So you know when you think of American colleges (university’s) you think of beer pong, red cups, the different social groups, pristine campuses and high level sports? It looks like so much fun and you wish it was real life right? Well before we visited our friend Katie at a college in Rhode Island I was sceptical whether it was true or not, but alas, the visit proved that the movies weren’t actually lying and it is actually reality!
After a 2 and a half hour drive from Boston where we sped past a cop car and were lucky not to get pulled over, we crossed over from the state of Massachusetts into the State of Rhode Island. The GPS was taking us straight to the campus and to get there we had to cross several bridges over the coastal and bay area of Rhode Island which were beautiful themselves and had breath-taking views.
We arrived at the college and parked up on a street just off campus. We had no means of communicating with her so just started wandering around her campus kind of just hoping to bump into her. The campus itself was gorgeous; perfectly cut lawns, fountains in the middle of lakes, blue and white wooden cladded blocks of flats and plenty of statues. After a while we eventually accepted that we weren’t going to bump into her wandering around so we asked a couple of groups of students if they knew her (another long shot I know). Unsurprisingly at a campus with 5000 students the answer was no. We needed to contact her. We walked to the college library wanting to the use the computers to message Katie. We were expecting to be turned away as we weren’t students, but somehow we just strolled in, said hi to the receptionists, walked through the barriers with no questions asked and found a computer that somebody had forgotten to log out of. I logged onto Facebook, told her where we were and she said she’d come get us. After a few minutes we saw her walk across the lawn and into the library and we were reunited with one of our closest friends from over the summer!
Once reunited we headed to Katie’s accommodation where we were going to spend two nights. The accommodation was great, although we’d be sleeping on the floor, the rooms were like apartments and were really spacious whereas in England you’re stuck with your little cupboard to live in like Harry Potter.
We then headed to the college canteen as we hadn’t eaten all day. This was where we first really had a taste of American college life. The canteen was full of students and It was so interesting to people watch; the groups you see in the films kind of existed to. The food was good as well with lots of choice and some of it was actually pretty healthy! That night we attended a dorm party off campus where we played many games of beer pong, talked to lots of American students and were asked to ‘say something!’ in our accents about 1462 times. It turned out to be a great night and we woke up the next morning all piled into Katie’s dorm feeling a little worse for the wear.
The day was now Sunday and Katie had Work due on Monday so we decided to leave her be for the day and visit the local coastal town of Newport. Although quite touristy, Newport is a nice place to visit as it has tons of bars, restaurants and shops available at your leisure. Whilst you’re not ogling the Maserati’s driving past or the massive yachts in the harbours there are also a series of cliff walks available as well as multiple beaches that are all worth a visit. Rejects beach, named as there is a beach nearby which you have to pay for and anyone who doesn’t want to pay goes to Rejects, is the best beach to visit in the area.
Once finished at the beach we headed back to meet Katie who suggested we go to Colt State Park to chill out and relax. If you have the time, this place is well worth a visit; there’s a great little jetty where you can find fisherman all day and it has amazing views over the bay and of Patience Island. It’s also a great place to watch the sunset. We stayed there for about an hour and on our way out in the car we nearly bumped into a Doe and her baby who were running across the road. That night we chilled with Katie and some of her friends on campus then hit the hay as Katie had class the next morning. We Woke up the next morning to Katie returning from her 9am class and realised we had to leave ASAP as we had to return our rental car to New York by 1pm that day. We showered, brushed our teeth and packed ready to go. We then said our goodbyes to Katie wo was great to us over the couple of days we were there. I’m sure I will see her again whether in the USA or across the pond in the UK.
