Our Trip in the USA Part 1:

Our trip to the USA so far…

It’s 10am here in Burlington Vermont. We have already seen our first snow, which is exciting. It’s on and off some days colder than England, some days warmer but I don’t mind because we are on an adventure and when you’re doing adventures the weather doesn’t matter.

So far we have done so much in one month that I actually can’t wrap my head around it.

I'll start at the beginning:
On the weekend of Sept 19, we drove to Alchemy Festival in Lincolnshire from Essex, which is a rather long way to go in one hit. It was important for us to go to Alchemy this year not only because it’s a great festival and a favourite of ours but also because this year our friend Crispian’s ashes were being scattered at Alchemy, where he would have been walking around pulling strings and holding everything together somehow, which was one of his many talents.

Alchemy Festival was a blur of chaos and conversations. We spoke to so many people we didn’t want it to end, but we had to leave early because we were on a secret mission.

...We had just got round trip bloody plane tickets to New York...!!!

We were heading to the last ever Shannon Hoon Vigil and Vigilstock hosted by his mother, Nel Hoon, somebody who I felt I had bonded with years ago when I was a young, crazy wanderer travelling to America by myself at 17 and generally not knowing what to do with my life.

Coming back to a country that had changed and shaped who I am has been exciting, unreal and scary all at once. We weren’t sure if we would pull it off. I had been wanting more than ever to go back to the Vigil ever since I got a crazy all capital letters private message from Nel Hoon telling me that I should come to the vigil because it will be the last one that she would be hosting. I knew we wouldn’t ever save up enough money to do it because we live in a Van, we’re self employed and we’re rather unorganised.
Somehow though, from Feburary to September we worked our arses off, Doozer McDooze played every festival he could, and every gig he could drive to in between, he did 35 Festivals in 19 weekends. We were strict on ourselves and frugal with our spending, as if we weren’t already living a frugal lifestyle. Every time either of us earned anything we would sit down together and split the money up. What do we need for fuel to the next gig? What do we need for food this week? The rest goes into the Coffee Jar which was hidden in our van. We were stuffing money in there then pretending that it doesn’t exist. That money isn’t ours. And it worked. By August we had over half of what I had estimated we needed for a trip to the states. We still weren’t 100 percent sure we’d do it though. Which was a bit intense. As frugal as we had been, we still never went without anything that we needed or really wanted. Except for a new dress, or a date night. Those were out of the question mostly because of how busy we were.

I started this blog entry a few days ago. It feels a bit weird writing what I’m thinking to a laptop, I feel like I’m writing a novel because I haven’t kept an in depth diary of what’s been going on. So I’ll start from the top...

We went straight from Alchemy Festival in Lincolnshire to our mate Fraggle’s barn on a farm in Hemel Hempstead. We got there at about midnight, double checked our suitcase, made sure we had our passport and all of our paperwork in order and then tried to sleep. It felt like christmas.
Several hours later we were off to London Heathrow with our tickets to New York. This was proper exciting, it felt like we had sneaked out of our bedroom windows and done a runner in the night. We arrived at JFK in New York on Monday 21st September at around 7:30pm and left the airport at 9pm. We went straight to Enterprise on an overground train. I don’t know what they’re called. Trams I think. We were there to pick up our rental car which is all completely new to us both. The manager was there, telling us how much he loves England and he really wants to go to London one day. Then he points out that we reserved the smallest cheapest car going, but we were dropping it off up north so if we wanted, we could rent any car we want that needs to go up north, with no extra charges and unlimited mileage, bargain!  There were lots of sports cars. Doozer found an enormous Dodge, got really excited and asked for that one. Almost five seconds later we were driving through NEW YORK in a Dodge. We were not shown how to use the car at all, nor were we given any instructions upon leaving other than “Don’t run me over, have a good trip!”... we didn’t run anybody over on the way out… Brilliant.

We’re both a mixture of excitement and fear as we drive through New York. Immediately we’re reminding ourselves to drive on the wrong side of the road, and trying to figure out what the speed limit means because over here they have it in millimetres instead of miles, or something. Doozer only got a little bit lost when trying to figure out the exits on the road, but we managed to drive to my friend Jamie Shield’s house in about an hour. She told us to be careful because we will have to drive through lots of “country lanes” where there would be deer. Apparently the deer are a problem this time of year, they’re all excited to be leaving home and starting college so they get a bit disorderly.  The “Country Lanes” in New York are not country lanes. They’re roads. Actual roads. Some New Yorkers seem to think that just because they’re not in the middle of the city means that they’re in the countryside. They’ve never seen Emmerdale Farm.


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