Planning our (mini) American road trip

After our 2016 American road trip from Boston to San Francisco we decided we just had to go back to the states. Only unlike last time we’re just visiting for 2 weeks and not going to anywhere near as many places as we did before. This time, we’re revisiting our favourites; Nashville and New Orleans (with a few new stops along the way).

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What is it like driving in America?

From the moment we had decided we were going on a road trip across America one thing played on our minds; “what is it going to be like driving over there?” 

As 3 Scots who could drive here in the UK, the thought of not just driving in another country, but that country being America and us having to adapt to driving in the opposite side of the car, on the opposite side of the road! Well it was daunting to say the least.

So, we’re in Boston at the car rental dealing with paperwork and all we have to go on is the 2 or 3 taxis we’ve been in since we arrived. Who I might add, all drove like they were insane. So now we’re just about to be handed our keys to a car that was bigger than any of us had ever driven before and the woman starts to tell us, “now if the police pull you over, move over straight away, hands on the wheel. DO NOT get out the car unless asked, get this paperwork and show them that along with your license” we were stood there like shit this sounds scary.

As I mentioned in a previous post our journey with our car didn’t start off the best as 2 hours into having it we were crashed into. Hence wee Monique in the picture is our second car. So I mean apart from the crash (as it wasn’t my fault) we were doing not too bad, we got a system going and that helped us a lot.

One person driving, whoever was in the passenger seat was in charge of making sure the driver didn’t drift into other lanes and helped when merging was needed. 
The actual driving though? Well it was so much easier than we expected. I don’t know how people don’t like driving automatics, life was a breeze behind that wheel because of it. 

The one thing though that I will never get my head around? Being able to turn on a red light??! What the hell is this all about?


All in all, driving in America is nowhere near as bad as we thought it would be. 

We got lost once and that was because we weren’t paying proper attention to our Sat Nav.

We never got pulled over by the police, in fact the only time we dealt with police was in Salem, MA because of our crash and then in LA because my friends were crossing the road when they shouldn’t have been apparently. But that’s another story.
If you’re thinking of getting a car in America but are unsure of anything, feel free to ask. Honestly though, it’s super easy! 


LDN: comedians, tourist duties and a drunk Yasmin.

London for me is a place that holds a lot of great memories. It’s somewhere I don’t tend to visit as often as I used to, so having the opportunity to go down for a weekend was delightful. I tend to only go down to London if I have a reason to, my reason this time? To see a comedian.
Who’s this comedian? And why travel from Glasgow to London to see him? Questions I hear you all ask. Well.. his name is Mark ‘Jiggy’ Jigarjian and he’s an american comedian. If you’ve heard of him it’s probably because he supports the Impractical jokers on their tours across the states usually. I love any excuse to go to London and the fact Jiggy was coming over to the UK to do one show down there, well I just HAD to go.
I travelled down my bus (megabus) it is always the loooongest journey ever but I’m constantly skint so cheap and not so cheerful way to get down there it is for me. Leaving Wednesday night I arrived on Thursday morning. I tend to stay in Travelodges when I go to London, mainly because that’s where I’ve always stayed, this time was no different staying in the King’s Cross Royal Scot Travelodge where I’ve stayed before. Hey, it has a bed and that’s all I care about.

On the Thursday Jiggy decided to do a podcast in a pub not too far from my hotel so of course I was going. He had brought 2 friends over with him (Tim Brierley and Mike Charette) so they performed a small comedy set first and then the three together done a podcast. These are 3 seriously funny guys, so please check them out! 

Afterwards we said hey, got a picture and I did buy one of Mike’s shot glasses because I have a thing for them. Whenever I travel somewhere new that’s what I buy myself so I have a small collection now. Everyone then headed upstairs to the pub and we all got drunk.

I’m really not fond of this photo but Jiggy is a just a complete babe.


The Friday was payday and a day of sightseeing. Shopping was first on the list, myself buying make up, make up and yet more make up. Usual! I’ve seen London many times before so all I seen was big Ben and the London eye because when you’ve seen them once you’ve seen them a million times.

Sightseeing over with. I then met up with some friends that were down in London, we ended up in Zebrano it was 2 for 1 on cocktails as well so I was in my element. I can’t even remember the cocktails I had (I think I had about 4) but they were all delicious!
Saturday called for camden market to start the day off! 

