Bet you thought I made a spelling mistake in the title right? Well if you say it like its spelt then you’re talking like a Bostonian. The accents of the true Bostonians are awesome; you could listen to them all day as they talk about going to the pahk (park) and drinking some beeahs (beers), they’re also friendly and helpful as hell.
The city itself is diverse and is full of business professionals whilst at the same time being popular with the younger crowd resulting in the city being pretty hipster with a lot of cool bars and pubs which reminded me of Shoreditch or Islington in London. As well as the people, the city is also pretty cool. When you arrive you instantly notice the red brick buildings that fill Boston as well as the countless bridges that span the water surrounding the city which I personally think look great.
As far as attractions are concerned the Museum of fine arts (MFA) is well worth a visit. I’m not usually into art museums but this one was pretty cool. There was art from over a thousand years ago to the present day from all over the world. We spent about 3 hours there but that still wasn’t enough time to see all the exhibits. Harvard and MIT campuses are close together but in my opinion can be skipped unless you like to look at the architecture of buildings for the whole day as there is not actually much to do there other than the tours of the campuses. Fenway Park is worth a visit though. There is an hour tour where you go into the changing rooms and media box but I was happy with the 15 minute tour which is great if you want to save time and money whilst also seeing the most important parts of the grounds. The monument to the battle of Bunker Hill is the other notable attraction worth a visit. The staircase to the top is long, winding and narrow but the views over the city are good and the centre of the monument is hollow with an iron grill on the top which you can walk over and look down to the bottom. The main reason I’d recommend a visit to Bunker Hill is for the guy who was talking outside dressed in old revolutionary battle gear. He talked about the battle in such great detail and was so enthusiastic to the point where I started imagining the battle going on around us and couldn’t stop listening.
In Boston we saw two sides of the night life on offer. On our first night out we went to meet a friend from camp in Newbury Street in central Boston. Unfortunately things didn’t work out and we couldn’t meet her but we decided stayed on the street and visited a couple of bars. Newbury Street is what you would call affluent; the street is lined with designer clothes and jewellery shops. After getting talking to a couple of ladies at the bar It turned out to be where the entrepreneurs and successful business people hung out, although surprisingly this wasn’t reflected in the alcohol prices which was a pleasant surprise. We stayed out for a few drinks in a couple of fancy looking bars and learnt a lot about the upper echelons of Boston which was interesting to get into a glimpse into the world of artists, film directors and entrepreneurs. However ultimately it wasn’t our scene so we left to get the last train home. The second night we travelled to Haymarket. This part of Boston is full of bars, pubs and a few street performers all along one big strip and attracts a mixture of locals and tourists. Most of the bars in this area have live music and it is basically just a big party all the way down the street. The crowd here is a mixture of people ranging from the young to any age but it works out and everyone enjoys themselves. This area was definitely more our scene and a cab ride at 2am was the only way home.
The only downside to Boston is the price. It’s the 6th most expensive city in the world for accommodation and the 1st most expensive city listed on Airbnb. This was reflected in the hostel prices; we looked for hostels in the centre of the city but it was about $70 a night and they were all sold out anyway. We eventually found a hostel just over the river but it was still pretty expensive at $55 a night. Boston also has the most road tunnels out of any city I’ve visited and as a result is a nightmare for GPS’s. We missed multiple turnings whilst searching for our hostel due to the GPS not working in the tunnels then taking time to catch up once out the tunnel. We ended up driving around Boston for about 2 hours on arrival looking for our hostel. However, we actually didn’t mind because we weren’t rushed for time and had fun exploring the city.
All in all Boston is a great city. It’s so diverse and we managed to see different sides of the city in just the 2 nights. There’s plenty for sightseers to do as well as sports fans and those that just want to enjoy their food and drink. There’s plenty to do at a night time as well with Haymarket being the go to place for most people. The city also has some great parks that are great to chill out in on a hot summer’s day. I hoped that we could meet up with our friend who could have hopefully shown us parts of Boston off the beaten track. However, I’m sure I’ll be back in Boston again when I can explore the city some more and rekindle my love for the Bostonian accent…
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
Below is VLOG #1 of us leaving camp and trying out our new rental car in New Hampshire!
