We didn't get tshirts made for our trip but we're having a hashtag


Not consulted Emily on this yet but I'm sure she'll be keen
Might get it trending ya'know 

A week to go. Cray

You'll be pleased to know (or not actually care?) that I'm calmer than last week
So thats one thing done off my goals list from my last post.

As for the other goals:
My hair is not shit!! Hallelujah (took me a good few attempts to spell that correctly)
I had faith in my hairdresser and it turned out wonderful
Had a good 5/6 inches hacked off so its goodbye to Hagrid-hair which I've suffered from for months, and hello to my short sleek doo 

(god knows how long it'll stay like that once the heat & humidity gets to it)

I sadly have not found a hat though :( 
It just wasn't meant to be 
What is life
& its just my luck that New York is last on the route otherwise I could have worn my Statue of Liberty foam hat everyday

& I have not made a time-machine which is the worst because the last 2 weeks have dragged sooooooo much!!
At least I only have 4 days left of work

I have however packed which I am so glad I did because if I left it to this weekend I would have had a mare if things didn't fit or didn't have enough things. I think thats the main reason I am calm because I know that my bag will be fine & waaaaay under the weight limit
I hope
I used one of those electronic weighing things and it said it was 10.5KG
- this was everything minus my underwear but really, how heavy can a few bras & knickers be?
So I am praying that is accurate because that means ......

This was my haul from last year so i've got a challenge to beat that lot 
(Fun game: spot the most inappropriate postcard & extra points if you can guess where its from)

Hint: Look to the right :-o
Amsterdam is filth

I just hope the next week goes quite quickly & I can go on holiday in one piece
Everytime I go to the gym or fitness classes I am so scared that its going to be that day that I brake a bone or injure myself somehow
Im actually going to school tomorrow to take part in sports day and be part of the 'past pupils' team.
5 years since my last sports day - can't wait for that buried evil competitiveness to show itself
/ face the shame when I lose to kids 5 years younger than me!
It may not have been the best idea to put my name down for 2 sprints & relay as the likelihood of me hurting myself is high
Oh well - YOLO
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Tapas, Onion Pimms & the Runaway Peppers

Genuinely one of the funniest evenings I've had in a long time!
3 bottles of wine (not all to myself) probably helped but still.

Since my friends (also known as The Fambly) have finished uni or moved away from home it gets harder & harder to organise times to see each other
So whenever we have even a small opening in our diaries we try and make time for each other.

We decided to try out a new tapas restaurant in Rhos called Red Sails 
& it. was. delicious 
(not everyone would agree ... *cough* Bex) 
They had a great offer of any 4 dishes with a bottle of wine for £30

Now us all being tapas virgins (I think) we didn't have a clue how many we'd actually need between 5 of us or what the portion sizes were like - our waiter was like 'some people have 4 each, others have 8, some can manage 12) 
Not really helping mate (Y) :/ 
We chose 12 dishes which meant 3 bottles of wine ... #winning 
& added a meat platter for the lols because who doesn't love meat?

We picked 12 which the majority of us liked the sound of (Bex not so much. Poor girl only liked the sound of about 1 dish haha ... serves you right for suggesting a tapas bar!) 
& dove straight in when the food came! 

I tried explaining (drunk) what happened next to my mum last night & she didn't really understand so this may be wasted on here too but it tickled me so much it would be rude not to mention it.
As you can gather from the picture the table was pretty packed with dishes all over the show so we were constantly having to lean over everyone to reach things.
One dish in particular took a fancy to our Niamh 
The Padron Peppers ;) 
Casually leaning over to help herself to another dish, the peppers saw their opportunity and hooked their stem (unsure of the technical term?) to Niamh's clothes & bobble on her wrist. 
Fashioning her a nice new pretty charm bracelet
Simple but the funniest thing I've seen in ages!
The bottles of wine probably made it 10x funnier but then whilst all laughing & crying, Emily snorted a piece butternut squash (or courgette I can't remember, maybe both?) whilst laughing and got it lodged in her nose. 