And I’m not going to lie. The best part was finding somewhere to get cocktails and the food. I wasn’t all that impressed with the place I’m not going to lie. After a change we headed to Jiggy’s proper comedy show, where I met up with another girl from Glasgow and some other really great girls. We laughed, we drank, we had fun. I won’t go into details about the rest of the night because it was fun yes, but it was also ruined slightly (that’s a story for another time though) let’s just say I ended up in Beckys hotel  (the girl from Glasgow) till about 8am drunk af. Good times!
My trip to London ended by meeting up with jiggy and everyone else and going for a nandos then hanging with some girls before leaving to get my coach home.

No matter what I’m down there for, I always have such a great time. Can’t wait to go back in October now.
Until next time LDN!


The best time to visit Edinburgh

Edinburgh itself is an absolutely beautiful city and I would suggest everyone visit it at least once in their life. I don’t suggest you visit at just any time of year though, there’s a few times that are best to visit Edinburgh and right now is one of them!
The month of August in Edinburgh isn’t like any other, for the month of August brings music, theatre and comedy to every inch of the city through the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

With so much to do and see at this festival you’ll discover some amazingly weird and wonderful things. 

I happened to find myself travelling through from Glasgow for the day. With less than  £4 on the bus and the promise of a car journey home thanks to my friend I was more than happy to go.

We planned to do so much but when it came to it, we done very little. My one major piece of advice would be if you have certain things you want to see? Work our where they are beforehand. We missed 2 shows we wanted to see because of poor planning on our part. But we still managed to make it to our two main ones.

The first of which was the Big Value Comedy Show. £10 for 2 hours worth of comedy from 3 comedians and a host? Where could you go wrong and honestly there was very little to fault. We went to the early showing at half 7 and I’m not going to lie, I’ve completely forgotten the comedians names unfortunately but 2/3 were amazing. We started with the host coming out and he was seriously so so funny, really warmed you up from the start for hours of laughter ahead. He introduced the first act, a woman who used to be a school teacher, she was really really funny. We thought if she’s the starting act we definitely have high hopes for the rest! 
There was a short break in between all the acts, so after her set and the break the next comedian appeared. And well, praise da lord he didn’t open because no-one would have come back for the rest of the acts. Now I’m one of those people who have a seriously good sense of humour, even if you’re the least funniest person on the planet if you’re around me you’ll feel like a world famous comedian because all I do is laugh! In saying this, I didn’t laugh once at this guy, not once and neither did any of my friends. From his voice to his stage presence to his jokes it was terrible unfortunately. Somehow some people found him funny at the back but most people were left unimpressed. Needless to say after the break from him some people didn’t come back again!
We then had the last act who was American and he again was so incredibly funny. I doubt I stopped laughing for even a second during his whole set he was fantastic. (I’ll actually need to find out the comedians names and shall update this when I do because they deserve the appreciation).

First show done, we were then off to our main act of the night. 10pm, Daniel Sloss. Now, Daniel is a Scottish comedian who has been on the circuit for about 8 years I believe and he is incredible. I’ve seen him on a few shows before on TV and always found myself laughing away so when I seen he was at the fringe I knew he had to be seen. His ticket was £13 and he was on stage a little over an hour.

Now I highly highly highly recommend anyone and everyone to look Daniel up or go see him if you can. He’s such a talented, young comedian with so much potential and it upsets me that he’s not bigger than he is because he’s seriously that good!

Everywhere you go in Edinburgh when the fringe is on there is something. There’s hundreds upon hundreds of free and ticketed shows, many of which are so incredibly good. I loved the fringe that much, even though I didn’t fully experience everything I wanted to that I’m going back next weekend!

Please visit Edinburgh. Please visit the fringe. You will not regret it one bit! If you go, or if you have been leave me a comment below and tell me what you seen/are going to see! Thanks!

Road trip : Family First.

June 5th:


Our time in NYC was over, so with Ellé driving and myself in the passenger seat making sure to listen to our sat nav properly we were well and truly on our way, saying goodbye to NYC. But where were they headed first I hear you ask? We actually were planning on spending the afternoon near Brodheadsville, PA. Why there? Well Clare has some family that live there! Her cousin (Rita) and her family, so off we were to visit them. And all was going well, until we got to a bridge, that was closed. We had no idea where to go now, after a few phone calls to her family we managed to agree on us finding a place that her cousins husband would pick us up. We eventually found where we wanted to be but didn’t know what this guy looked like.. After all, Clare had never met them.

