down to Washington DC. A day in Washington consisted of Museums and sight seeing (YAY FREE STUFF). That evening we then went to a baseball game (and I managed to tick another thing off my bucket list).
Our next big stop was the Ocoee River where we went White Water Rafting (Bingo for another bucket list item). This was awesome and then that evening we had a party at camp with some other trekkers to celebrate a 21st birthday it was crazy and minus stepping on a metal tent peg bare foot I had a great time.
We had a day in Nashville and had a line dancing lesson then went onto Memphis where we visited Graceland, home of the king. When we reached New Orleans we were all ecstatic as it was our first stop at a hotel with air conditioning which was a welcome relief from the uncomfortable humidity at night. We had a great couple of days chilling in New Orleans and just exploring on foot and trying some local cuisine- on our first night we ate at a restaurant called Oceana and I had the “Taste of New Orleans” which was amazing and even tried some Gator bites!
On our route out of New Orleans we went on a swamp tour to go Gator spotting, I felt a little quilty after eating gator a couple of days before but it was amazing seeing them and they were leaping clean out of the water just a metre away from us.
We headed down to Panama City Beach (where we all put in $40 each for another 2 nights in an air conditioned hotel room) and had a great couple of days at the beach and went on a boat trip and snorkelling in The Gulf of Mexico. On our way further south we stopped at Ginnie Springs and went tubing before getting stuck in a crazy thunderstorm in the middle of cooking dinner!!
We then arrived at Orlando and spent 2 days at Universal (check number 3 off the bucket list)!! I can’t describe how much I loved Universal and Harry Potter World and it wasn’t even as busy as we feared meaning more time on rides and less queuing.
We ended the journey in Miami and me and some friends from the trek hung around for another few days relaxing and exploring. I then got the megabus up to Orlando (and forgot to pack any food which meant I near starved). In Orlando I went to SeaWorld and fell in love with the dolphins before flying back to New York to catch my flight home.
As far as checking a Bucket List item off I feel I did this thorough and with style. I had such an amazing 3 months and have so many great memories from that summer!