Last year Matt and I went on our first overseas trip to the USA. We’ve wanted to go to America forever (to see the bright lights of New York City, Disneyland, the deep south, California, Hollywood…) but it was always a someday thing.
In May/June of 2015 we finally made it happen. Of course, we were beyond excited for this adventure, but I don’t think either of us were prepared for the amount of fun we had and how much we fell in love with the USA.
Both of us will agree that this trip was the best experience of our lives. It opened our eyes to the world and we felt such a freedom as we hopped around seeing new sites and cultures. As Australians, we were welcomed warmly (they seem to love Aussies!) and it made me (I’m not too sure about Matt) feel a sense of pride for my country. Missing home after a month of travel seemed like a no-brainer, but neither of us were ready to return. We could have stayed on our adventure much, much longer and left with a certainty that we had to go back soon. Both of us felt a pull towards the USA – Maybe it was just the excitement and novelty to be in a different place? Whatever it was, a dream to return and perhaps shoot a wedding or two was born whilst we were there.
We started in New York, travelled south to Orlando, Florida, then further south to New Orleans, Louisiana. We ventured on to the west coast to California where we stopped at San Francisco, Anaheim, Los Angeles and then we drove ourselves to our last stop, San Diego.
Since our trip we have definitely caught the travel bug and it has been buzzing away madly. We can’t wait to jet off somewhere again soon. This trip was so much for me. It was inspiring, rejuvenating, eye opening, fascinating and so much fun. It introduced us to a world full of wonder and possibilities, taught us a thing or two and it changed us in a really good way.
I have finally compiled a whole bunch of photos – Most from the DSLR and a few from Instagram, Facebook and our phones. We started off happy snapping away madly and slowed down as the trip went on as we got tired (or lazy!). We didn’t take a whole lot of pics at Disney – We were too busy going on the rides! And unfortunately we lost a stack of photos due to an iPhone mishap (It’s a long story). I think that this lot paints a pretty good picture nevertheless and I’m sure you’ll love to follow us on the journey that changed our lives. (Please note that I have done my best to keep them in order, but some images had to be grouped for quality reasons).
Starting out fresh and starry eyed, we were absolutely smashed by the time we arrived to LAX. It didn’t help that we had to wait about 5 hours for our connecting flight. We propped our legs up on our luggage and fell asleep.
We arrived at our first stop, New York, at about 9pm. By the time we got to our hotel in Times Square it was really late. The top left snap was probably the first photo taken on our trip. Look at those bright lights!
A shot of the infamous “Naked Cowboy” that wanders around the city.
We had to stop by the Toys “R” Us with the giant ferris wheel. Ah, we’re big kids.
Matt’s mum loves Applebee’s and highly recommended that we go. These were for you, Deb.
If you watch Cake Boss, yes this is the NYC based Carlo’s Bakery (the original is in New Jersey.) These goodies were absolutely delicious. You should’ve seen the line into the shop!
On our second night we couldn’t sleep a wink. After a night watching Catfish, we decided to make an early start in Central Park. We arrived a little after 7am and were welcomed by the sound of music and a large crowd. It just so happened that Good Morning America were shooting a Summer Concert special that day and Ed Sheeran was performing live! It was open to the public and it was the BEST DAY EVER!
Like us, this little guy was having way too much fun. His owner was chasing after him.
We loved walking around Central Park. We walked the perimeter – Probably around 15km or more within 7 hours.
Ground Zero was so moving. You have to see it with your own eyes.
The bottom left image above was taken from our seats when we saw Matilda on Broadway. Yeah, we didn’t have the best view – That’s why our tickets weren’t too pricey. LOL
It was amazing to see Lady Liberty. Matt bought a Statue of Liberty Barbie to commemorate our visit. Okay, that was me.
Grand Central Terminal was so grand and beautiful. Oh, the history. Funny story – We walked everywhere around NYC. The one time we road the Subway was purposely to visit Grand Central Terminal. During this ride, the train came to a sudden stop. Passengers seemed uneasy, looking from side to side and whispering their concern. Police officers hopped from carriage to carriage and a message played over the speakers informing that someone was sighted on the tracks. After about 10 minutes, we were on our merry way. It was a very interesting first time on the Subway!
For the Australians.
New York City is breathtaking. I get the lyrics – “Concrete Jungle where dreams are made of.” We took these images from the Empire State Building. Matt also rigged up his phone to take a time lapse. During this time, an air conditioner unit was dropped by a crane from a building making it in news headlines. Matt sent his film in and it was used on NBC New York’s website. What are the chances?
