My own personal travel agents

I was thinking about my past misdemeanors, I hinted at it in my birthday post in that I have a criminal record.

This record makes it difficult to be accepted in some countries, I am specifically speaking of America.  Which is a shame of most of my friends here are American and you’re alright.

It’s not impossible you just seem to have a more convoluted route I have to follow to gain access, go for a meeting at the embassy in London to be grilled for a Visa, but what has deterred me doing this is that even if it is granted I could still be turned away at the border depending on whether or not the border security on duty had got out of bed the wrong side that morning.

Other countries have similar guidelines, Canada makes it a bit easier and Australia accepted me as I went through the proper channels and fessed up, it would have been a tad annoying to return on a 24 hour flight having just struggled through one but luckily they saw I am a reformed character and let me in.

What was this conviction for?  I’ll finally own up, it was a drug possession charge about 16 years ago, I was young, carefree, experimenting.  Don’t worry, I wasn’t some hardened crack whore, just your usual teenage flirtations with substances.  I only got a fine but the record stays with me til the day I die.  Feel free to use my case as a warning to your children though.

Luckily I have since led an exemplary life, have had the same good  job for 15 years, I can prove that I am now an upstanding citizen and I won’t corrupt your nation if you let me in.

I would love to come over on a future holiday for a special Americasurvival post.

But where would I go, I’d have to take a long trip to fit so much in, I follow bloggers from every pocket of your country.  I am gonna need your help planning a trip.

This won’t be soon as I tend to plan a trip about 2 years in advance and I’m kinda booked up for the forseeable future.

But where should I go?  You have insider knowledge a guide-book can’t tell me.

Which cities are the best?  Where is the best place to chill out in the sun?  What are the best train journeys to witness amazing scenery?

Bear in mind I’m not much of a tourist, I always forget to take my camera, preferring to do what people who live in a place do to hang out rather than follow an itinerary of tourist hotspots.  I’ve been in London 16 years and I can honestly say I’ve not been to many of the tourist sites.

I prefer staying in apartments, houses or villas to hotels. I like to eat well and have a drink.  I don’t do extreme sports and I get bored with museums unless there is a bar, a destination should be the museum, its architecture and people are exhibits to me.

Nothing too obscure, I still have to navigate my way around the country and I don’t drive.  I may be with a driver though so it’s not out of the equation.

This is your chance to wax lyrical about your country (and save me the bother of hours of research)   Even if I never go I can pretend I have and will tell you all about my imaginary travels.

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74 Comments

  1. hold on, that didn’t show up right…

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    • What is it?

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      • It is an SNL part…do you watch Saturday Night Live?

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        • not sure it’s on over here

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          • It is a funny show, but that is just what this (trying to find the best places to go) reminded me of.

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            • I should probably start on one coast and travel to the other coast stopping off on the way, New York-San Francisco but whcih one to start and whcih to finish?

              Wouldn’t it be funny if I did go and stopped off in Oklahoma, your husband would be saying “Honey, there’s a strange man licking our windows”

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              • That is so funny. If you do ride the train across Oklahoma, I will have to find a way to meet you at one of your stops and give you a hug and some Wonka Bars. 😉

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                • I’ll bring you some Haribo

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                  • Wonderful. I’m actually serious though…is that creepy?

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                    • Nope, I like the idea of going now. I get more time off at Xmas but weatherr wise it’s not the best time to go is it.

                    • No, the weather might be pretty bad. Actually, it shouldn’t be that horrible. Late January and early February is usually worse than right at Christmas. It would be really cool to be on a train around that time and see how different the weather is in so many places.

      • It is a part on weekend update where they bring in a character and ask him the best places to go and he just talks about crazy night clubs. It is really funny.

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        • I’ll look at it at home, I hate night clubs though, I liek to chat and dancing makes all the alcohol shake up in my belly

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          • Yeah, I don’t like them either, and the link is pure humor. It doesn’t have any real clubs anyway. I love that you want to ride a train! That will be a great way to see a lot of the country.

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            • A friend went to South america for 5 weeks and got 14 nternal flights, I couldn’t bear so many, give me a train anyday to see the country

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              • I love riding the train too. There is just something so nice about it. I do like flying also though.

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            • The trains look great but some of them take forever. Your country is too big! I can train across mine in about 3 hours, some legs there take about 29 hours and they have hardly gone anywhere, maybe they include stopovers waiting for the next train? I think flying may be an option in some cases, if I can combine flying and trains it woudl be good. Now I sound like I am actually planning this for real, maybe I will, it will be handy to have all the info ready if I do go.

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              • You should do it for real. It would be awesome. I think you might want to fly sometimes. I would take the train across, but fly north and south to see stuff, like Seattle and Florida.

