The travel company that we toured the USA with, Trek America, turned 40 years old this year. I was so excited when they contacted me to ask if they could feature mine and Gary's story on their website to celebrate. They asked me to write a bit about 'how trek changed my life' so that they could put it in the story, along with this blog.
You can see us on the website here.
I am also going to copy down what I wrote for them here, because I'm sure we are not going to be on their website forever, and I actually really like what I wrote. I think it sums up our Trek America experience perfectly.
My experience on Trek America definitely changed my life. I have loved the USA for as long as I can remember, and it was always my dream to go and travel around the states, luckily for me, my boyfriend Gary shared the same dream. In 2009, we decided to start saving up to go travelling, with no real idea of what we would do or where we would go, but we always knew that the USA would be a big part of the trip. Soon after I started researching and found Trek America, and as soon as I showed Gary the itinerary of the ‘Trailblazer’ we both knew that we had to do it. Fast forward 2 years to August 2011, we had got engaged, saved up a lot of money, both quit our jobs and were ready for the adventure of a lifetime.
The night before the tour started, sitting in our hotel room in Los Angeles, I was so scared. I was worried about sleeping in tent and cooking dinner for people, and so scared that I wouldn’t be able to make friends with the other people in our group. In reality I could not have had a better experience. Firstly, I grew up so much, at 22 years old I had always lived with my parents and not done anything for myself, and it was so amazing to finally grow up and be independent. Sleeping in a tent and camping was also incredibly fun and I actually really miss it now. Secondly, the people I met on Trek America are the best friends I have ever had. I count myself lucky every day that I had the opportunity to meet all these wonderful people and make friends that really will last a lifetime. The greatest part about it for us was that there were 2 groups doing our tour at the same time, so we got to meet double the amount of people!
Before we had even left the UK, Gary and I had talked a few times about maybe getting married in Vegas, but eventually had decided against it because we were planning a big wedding in a few years time in Florida that we were really excited about. However, when we were getting towards the end of the Trailblazer, and getting closer to Vegas, we were the happiest we have ever been in our lives, so decided that there was no better time to get married. Our brand new Trek America family were amazing throughout the whole time. We took our closest friends with us to the wedding and it was the most special night, and I was so glad that we got to have them there with us.
The night after the wedding was even more perfect. We had a surprise Trek America wedding reception at camp in San Diego, and it was the very best night of my life. Our amazing new friends had planned a whole night, we had food and drinks, they had decorated the entire camp and we played loads of fun games. These people that I had only met 9 weeks ago had put so much effort and love into this for us. I am so thankful for the memories that they have given us, and I really will love them forever for it, nothing in my life will ever compare to that night.
Sadly, 2 days later it was time for our trip to end! Saying goodbye to Trek America and the incredible friends that I got to share it with was one of the most heartbreaking things I have ever done. There were so many tears when it was time to leave, but I am so glad that we had such a great experience, and the memories will be with me forever.
My Trek America memories will always be a huge part of my life, now that we are back home and living a regular boring life going to work every day, the memories and mementos of our trip are a lovely reminder of the time we had. In our little flat we have a lot of things that we can look at every day that remind us of our trip. I made 10 huge photo collages that we have on our walls, and all the pressed pennies that I collected, along with magnets and Gary’s poker chips that he collected in Vegas are stuck on our fridge and freezer. We also have a big drawer full of everything else we accumulated on the trip, restaurant receipts, friendship bracelets we made, wristbands, red cups, 3d glasses, and Mardi Gras beads from New Orleans to name a few. My favourite thing is the little bag I have full of our wedding things though, decorations from the camp and our tent, and a card signed by all the trekkers!
My time on the Trailblazer was the most life changing experience I have ever had, and I am so happy that Gary and I decided to get married on Trek America because it made our Trek even more extraordinary. Our Trek America wedding will be something that will be so special to us for the rest of our lives, and I will love telling the story of it for as long as people will listen. It’s crazy for me to think that in the space of 9 weeks people that started as strangers became our best friends, that is what made the whole experience even more perfect.
The USA is such a beautiful and exciting country, getting to see it through a Trek America tour was the greatest way to do it. I wish that I could do it all over again. Happy 40th Birthday Trek America!