Next minute this guy is pointing at us, it was him! And oh my god, we all loved him! His name is Dennis and he was just something else. He gave us all hugs and started chatting away to us before we decided we better get on our way to their house. We followed him in the car and about 10 minutes later pulled up at this lovely house. We were stood outside talking when the front door opens and Dennis and Rita’s son opens the door, pulling us all inside and introducing himself as Thomas. We met Rita and the rest of her family, her youngest son (forgot his name) and her eldest George and his wife and kids.

They gave us all the warmest welcome ever. Shuffling us into the house, offering us drinks, chips and dip (that Rita had made herself, it was dyno). We spent the rest of the afternoon chatting mainly to Thomas about everything as he was a year or 2 younger than us. He would tell us about things in America and we told him about Scotland; constantly comparing the differences between the two. Which was highly interesting. It was amazing seeing just how different our lives actually are, and to know so much that we see in films that are featured in America is actually true and real. Crazy.

They set our a big spread of food for us, which we happily ate while chatting merrily. Before we knew it it was almost 16:00 and time for us unfortunately to get back on the road. We got a tour of the house, some group pictures and then said our goodbyes. Which I can’t tell you how sad it was to do, we loved them loads and didn’t want to leave, but we unfortunately had to.

They were the most welcoming family ever! It was amazing seeing my best friend meet some of her family for the first time and incredible how welcoming they were to her 3 friends tagging along. 

I think the 4 of us would love to see them all again. We had an incredible time.


Surviving a road trip

How do you survive a road trip?

After travelling 5044 miles across America on my road trip with my best friends, I think I have a few answers as to how to survive the long, sometime’s seemingly endless journey. At least, these are what helped with my journey; hopefully they help you too.

 

Firstly, you need some good music in your life. When you’re driving long journeys especially, you can’t rely on the radio to keep you going because you’re constantly losing signal and having to jump between stations, believe me I know. Our music was all on my phone, so whenever it crashed or when I’d lost/left behind my wire’s to charge it the radio was all we had. We had to make do at these times. When my phone was working though, oh we were in for some good times. I’ve already given you a glimpse of our playlist in my previous post but we listened to such a variation and loved every minute of it.

Now good music is great, but great company is better. If you happen to be heading on this journey make sure it’s with people you get along with, people who can hold a conversation and give you some laughs along the way. There’s nothing worse than being bored, especailly when you’re confined into a tin can with people who aren’t making things any better.

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Tying into the company, having someone else that can drive is a massive bonus. Depending on the length of your trip you don’t want to be the one constantly stuck behind the wheel. On our trip, we had 3 drivers in total and we all took our turns behind the wheel, with a month long journey and some drives being upwards of 7 hours you want to be able to relax and let someone else deal with the driving part.

Make sure to stock up on snacks and water before you hit the road. You don’t want to be on a long drive having to stop more regularly than needed/wanted all because someone feels peckish and wants a packet of crisps. Bulk buying water is a must, not only will it last you a good while, it will also save you money rather than continuously buying single bottles.

Fill up yout tank. It’s just common sense, make sure you have a full tank before you hit the road and have a limit for how low you’ll let the gas go before you stop to refuel. For us, we wouldn’t let our tank get below a quarter full, just to be on the safe side we also checked where gas stations were along our route so we knew where to top up if the next one wasn’t for a good while.

Music and conversation are good but sometimes you’re not in the mood for either. Bring some books, make sure to have some good apps on your phone/ipad or whatever to keep you entertained, car games. Just things to keep you sane really.

Stop whenever you want to. Don’t just stop because you need gas, the toilet, stock up on some snacks or stretch your legs. Some of the best places you’ll find will be the places you don’t intend to stop. I know we stopped at a random wee gas station in Texas and found they had some maps on the wall (both a map of america and rest of the world) along beside the maps were pins and they asked you to put a pin where you’re from. It was amazing to see where everyone had come from to this random gas station, more amazing that we were the first Scots.

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The best thing you could do, take pictures. I don’t mean just to post on some social media site either (instagram, facebook, twitter, tumblr, wherever), I mean yeah it’s great to share your pictures with everyone but sometimes it’s best to take some random snaps just for yourself. Make a scrapbook, pin them on a wall, take pictures of the memories.

 

 

Do you have any good road trip ideas? Leave a comment of them below to share with us all.

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Road trip : New York City

June 1st:

We had left Boston behind and were moving onto our next stop; NYC. We had stopped off on our drive to New York to grab a bite to eat and like mentioned in a previous post about our bad luck, we arrived only to be told our reservation had been cancelled. 