It then just kept getting worse for Niamh :( 
We left the Red Sails and headed to the Rhos Fynach for a few bevs before going home
I was in the mood for some Pimms so me Bex & Niamh ordered a jug to share.
Now I don't know about you but the fruit I expect to see in my jug of Pimms are strawbs, lemons, oranges, lime, cucumber and maybe a dash of mint 
No. Not Onions
Apparently the Fynach was serving a new special edition Pimms that night.
Pouring into the 3 glasses and out falls slices of red onion into poor Niamhs glass. 

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Keep Calm And ...

Carry On? 
I am anything but calm

2 weeks to go people and I am overwhelmed with emotions!
I am excited because I finally get to go on the trip me & Emily have been planning since November
I am bored out of my brains because I still have another 10 days left of work
I am worried because I have a haircut tomorrow and what if it turns out shit and I'm left with shit-holiday-hair
& I am super anxious

Have I got everything I need? 
Do I have too much? 
Should I pack again (like for the 20th time?)
Do I really need that many blue clothes? 
Why haven't I found the perfect fabulous holiday hat yet?
Will our new travel friends like us?
Will we like them?
Have I made enough lists?
Too many lists?
Do I really need that many packs of Imodium? (like srsly, its the US not India)

I am trying to stay calm, and embrace the yolo-ness and spontaneity but thats not really something that comes naturally to me - I like to be in control and know whats happening next. I even had to make a calming playlist on iTunes to listen to, so much Of Monsters & Men (Y)
Im just grateful that I have Emily to share these worries & excitements with!
It was all fun & games travelling with my sister last year round Europe (well apart from in Berlin, we fell out and didn't speak a word to each other for like 2 days ... which FYI I was totally in the right!) but I think with a best friend its going to be a whole different experience & a bloody good one at that!

We can bond over free bubbly on the plane and point & laugh at the peasants in uncomfortable seats behind whilst we sit back and watch Annie (the 2014 version obv!) over and over and over to fill the 14 hours until we land in San Francisco :) 


I'm really looking forward to SF (read somewhere to never refer to it as San Fran) and our cycling adventure day over the bridge, just hope Karl The Fog (yes the famous fog of San Fran SF has a name ... and a twitter account more importantly!) doesn't cover the bridge too much, I'd actually like to see it ya know! 

I genuinely can't believe how quickly its come round though since booking in November
Like 8 months!? 
I could have nearly had a child in that time
Imagine, out it pops and then 'see ya, off to USA' 
Because lets face it 
USA > Child 
(Nailed the maternal instincts there I think)
Obviously that'd be cruel, so its a good job I haven't had a child isn't it
You can all cancel those calls to social services you were about to make!

Goals for the next 2 weeks:
Calm the F down (pop some Kalms pills or somethin')
Don't have shit hair 
Invent a time machine so work can be over already 
Breathe, regularly 
No more lists
Make a smashing USA playlist! (most important goal I think)
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Packing Essentials

I'm one of those really rare people who gets a kick out of packing.
I've already packed and unpacked about 10 times over the last couple of months. 

Learning from experience doing Interrail last summer I have definitely packed more efficiently this time round (that all could change in my last panic-pack though!)
I don't have a different outfit for each day, not carrying huge information books on the whole of one continent and have planned clothes according to location and activties rather than just what looks nice together (well kind-of ... I want to look nice ok!!)

Obviously this trip is going to be a lot different to Interrail so I have had to do a fair bit of research on what would be good to take with me travelling across the States and these are some of the essential and maybe not so obvious things i've come across that I think are going to be a massive life saver (not just on this road trip but in any future trip too!)

Packing Cubes

These were soooooo handy last summer! The thought of having all my clothes folded and loose in my massive rucksack gave me nightmares so these were a life saver!
You can organise all your clothes and shoes into different cubes so you know exactly where everything is. 
I found a pack of 5 really cheap on eBay and they came in all different sizes. 
Because I'm using a big duffle bag this year I don't have a great deal of room for 5 packing cubes, and tbh it seems like a waste of space putting everything in different cubes when all my clothes fit in the biggest one so I'm just taking 3, 1 for clothes, 1 for underwear and 1 empty one for washing.
 But this way they are nice and neat and separate from the rest of my stuff. 

