Travelling in America as a 19-year-old
Updated: Aug 22, 2021
After spending the summer working at a camp in Pennsylvania (click here to read that one) and meeting loads of new people, the general plan afterwards is to do a bit of travelling.
Most people visit a few states before heading back to reality, or in my case, second year of university.
My first bit of advice: don't prebook anything before you go to camp. Similarly to freshers, you're made to feel like you should book onto all sorts of events and trips, but the truth is that the majority of people make plans with the people from their camp once they're already there.
These plans start to happen about half way through camp. Your nights off consist of deciding where you want to go, and from there you work out who you are going with.
I decided to stick to the east coast. My specific camp was only a couple of hours from New York anyway so it made sense! Next, the route was planned and flights/coaches were booked, giving us 10 days to travel round New York, Washington DC, and Boston.
I did originally plan on staying longer, but as I was 19 at the time (and therefore below drinking age) I decided I'd go back to do the west coast in a few years - that trip is still pending.
Leaving the bubble that was camp life took a while to get used to. Our camp gave us five days off for the whole summer, so we hadn't had much freedom in a while.
Suddenly you're able to choose what you wear, what you eat, and when you do things - all things we had lived without for eight weeks.
We did all the 'touristy' things, ate a lot, and just generally mooch around exploring. What I couldn't live without when I was out there? Uber, airbnb, and a portable phone charger.
One of the best moments of summer was the skydive I did in Baltimore. It had always been on my bucket list, and it made sense to do it then.
Whilst in DC - which was my favourite outside of NYC - I left my group behind and headed off on the train to nearby Baltimore. It was actually really nice being alone for a good chunk of the day because at camp you're NEVER alone.
One train ride and an uber later, and I was sat in an airfield waiting to jump and buzzing with nerves and excitement. What was annoying was that you didn't have a set time to jump. You book in a slot, turn up, and then wait for your name to be called.
I arrived around lunchtime, but of course I didn't want anything to eat because I felt sick, and didn't want to jump with a full stomach. I had a very anxious two hours of waiting, with my adrenaline constantly building.
When my name was called I got the gear on and rather than my instructor telling me what to do, I got told nothing. I asked for instructions and got the reply of 'Oh I’ll tell you when we’re up there don’t stress'...awesome.
The plane took off with six sets of people ready to jump, and who had put herself as first to jump? That was me.
Getting up there didn’t take long, and until you start hovering in mid-air and the door just disappears, everything seems pretty normal.
What followed was 50 seconds of freefall followed by seven minutes of gliding and loop-the-looping through the sky. The feeling of freefall was incredible!
I video called my family after to tell them what had just happened. As I'd given given them no warning beforehand, their reaction was priceless.
The whole experience finished off an epic summer and one I will never forget!