So the day arrived where the majority of staff including myself was to leave camp. Some people were going straight home whilst others like Kyle, Marc and I were to start travelling around the USA before returning home. In the morning a final checkout was completed to make sure our accommodation was in good condition. I also took the opportunity to write mine and Kyle’s names into history by writing our names, year and ‘Whif Whaf Champions’ onto one of the beams in our room.
After this we said goodbye to everyone that we could find and the 3 of us guys headed with Becca who would be our driver to a van to start our big American adventure. We were on our way to collect a rental car that I had booked for a week and were going to drive to the White Mountains in New Hampshire in order to summit Mount Washington. We were then going to find accommodation near the mountain overnight and head to Boston the next day.
Now that camp is over and I can basically do what I want with my time and I’m going to experiment a bit with Vlogging. I’ve been following a couple of Vloggers on YouTube, namely FunForLouis and CaseyNeistat who I’ve really grown to like. I’ve always liked videoing things so I thought I’d give it a go out here whilst I have time to record and edit footage. I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to put one out every day or every couple of days but I have 3 weeks travelling and I’m going to aim for a minimum of 10 videos documenting individual days which I think is more than possible. Countdown to VLOG #1 commencing….
The end of family camp and week in the woods at Arcadia signaled the coming of the end of our time at Arcadia. Once the final campers had left from Week in The Woods we had two days where we set down the camp as winter was coming. Maine winters are harsh with frozen lakes you can skate on, snow drifts up to 10ft and freezing temperatures. as a result everything has to be put into storage.
This was actually a great couple of days; the work we were doing was hard but everyone was in high spirits because we knew that camp was coming to an end and travelling was coming soon. The staff was split into two teams and I was in the waterfront team. Our responsibilities were mainly setting down the waterfront and taking all the sailboats, row boats, canoes and kayaks onto land, cleaning them and then putting them into storage. Myself and Becca, a trips counsellor, literally swam from the docks to the beach with sailing boats and row boats behind us in order to get them onto land. Once on land they were moved by tractor further up the hill in order to be cleaned. We were given a hose, sponges and water buckets and whilst the cleaning was completed to an extremely high standard there were numerous water fights in the hot Maine summer day. Whilst we were cleaning the boats the tractor that was lifting canoes further up the hill drove past with Kyle and Kevin sitting inside them. Of course as we had a hose they were soaked. However, Steve the tractor driver lifted the canoes higher in the air to help them get out the spray zone but the canoes wobbled so much that they nearly fell off the tractor. This caused the funniest faces of panic on Kevin’s and Kyles faces that I’ve seen in ages.
Whilst some canoes were going up the hill, the other ‘red canoes’ were to stay down the hill to be stored in the point cabin which is near the beach. As well as the canoes we also had to store the stands on which they stood during the summer in the cabins. This involved rearranging the beds already there to make as much room as possible. Getting the canoes in the cabin was not an issue as you just had to lift them up the cabin steps and just pivot a few times. However the canoe stands were the issue. Four long pieces of wood in the shape of a square with a leg on each corner proved impossible to get into the cabin for about 30 minutes. We then questioned whether they were actually meant to go in this cabin at all. We tried another entrance to the same cabin that didn’t work and then returned to the original entrance where we sat down and had a think about our strategy. We eventually figured out a chain of movements that would somehow magically allow the stand to go into the cabin. It was so complicated that we got another counsellor to record it on their phone in order for future staff to see how it is done so they don’t waste time banging the stands against the cabin door frames.
Once everything was packed away after a solid two days work, camp was set down for the winter and we were preparing to leave camp the next day.
The arrival of family camp and week in the woods signalled a change in the lifestyle of counsellors. Our day to day lives were more relaxed and we had more free time to join in activities that we had an interest in.
