For a while, I’ve wanted to write about my contiki in 2014.
I hadn’t started my blog yet when I traveled then but I definitely want to do a review on the tour. So I what I think I’ll do, is an over all overview of the contiki, then another blog of each of the place we stopped in at!
The tour started on a rainy morning in downtown New York at the Doubltree By Hilton, Chelsea. The night before, most of us met in the lobby for a quick meet and greet and exchange paperwork of insurance and passports with our contiki manager Craig, a typical American with a very strong southern accent, which threw me at first. Christ, what am I doing? Why on earth did I book this trip, everyone is terrifying me!
My anxiety of new people went into overdrive and I was stuck in the middle of a tiny cramped lobby with 30 or so other people introducing themselves to everyone while I managed to back my way out of the group after I had given my copies of the paper work and nudged towards the elevator and back to my room to try to get a good nights sleep after an extensive day of trying to get over my jet lag and the fact that I thought I had made the biggest mistake of my life by coming overseas.
I missed home, my family and my friends already and I had only been out of the country for no more than 48 hours and I still had 30 something days to go!
Mel, pull yourself together, you are going to enjoy this trip no matter what!
The next day we all jumped in the bus and spent the next few hours playing ‘get to know you’ games before reaching our first destination, Boston. We did the touristy stuff in Boston for a couple of days then headed up on the bus to Canada!
We explored in Quebec City, Montreal and of course Toronto where we hit up way too many bars and drank way too much vodka to have our last trip in Canada at the beautiful Niagara Falls.
Before we crossed the border back into the States, we stopped in at the duty free store to stock up for the rest of the trip with more alcoholic goodies.
Next stop, Cleveland Ohio! We only spent one afternoon/night here. We ventured through the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame then spent the night ten pin bowling.
Over the coming days we stopped in at Chicago Illinois, Madison Wisconsin, Sioux Falls South Dakota, the incredible Badlands’ National Park, the tiny historic town of Walldrug and Mt. Rushmore. I got to go to my first baseball game and check in at the Spam Factory (needless to say, like most days we were hung over and the spam tastings were an interesting experience to say the least).
One place I remember fondly is Keystone, a town next to Mt. Rushmore that I loved the little old town and I was caught it wanderlust of it all. A few of us spent an evening in the most amazing bar I have ever seen.
It was a cross between an old wooden small town bar, and a thrift shop. Yeah I’m serious, and I’ll go into more detail about it in my other blog and review about each town.
The next day would have been my favorite part of the bus trip by far!
We drove from Keystone through to the Wyoming Mountain Ranges, where for the first time ever, I saw snow. The forty or so of us proceeded to have a snow ball fight then return to the bus with blue frozen fingers and toes. It was totally worth it though 🙂
The following days were spent in numerous national parks and time for some fresh air! We visited Yellowstone National Park, went on a horse ride through a local ranch, hiked through Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park and finally, the one and only Grand Canyon!
We finished off our trip by spending three amazing days in Las Vegas where, like usual, we drank too much, spent too much and partied too much. It was the final hoorah for the contiki trip so we made the most of Las Vegas before everyone parting ways in Los Angeles, not without several tears and hugs and exchanges of phone numbers.
Contiki’s are infamous for that, creating bonds and friendships like no other. Not only are you travelling to incredible places for the first, and potentially one and only time, but you are sharing that experience and wanderlust with 49 other travellers.
People who are inspired by the world and want to achieve so much. Some already have achieved so much which inspires everyone else even more.
Thank you contiki for creating life long lasting memories and friendships for me with like minded travelers and world seekers.