This is Vlog #2 of our first full day of travelling were we drove up Mount Washington, went zip lining and drove to Boston! Enjoy x
So the camp likes to do different things for dinner during the orientation period to help councilors bond. So one day we made our sandwiches in the main lodge then piled into vans and traveled to ‘The ridge’. The Ridge is about 20 minutes drive from camp and is on top of a large hill which has great views across the endless forests of the state of Maine. The ridge had large open spaces of grass and the weather was sunny. The vans parked up and we chilled out while listening to music and eating our lunches. After this we played Ultimate Frisbee, football and birdie on a perch. Birdie on a perch is a game where you get in pairs, one as a birdie and one as a perch. Perches walk around in a circle one direction and birdies walk outside the perches in another circle but in the opposite direction. When ‘birdie on a perch’ is shouted, the birdie must find their perch and jump on their back. Last pair to do this goes out. It’s simple and addictive. Football got pretty intense, tackles were flying in high and fast but everyone was enjoying it and I have to say some decent play was made. We stayed there for a couple of hours having a really chilled time, we then got back in the vans and returned to camp about 8.
The same day as the ridge was also Emma’s, who I met in the airport, birthday. As she was turning 21 the girls organised for us to leave camp and travel into the nearest local town to have drinks and an eat to bite. We all got changed out of our now very over used uniforms and after some trouble getting enough cars to take all 15 of us, we travelled out of camp to the nearest large town of Windham. We went to this little restaurant called Applebee’s which was perfect as it accepted under 21’s as some of our group weren’t legal. At the bar the girls recommended the Blue Moon beer but it was out of stock so I had a similar one which was alright but no ciders were available which was disappointing. I feel like there might be a lack of ciders in the US, which is worrying as it’s my staple back home! The conversation was good as it was all our first real night out and we were still getting to know each other. At camp we’re all so busy we don’t really get too much chance to have a good chat and when we do we just want to go to bed! Us non lodge males all know each other pretty well but as the girls are in their cabins with the kids at night so this was a good opportunity to get to know them better.
Applebee’s was the site of my first food order in America. I have a few friends who had been to the states before and all pretty much said everything is supersized compared to the UK. Excited for this I ordered a steak from the menu expecting a massive piece of cow. What I actually got was 3 pieces of meat and some rice! I was pretty miffed but let it go, knowing not to buy food from the establishment again! This was also my first tipping experience in the States. Don’t get me started on that – just pay your staff a decent wage.
The journey home was fun as Audrey who was driving had a Mumford & Sons CD and all 6 of us in the car absolutely belted it out the whole way home. Once back at camp we once again collapsed onto our beds ready to get back to work the next day.
Well first of all, Hello and thank you for following my adventures. Secondly if you’re reading this, I guess I should introduce myself. My name is Michael and I’m a 23 year old Londoner who has recently graduated from Queen Mary, University of London studying geography BSc. As you have probably guessed by the title of this blog, I like to travel. I like it a lot.
I’ve been lucky enough over the last few years to travel to some amazing places and I’ve decided to set up this blog in order to document them. One reason for this is for personal recollection and another is to share the adventure with others and hopefully encourage people to explore the world and travel.
I guess my love affair with travel started when I was 20. One weekend during my first year of Uni me and two mates got the ‘itch’ and decided to drive to Paris and stay in a great little hostel for 3 nights. It was my first time in a hostel and it felt right from the beginning. Everyone had the same mind-set of meeting new people and just wanted to have a good time. My two mates and I got talking to these 4 Kenya’s and an Israeli chick who we basically spent the weekend with. We went around Paris day and night visiting all the sites, drinking, eating and basically just had a great time. After the weekend was over we said our goodbyes and drove back to London. I left Paris with the decision made that I wanted to travel more and as often as possible.
That summer, funded by working as a lifeguard every day I had off Uni, I Inter-railed around Europe. The next summer I traveled around South East Asia for 2 months (video Below). Now I’m sitting on a coach after flight from London to Boston on my way to start my next adventure; working at a summer camp in the USA. The camp is in the US state of Maine and I’ll be staying there for 11 weeks working as a swim teacher and lifeguard. After this my visa allows me to travel the country for 30 days until I have to return home at the end of September.
Welcome to the adventure.