Disney World and Disneyland were everything that I had hoped for. This was my happy place.
During our time in Orlando, we also visited Universal Studios. We specifically made this stop to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We walked through Diagon Alley and caught a train to Hogsmeade where I tried some Butterbeer and wandered around Honey Dukes. After some very fast and thrilling rides (that actually made us both nauseous), we were ready to return back to Disney.
I have always had a fascination for the Titanic since seeing the film when I was a kid. So naturally, I had to go to the Titanic Experience whilst we were in Orlando. It was an amazing tour. On entry you are given a boarding pass belonging to a real passenger of the Titanic. A tour guide (in character from the period), takes you about to view some artefacts, the replicated famous stairwell (which Matt took a sneaky prohibited snap of) and other emulated areas of the ship to get a feel for the environment and the freezing conditions. We actually felt an iceberg! At the end of the tour, you find out if your passenger survived. Both mine and Matt’s did.
New Orleans was fascinating. I loved the French influence in the architecture, the live jazz music played on the streets and in the bars and its colourful, festive culture. Unfortunately there were no mardi gras during our stay, but we definitely got a feel for the true NOLA spirit looking through all the masquerade stores.
Matt brought this crazy mask home as a souvenir.
We visited Laura Plantation and Oak Alley Plantation. I was really in my element (Matt not so much), looking at the giant, old oak trees, the lavish mansions and absorbing all the creole history including the very sad reality of slavery.
The slave houses contained two small bedrooms and occupied a dozen or so workers. Really puts it into perspective when those mansions housed a family of about 5.
These Oaks are 300 years old and have lived half of their lives. Apparently they were planted long before the Oak Alley mansion was built. I wonder who planted them? It is said that the theory behind planting an alley of trees was to draw the cool air up to the house from the Mississippi River.
One of the only gyms we used on our trip was in New Orleans. It really was such an experience to hear the live jazz music blasting from the streets whilst training.
This building caught our eye. Perhaps one half was destroyed from hurricane Katrina? Maybe not. Either way, it’s so interesting to see the stairways and floors.
With that hill you could guess that the next stop was San Francisco. We arrived here in mid June (Summer time) and it was ridiculously cold and a thick mist covered the Golden Gate Bridge. In the below image you can see the bridge in the distance. Though we had planned to travel across it, it was just too cold for our liking. We weren’t prepared for the drop in temperature, but apparently San Fran is renown for this due to its coastal location and the cool mist that travels across the Pacific Ocean.
Of course we had to visit Pier 39 and visit the sea lions.
Riding the cable cars was so much fun, though very cold! I loved the hilly landscape and victorian style rowhouses in their varying shades.
We watched a Giants game and we loved it! If we lived in the US, we’d be die hard baseball fans. I loved that AT&T Park in San Fran is located right on the water – It was really nice watching the ships sail by.
We spent a day in LA where we visited WB Studios and Hollywood Boulevard. Above on the left is me standing beside the gazebo from Gilmore Girls. We had actually gone to WB’s for me to specifically see the Gilmore Girls set, but unfortunately it was not available on the day. We saw a lot from Batman and Harry Potter, but I was a little disappointed.
It was really cool to see the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the foot and handprints. I learnt that I have the same hand size as Sandra Bullock! We had taken so many more pics from this day, but unfortunately we lost the images.
Okay, so Matt braved it and drove from Anaheim to San Diego! We hired a car for the trip – It was suppose to be some kind of SUV, but when we went to collect it they upgraded us to a brand, spanking new Mustang convertible. It was unbelievable! Man, we experienced a lot of Mustang envy for those couple of days.
In San Diego we stayed at the marina not too far from the Gaslamp Quarter. Here we spent our last two days in the golden sunshine – shopping, bike riding and watching the boats sail by. We did not want to leave. Giving the car back was hard enough! We had the time of our LIVES! (And we were pretty stoked to ditch a month of winter in Australia).
Matt created an Instagram account dedicated to our travels. There’s a couple of films on there. Feel free to take a look! – mattandtayintheusa
Daniella from Cruiseabout deserves a massive shout out for planning our trip and making our dream become a reality. She was absolutely amazing to work with – Thanks Daniella!
One thing is certain, we WILL return to the USA, hopefully sooner than later. So if you’re an engaged couple living in the US and you like our style, please don’t let our locations get between us! Your wedding could be the reason we set off on our next adventure.