I took the opportunity to join the daily swim to the villa when I could. This was a half mile swim to a beach that was on camp property then you had the option to swim the half mile back as well. The swim left at 10am every morning and during the two camps it depended on my lesson schedule whether or not I could go but I managed to join 3 of the swims. The swim was pretty cool as it was in clear water the whole way and you swam over fallen trees and could see the bottom pretty much all the time. One of the parents who swam to the villa was a ping pong coach and he joined the non-lodgers in a game one day. We’d been playing pretty much every day all summer and he taught us a few new skills including the Chinese style pencil hold which is going to take some getting used to as it is so different to the normal hold style!
The food aspect of our lives at camp also improved dramatically. As there were now families living in camp who were paying very good money to be there, the food had to better than it was when the girls were here which was pretty questionable sometimes. We now had salmon and steak on regular occasions as well as a lot of fajitas! There was also happy hour every day on the porch before dinner which was a treat as we had prawns cooked in front of us by the kitchen staff which was so tasty.
Around half the staff had left after the reunion and it was mainly international staff left at camp along with a couple of Americans. Among the people who left after the reunion were three of the people myself and Kyle hung around most with; Sasha, Katie and Kayleigh. As a result we found new people to talk to which was pretty interesting as there were people you hadn’t really talked to all summer. You find out these people are really cool and you wonder why you didn’t talk to them all summer but it was all situational as you were probably never in the same areas until the final two camps.
As our lifestyle changed I’d say I started to feel myself more. We were all getting more sleep so it seemed that I wasn’t constantly a zombie walking around camp anymore. That along with the improved food, the chance to engage in your chosen activities as well as talk to people you hadn’t much before made the last two week of working at camp and enjoyable and interesting time. I for one was chirpier and a lot more energetic which was a nice change.
Following the reunion we we’re quickly back into camp mode for one week of Family Camp then another week after that called Week In the Woods. Family camp was where family’s stayed in the cabins, and could engage in any of the activities available on camp. Week In The Woods was very similar but there were also couples staying in the cabins.
The schedule during these two weeks was more relaxed than when the girls were here. During the day I had one on one swimming lessons with the children that signed up for swimming. It was very different to teaching the previous campers as these kids at family camp actually couldn’t swim so I was teaching kids how to swim instead of working with children that could already swim like during the main camp. The parents were also at the beach watching and were paying the camp good money for 30 minute lessons so there was a bit more added pressure than there was during the previous camp sessions. I also had less experience in teaching younger kids as I had worked with the older children during the summer so for these two camps I’d probably say I felt less prepared as two of the children I were to be teaching were 3 and a couple of other were 5 and 6. To add to this one of the 3 year old girls was a relative of the camp director. No pressure Michael.
When I found out I would be teaching this age group I jiggled my brain about to try and remember games and teaching techniques I’d seen other swim teachers use back home while I was working as a lifeguard. I also Googled games and songs to use and after about an hour or so I felt relatively prepared as I had a list of games that aim to build children’s confidence in the water which is the first step to learning how to swim!
The first lessons went well as I had lot of games and the kids wanted to play the games that I suggested. Sometimes they really had trouble focusing but they’re very young so it was expected. As they were so young they also became cold very quickly if the water wasn’t at its warmest so some lessons had to be cut short. However over the days you could see the children’s confidence increase in the water and they were not as upset as they used to be when water went on their faces. As the week progressed I kind of found myself running out of ideas for the lessons but I think I just about had enough different games and songs in to last the amount of lesson I had without repeating too much.
All in all teaching swimming at family camp was a new experience for me. I had never really had experience with one on one lessons with such young children before so I was slightly apprehensive. However I helped myself out by drawing from my pat experience watching lessons as well as doing some research so I was prepared for the lessons. This showed in some comments I received from parent saying they wished they sent their child to more swim lessons and they appreciated the work I did. Safe to say I learnt a lot.