Side travel – where I’ve been, what I’ve seen and done

I came to The States with no set plans to travel, not knowing when I’ll get the chance to travel or if I’ll have anyone to travel with! However, I have been lucky enough to be able to travel with friends I’ve made at college and have family and friends come all the way from Australia to come and see me.  Having spontaneous trips here and there has been a blast and it’s so interesting to see how each place in The States is so different. The culture, the people, sightseeing – is so distinct in each place.

 

Within a month of studying abroad my suitemate had asked me if I was interested in going to Houston, Texas with her. I never thought I’d ever go to Texas, but thought it would be an interesting experience. We went for Mexican Independence Day, which is a significant event. As she is Mexican, her family organised a float for a parade, which I was able to be a part of! It was nice to see a lot of people giving back to the community by organising this event, which was extremely enjoyable. There were floats, dancers, music, freebies and this walk goes around the city. Along with this, I was also able to go shop in the Galleria (a massive shopping centre), and was able to drive around the city and different parts of Houston, which I didn’t know was widely Mexican-influenced.

 

I was also fortunate enough to have my cousin visit The States from Australia. So I met him in Las Vegas with two friends from college. Las Vegas was really interesting to see. It is unlike anything I’ve ever seen… it is CRAZY! It was fun to go to the different hotels and casinos as well as check out the nightlife. I also have an aunt living there in the suburbs so we were able to catch up with her since we haven’t seen her in years!

 

After Vegas, my cousin and I travelled to Los Angeles where I have another aunt living there (yes, I have plenty of family in The States). Here we were able to re-live childhood by visiting Disneyland and Universal Studios which were a blast! We went to Santa Monica and from there did a bike ride to Venice Beach, which was absolutely beautiful. Also saw Muscle Beach along the way. I had also missed being by a beach so much so this was great. We also did a celebrity beach house tour around Malibu where we were able to see celebrity beach homes, shops, and beaches! We also stopped off at one of the private beaches.

 

After Los Angeles, my cousin and I made our way to New York City! I was extremely excited to see New York, especially because I didn’t think I would get the chance as it is quite far from Denver where I am situated. Anyone going to New York City I would also recommend purchasing the ‘New York Pass’, which allows entry to 80+ attractions, and you choose the number of days you want as well as unlimited use of the buses.  New York was definitely the busiest place we went to and our days were non-stop. We were able to do bus tours around the city both uptown and downtown, see the Rockerfeller Centre, Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, Times Square, Central Park, National Museum of the American Indian, ride the subway, see Soho, the Meat Packing District, Little Italy and China Town, the Brooklyn Bridge and ofcourse eat New York pizza which is amazing! We also spontaneously bought Chicago tickets, which was great to watch. I definitely fell in love with this city.

 

I have made so many unforgettable memories during my time here studying abroad. Even though it is sometimes tough to squeeze in some travelling because time is going so fast, it is definitely 100% worth it. I plan on doing a little more side travel in my short time here, and I HIGHLY recommend doing it while studying abroad.