Saturday, 30 May 2015

American Adventures - Chapter One...

Hey everyone! Hazel Houdini is back from her vanishing act to finally fill you in on my tales from across the Atlantic. Why on earth has this taken me so long? I've been in a serious state of post-travel depression, and it's been seriously difficult to shake. Between feeling down about not being stateside, working, and maintaining the functions of a normal adult, I've not had the opportunity to sit down and pour out every little detail to you, and I'm sorry it's taken forever. I'm very aware it's been well over a month since I landed back on British soil! But here I am now!

 
Last month I went on the most amazing adventure I've ever embarked on in my life. I had the amazing opportunity to travel to America with my uni course, and I'm so glad I took the chance and went. We flew out to Las Vegas, spent a few days in the city, before road-tripping around via Kanab, Marble Canyon, San Jaun and Flagstaff, and eventually winding up back in Vegas again. We crossed three states, Nevada, Arizona and Utah, and visited loads of iconic places such as The Grand Canyon, Route 66, and Monument Valley. I saw and experienced so many weird and wonderful things, that I can't wait to share with you.
 
 
Because we did so much within the two weeks, trying to cram it into one post seems cruel and rushed, I honestly wouldn't be doing the trip justice at all. Therefore, I've decided to spread it out into 'chapters' if you will, of my amazing American adventures.
 
Chapter One - Vegas
 
 
Oh Vegas, you won me over completely. As soon as we arrived, I was immediately aware of how small I felt in comparison to the city. Huge towers of hotels looked down on me, and the scale of grandeur was incredible. After we arrived (in a sandstorm nonetheless), and the jetlag began to fade, we were able to get really stuck into the city, exploring the many elaborate hotels and casinos that litter the strip. My favourite hotel by far was New York New York. Anyone who knows me will know that New York City owns my heart and soul, and NYNY was a perfect simulation of the real thing. The hotel completely absorbed itself into the theme, that there were moments when you could find yourself doubting that you were far from the real thing. The Bellagio Fountains were such a highlight of Vegas, I was incredibly impressed, it was like nothing else I've ever seen before. If you ever find yourself in Vegas, you need to get yourself to the Bellagio to watch the fountains 'dance' every 15 minutes, it's completely free, and it's one of those things that will amuse you much more than it really should.
 
(New York New York)
 
One evening, we found ourselves away from the busy strip, and on Freemont Street in 'Downtown Las Vegas'. Freemont Street can only be described as a poor mans Las Vegas, with all the novelties you can expect to find in the heart of the city, but for a fraction of the cost. Here, nudity is everywhere, with half naked girls dancing on bars, and old women with saggy tits wondering round, charging for photos to be taken with them (No I didn't before you even ask). Freemont felt more like the Vegas experience I'd expected thanks to films such as The Hangover, much tackier and carefree, and with the attitude that anything goes. I mean, for goodness sake, there was a casino there called "The D", and it has a shop selling "I 'Heart' The D" merch. If that isn't an obvious display of the kinds of craziness you can find in Vegas I don't know what is..
 
 
Shopping in Vegas broke me and my bank account into a million little pieces. Gone was my sensible budgeting for the entire trip as soon as I set foot into the MAC store. It was magical, I got a mini-makeover and felt bloody wonderful for the rest of the day. Within the first few days of the trip, the 11 of us fell into two groups, based pretty much upon those who wanted to shop on the first day, and those who wanted to explore. It pretty much stayed the same for the duration of the trip, but the girls I hung out with and I got really close in America, after all, nothing bonds girls better than shopping! And boy, did we shop! It felt as if no store was left 'unshopped' in Vegas, but it was brilliant. I loved every single second, I just wish I had a bottomless bank account to really relax and enjoy it.
 
(I'll confess, I didn't take many 'in-action' shopping pictures, but who has time to take pictures when there's serious shopping to be done??)
 
One obvious difference between the UK and the US, is the attitudes towards guns. I've never been able to get my head around the idea of owning guns, personally I don't see them as necessary, but that's just based on my own circumstances in life. Whilst I was in Vegas, we all went to a gun store, and had the opportunity to fire a gun. "Why not, when in Vegas" I thought, so I picked out a handgun, and got to fire 20 bullets (pretty awfully) towards a target. It was ridiculously unnatural, it would appear that I'm not cut out for the thug life, because ultimately I was incredibly shit at it. If anything, I've learnt that should a zombie apocalypse happen, a gun is definitely not my weapon of choice.
 