We were staying just outside NYC at the Super 8 North Bergen/New Jersey. So we arrived and they only had a room for the one night (we were meant to be staying 3) and we should check with them the next morning to see if they had any cancellations. Not exactly an ideal situation especially when you’re meant to be staying for 4 nights!


June 2nd:

We were up and at it relatively early, headed downstairs in the motel for some breakfast (we were completely loving our frosted flakes each morning) and to ask about the room situation. Fingers crossed things would work out! … which of course they did. They were able to offer us a room with a king bed which they would then also put a single bed into for us, we would have probably taken anything so obviously we snapped this up as it saved the hassle of trying to find another motel.

It was great as there was a shuttle that stopped right outside the motel to take you into NYC and at like $3 each, each time we used it we couldn’t complain.

So we hopped on the shuttle and off we went. The shuttle would go to the Port Authority but we would get off round the corner from here. I’d been to NYC once before so although it was a few years ago my memory of where things were was actually pretty good. Our first stop for the day was Times Square of course.

We done a little bit of shopping, walked around a little and then headed back to the motel to get changed as we were going to see some shows that night.

Myself and Ellé went to see Les Misérables while Shona and Clare went to see Chicago.

I had been looking forward to seeing Les Mis so much, and it was just as incredible as I thought it would be. After it finished Ellé didn’t feel so good so we headed back to the motel. 
June 3rd:

We were up, ready and out to get the shuttle into NYC relatively early again. Getting off our shuttle and today our first stop was Carlos Bakery. With 2 of us being big fans of Cake Boss we were so excited to head here and try some of their cakes, which did not disappoint, I had one of the best donuts of my life.

I got the chocolate custard filled donut and also it both an original and chocolate cannoli for later. They were all amazing.

After we stuffed our faces with cakes we started our tourist duties for the day, heading firstly to the empire state building. I’d been before but we were planning on going up as far as we could 103rd I think? But it was a bit foggy so we couldn’t go up as far unfortunately. Still a fabulous view though. We headed to ground zero after, which had changed since I was last there. For me the experience of going there was the same as before, I could literally feel my heartbreaking for everyone and their families. It always gets to me when you read their names and it says “and unborn child” beside their name. Even thinking of it now I feel such strong emotions.

After a short walk towards the Hudson river and for my friends to see the Statue of Liberty (from this distance was enough apparently) we decided to get some lunch and found a lovely restaurant on the riverside. Merchants River House; it was amazing. We got beautiful food along with a few cocktails, we’re Scottish we start drinking early. The food was just incredible, I had got sundried tomato crusted cod with a vegetable risotto and I scranned the lot!

Our next stop for the day was the Brooklyn Bridge, we walked down to it, grabbing an ice cream along the way. We also quickly discovered Clare has an obsession with bridges which we didn’t give up the entire trip; everytime we seen or crossed one it was pointed out to her. We then got the underground to Grand Central Station before deciding we had done enough sightseeing for the day and we needed a drink in our lives. We headed towards a a Scottish bar (as you do when you’re Scottish and see one elsewhere) I can’t even remember the name of the pun but it was just off times square with an Irish pub literally next door? Anyway we had one drink and left to go to the Irish pub because the service was atrocious! Needless to say we had more fun in the Irish pub!

Being slightly tipsy we felt it was time for some food in our lives, found somewhere selling pizza,  our eyes were bigger than our bellies. Then headed back to the motel. 

June 4th:

Our last day in NYC! Once again getting the shuttle in and we went straight for food, heading to Applebee’s! I got steak (the first of many on this trip) followed by s’mores churros which unfortunately weren’t as good as we thought they would be but still good nonetheless. We hit up Macy’s first and then Central Park was on the agenda for us today we we walked up there and walked our way through a small part of Central Park before stopping at a lovely wee bench and enjoying the view around us. I was so glad I was back here, and I got to see parts of the park I hadn’t seen last time. 

 

After relaxing for a while we decided upon going to Coney Island and headed towards the subway (after some detours along the way) we got to Coney Island at least an hour and a half later if not longer. We mostly walked around, enjoying the view in front of us before grabbing some food and then heading towards the big wheel. Now being someone that’s scared of heights I tend to stay away from these monstrosities but somehow I found myself on it, the experience not being too bad if I’m honest. Now back home we’ve tried our deep fried Mars bars, so when we seen deep friend items on a menu we had to try them. We decided to go for the oreos, which was definitely a good choice! After getting the subway back and the shuttle back to the motel that was our time in NYC over and done with. 

Our first week in America was almost complete..