Solar Power External Battery

Because this trip is primarily camping I am worried about not being able to charge my phone, camera every day so I found this great external battery - not only can you charge it up through the mains, it can charge via solar power which I thought would be so useful for days when I'm out hiking in Yosemite, or the Grand Canyon where there might not be as many charging facilities. 
It comes with a clip which I can just attach to my day rucksack and not worry that my phone or camera are going to die and miss out on some incredible photo opportunities! 
The battery I bought was the 'Poweradd 10,000Ah' and has 2 USB ports and a smaller one which can fit Kindle cables. 

Head Torch

Not on the top of my shopping list when I first started buying things for the trip tbh. 
But the more I've read the more this item keeps cropping up, especially on camping trips. 
Imagine coming back to the tent at night (potentially drunk / more than likely drunk
and instead of scrambling around in the dark trying to find a hand torch and then only having one hand free to find pjs etc it seems much more convenient to just buy a head torch so I can use both hands, because lets face it, putting pjs on one-handed (drunk) will be a task and I'm pretty sure Emily won't want to wake up next to a bare bum ;) 

Microfibre Travel Towers

First tip when buying these type of towels: CHECK THE DIMENSIONS! 
I didn't
I wanted some of the microfibre ones as they dry quickly and can pack away really small to save on space. I bought a small hand towel size and a larger body one. 
Never actually opened them when they came to check how big they were. 
It was only when Emily came round I showed her them and opened to find that the body towel didn't actually cover my body, I mean I know I've not small but come on, could barely fit a child! 
So we laughed about that and I ended up buying a 3rd towel, this time just your standard thin beach towel - takes up a bit more room and won't dry as quickly but id rather use that as my main towel and keep the microfibre ones to put in my day bag if going somewhere where I'm likely to get wet. 
I bought the 'Andes Camping Anti Bacterial Microfibre Travel Towels' 

Sleeping Bag Liner

I already had one of these from Interail but was really handy so thought i'd mention it.
We didn't actually use or take a sleeping bag round Europe, but was nice to get into on long train rides to keep warm and when staying in not-so-nice hostels was a much nicer option to sleep inside the liner than under the dodgy sheets. 
For this trip though I will be using a sleeping bag so wanted to take the liner again. 
We're going in July so its going to be hot hot hot in most of the places so I may end up just sleeping in the thin liner, but can get really cold in the national parks at night so that extra layer may come in handy! 
Plus if I fancy a nap on the bus on a long travelling day I can easily 
pop my legs in and doze off (or try to)*

*Note to self: Learn to sleep in moving vehicles! 
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A sign from above

Today myself and Emily faced what seemed like a dilemma and a troubling start to our trip, 
but alas it is was just sign from above that we are destined to start our trip in style ...
With extra legroom, comfy seats, free snacks
But most importantly 
14 hours worth of complimentary alcohol 
... I wonder if its possible to drink a plane dry? ;)

I can picture it now, the Bridesmaids plane scenes come to life

Too funny! 
So how did this happen?

We have always thought (and no thanks to Deltas dodgy wording .... thanks a lot guys!
that we couldn't check-in or select seats or luggage until 24 hours before our flight
We were wrong 
Stupid Delta 
You can in fact already select seats, which is apparently what everyone on our flight has already done
leaving us with no seats next to each other to choose from.
Thanks for the memo Delta!
We had the option of choosing seats close by,
but lets be honest
two 7 hour flights sitting with strangers away from each other at the beginning of our hard-earned adventure doesn't sound like the fun start we had planned

So we had no choice, and embracing the YOLO spirit we forked out for upgraded seats
so that we can sit next to each other on both flights :) 
This way we can sit back (literally, these upgraded seats go waaaaaaay back),
relax with a 'few' bevs and 'superior snacks' and start our vay-cay together!


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