 (Minus the horrendous headphones, I reckon I look pretty damn badass..)
 
One experience I never thought I'd have in Vegas was to go hiking, which we got to do at Red Rock Canyon. Vegas is completely surrounded by conservation land, something I didn't know prior to the trip, and we took part in a challenging hike up to a view point to look down on the city. Firstly, I know what you're thinking, me...HIKING?!?! You're not wrong, this was my reaction as well, but honestly, I really enjoyed it, which surprised me a lot. Secondly, the view was incredible, like seriously worth the struggle of getting there. The whole experience is one of my biggest achievements (I don't care how lame this is), even though I did manage to fall sideways into a cactus halfway up. (Which then tanned horrifically during the rest of the trip, and I still have marks on the back of my hand which didn't tan because they were covered in scabs, lush right?)
 
(Little me with Las Vegas in the distance..)
 
The next morning we left Vegas and began our adventures on the open road, which I will save for the next instalment. I'm off to Edinburgh tomorrow (June 1st), which is just another adventure waiting to be blogged about!
 
Much love
 
 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Update: All the crazy things going on in my crazy life...

I did the very thing I promised I wouldn't do anymore - I didn't blog for an entire month. I know, it's incredibly shameful (when will I ever learn?!), but even though I spent half of April out of the country - which yes, you will definitely be hearing about in my next post -, I really had no other excuse. I've been up to my eyeballs in making crazy plans to ensure that 2015 will be the best year yet. 2015 is also shaping up to be my least financially secure year yet, I'm falling into the habit of booking things before I've fully paid off the previous plans...
 
 
So what have I got going on which are distracting me so from you? Let me divulge...
  1. My grand adventures in the U.S.A - I won't go into this much now, I'll save all of that for next week, but it was truly one of the best experiences of my life. I saw such incredible things, pushed myself further than I thought I could (I went hiking. I know, ME, hiking?), and made some awesome friends along the way. It's certainly going to be difficult to top this trip for a very long time.
  2. Twin Atlantic....again! - Definitely not a bad thing. What can I say, Em has got me hooked on Twin Atlantic, so we're seeing them again this week in London!
  3. Finishing Second Year of Uni - Can this hurry up already? Currently I have 4 assignments to hand in before I can officially say I'm 2/3 of the way through my degree. It's all getting a bit scary now (And I still have no idea what I'm doing with my life...eek!)
  4. Edinburgh - My housemate Em (who I'm sure you're all starting to quite fondly know and love after all the time I blog about her), and I have booked a couple of days in Edinburgh at the start of June. We did this for several reasons; to continue our two-woman trek of places in the UK, to get more tattoos, and so Em can meet the Scottish man of her dreams. I only hope her quest is more successful than mine, we all know how my plans to escape to Ireland and elope went...
  5. Wildlife Festival - Straight after we come back from Edinburgh, Em and I are off to sunny Brighton to go to Wildlife festival! What is Wildlife, I hear you cry? It's a festival set up by Disclosure and Rudimental, two of my all-time musical loves. Some of my absolute music faves will be there, including Disclosure and Rudimental of course, such as Sam Smith, George Ezra, Years and Years, B. Traits, Jess Glynne and Mark Ronson.
  6. New York City - So my mum decided to drop the incredible bombshell that she wants to take me to NYC for my 21st this October! I don't want to jinx this because nothing is officially booked yet, but this is looking to be absolutely incredible.
  7. Michael McIntyre - Em and I have had this booked for literally forever now. The weekend after my 21st we are going up to London to see Michael McIntyre and go out on LND town. How exciting!!
  8. Another Field Trip to the USA - It looks as though I'll be heading back stateside in January on a 'Civil Rights Pilgrimage', basically a trip around the American South, visiting places of great interest and importance during the Civil Rights Movement. I've been studying this since I was 17, so you can't begin to understand how much I'm really looking forwards to this.
As you can see, I seem to have caught the travelling bug pretty badly. With the likelihood I'll be stateside three times within one year, you can understand why my bank account is currently hating me too.
 
 
I also just quickly wanted to say how crazy it is to see people are still reading my blog on a daily basis, even though I'm hardly a regular poster! Last month I had the most page views since the month I started blogging, and I didn't even post once, which is just pure madness. I don't deserve all the page views for sure, but thank you all so much for reading all my random ramblings, recommending my blog to your friends, and checking in every now and again. I'm truly blessed and grateful. It's because of you wonderful people I'll try to keep writing.
 
 
 
Much love