This is a paid collaboration with e-visa.
It’s safe to say I’ve got travel on my mind again (when do I not?) A combination of the autumn weather well and truly descending, my impending 40th birthday, an Aquarian nature which means we get itchy feet every so often and remembering it’s been 20 years since my exchange year at university in the US means that you can probably guess where I’m thinking of disappearing off to.
The US often gets a bad rep as a travel destination but it’s a country I’ve loved since I lived there as a student in my late teens. I’ve been on several visits since both on holiday and for work and I’m prepared for future travel plans next year with a current ESTA visa after we visited Las Vegas back in July.
Have you travelled to the US? If so what’s your favourite part and if not, would you like to go or is it not on your list? I do understand why it may not be for everyone but if there’s one thing travelling has taught me it’s never to judge a place until you’ve seen it. For UK nationals, the ESTA is a requirement for entering the country which negates the need for a traditional visa and also the old green landing card you’d have to fill out on the plane. They’re valid for two years and cost around $14/$15 for the process which is really straightforward. We’re lucky to have relative freedom to travel (for now) and I genuinely appreciate that opportunity which I know I’m very privileged to be able to enjoy.
I have so many happy memories of US travel, not just from my exchange year. When I finished studying, I travelled up the East Coast with a friend I made at uni there, in 5 budget-friendly weeks before the arrival of the internet. It was a very spur of the moment thing and to this day neither of us can remember how we researched it. Of course that was before the events of 2001, so ESTA wasn’t required but I had a visa anyway so I could study.
After that, Pete and I took our first holiday together to New York, and then started our honeymoon in Los Angeles. We’ve been to Boston and back to New York. I’ve also been lucky enough to have some amazing work trips to Florida over the years and know how lucky I am for those opportunities and to have spent time with such brilliant people.
There’s still so much of the country we’d love to see including the California vineyards, San Francisco, San Diego, Palm Springs, the national parks, the Deep South. A return to Boston either in the spring or in autumn with some travel around New England to see all those beautiful colours. The list is endless and ensuring a valid ESTA is in place means that all of the diversity the US has to offer is fully accessible.
So where does that leave my plans for next year? Well as many of you know I was working full-time until December last year. With some savings put aside this has been a year out to see how life in the freelance world would work out. Whilst I’ve loved every minute of it, I have some hefty financial commitments that freelance life doesn’t necessarily support. We’ve talked about various connotations of me going back to work some time next year, what I’ll do and whether it’s part-time or full-time we haven’t really ironed out.
Beforehand though, Pete really wants me to take a few weeks to myself and go travelling as a 40th birthday present. I’d love to do a road trip and revisit some of the places of my university dissertation where I wrote about the role of women in cultivating the frontier. Old mining towns that still exist albeit deserted. Follow Jack Kerouac’s hedonistic path. Get lost amongst the huge trees of the national parks.
Part of me would nothing more than to do just this. After all, I’m in a relatively rare position for a woman of my age of being able to be entirely self-indulgent. Would I regret not doing this? Would I feel guilty if I did? I know I wouldn’t be lonely (lots of people don’t like solo travel) because to me there’s some quite liberating about being able to march to the beat of your own drum when you go away. No need to worry if other people are ok, it’s a time to be genuinely selfish.
When I sit here and write about it all it feels like the only logical thing for me to do is pack up and go (after some mega planning of course) but then the next day I get stuck into work, the day to day of life and manage to suppress my need to go. I wish there was an easy answer staring me in the face. Pete did say to me though that if I do go, I’m not to expect any dramatic house transformations when I come home, but I think I’d be ok with that.
There we go, some thoughts bubbling round my head about what 2020 may hold in store. A new decade. My 40th year. I’ll definitely keep plans updated via the blog if anything materialises. In the meantime I’d love to know if you have any US travel planned? If you do, don’t forget about your ESTA and to also make sure your passport and the ESTA have at least 6 months validity before they expire – you can never be too prepared. Happy travelling!
This is a paid partnership with e-visa. As always, I only include content on my blog which is relevant to the topics I write about. All words, opinions and images are my own.