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                • A lot of planning and have to boko a visa appointment only 6 months before I plan to go so I can’t book things well in advance

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                  • Are you good at planning? I am totally an idea person. I like to think of fun stuff and let someone else figure out how to make it happen.

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                    • Yes, I’m anal about it. Not so much on what I am doing when I am there, I take it easy then, but I am meticulous about transport and accommodaiton, the bits inbetween I go with the flow.

                      When I was in Valencia last week, I didn;t need a map from the metro to the apartment, I memorised the walk from Google Streetview. I have a photographic memory for maps, I get my bearings really quickly so I am not a tourist wlkling around confused and lost.

                    • Impressive…I get lost in the same doctor’s offices that I have been to like 20 times. 🙂 That would be wonderful to be able to remember maps so well. I think that there is a side to different places that you just don’t see if people think you are a tourist.

  2. sorry Joe, you can delete that comment. I wanted it to show a funny video, but I am not sure how to get it in there.

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  3. How am I the first to comment on this? I thought for sure I’d get here and have to wade through 57 comments to finally post my “GO TO DISNEY WORLD!!!!” opinion.

    But seeing as I have the place to myself, I guess I’ll type up a bit more. Though, that doesn’t mean that Disney World should be ignored.

    – New Orleans. You must go to New Orleans. It is absolutely the most gorgeous city, fun city, friendly city, crazy city. I lived there for five years and loved every minute of it. And you’d appreciate it because in my five years, I don’t think I ever went to a single museum, but I did drink a LOT and ate the best food I’ve ever had in my life. If you do end up in New Orleans in four years from now, let me know, and I’ll further hone my suggestions to include particular bars and restaurants.

    – The rural south. Just because. The accents are funny. The countryside is pretty. Old plantations are usually haunted. And you’ll encounter a bunch of people who are still angry about the outcome of the Civil War. Plus some amazing food. Moonshine if you’re lucky. And other quaint things. You could kill two birds with one stone by simply hitting up rural Louisiana while you’re down there. Bonus of picking that rural landscape: swamp tours, alligator farms, and voodoo. Oh, and go tubing. That’s very fun.

    – Las Vegas. Granted, I’ve only been the one time, and it was a few weeks ago, but it was pretty neat. Hard to have a bad time there. Plenty o’ people watching, drinking, and eating. And plenty of ways to lose money, too, if you’re into that. Bonus: you’re a three hour drive/bus ride from the Grand Canyon, so you could check that off your list too. Or a three hour drive from DISNEYLAND.

    I’ll leave it at that, as I’ve already written a comment almost as long as the blog post itself, and I’m pretty sure there’s probably a Blog Commenting Etiquette rule against that.

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    • And my comment was so long that in the time it took to write it, other people DID comment. Oh well.

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    • Feel free to say as much as you like, I don’t mind!

      Some great tips and different ones too, I woudl have forgotten about New Orleans and the south thing sounds really interesting, that could be fun. On holiday I just like avoiding English people, I see enough of them. Not sure on Disneyland though, it may freak me out!

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      • Yeah, Disneyland may freak you out — freak you out by how AWESOME it is! Though, personally, I’d stick with Disney World over Disneyland, but I’m biased.

        If you want to avoid English people, steer clear of New England. No, there aren’t many English people there, but there are a whole lot of New English people there, and isn’t that close enough? Plus you know what else they have a lot of there? Museums and cultural shit. Booooring.

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  4. I am intrigued by your post and though inconvenient I hope you will find a way to forgive yourself. I can see that the system has been harsh for you.and I look forward to giving you armchair tours. My first suggestion is New Orleans. It is my favorite city. I love to stay in the French Quarter. I love the energy, history, passion, the smells and the people. It is a place where you are accepted for who you are now and not who you were. There is every kind of music, food, dance, arts, unique people. It is exotic and beautiful.

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    • Second recommendation for New Orleans, that’s made it onto the itinerary!

      Thanks for your comments!

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  5. Amsterdam is always a great destination, but it can add to your legal troubles if you aren’t careful.

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    • Not for long, they are gogn to ban tourists from entering the shops, unless you are with a citizen.

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  6. If you have to go to America, then the San Francisco bay area is the only place to go. Give me a call, and I will meet you and give you the most awesome tour.

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    • Is it safer to do that at the start or end of a trip?

      I’d either miss my connection to the next leg or miss my flight home!

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  7. That sucks. While I don’t do much traveling (mostly because I’m broke), I have a DWI on my record from a few years back that employers and others always look at with scorn. I was in a second interview with an employer once who looked at the offense and said very plainly, “I’m sorry, we don’t hire criminals here.” I’ll admit, it was stupid to drink and get behind the wheel. I payed out over 10 thousand dollars and countless hours of classes and education before it was over. Actually, I’m still paying monthly to the state of Texas. It’s a three year deal. 1,028 dollars each year.

    Anyway, my point is. I hear you.

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    • Ouch! No wonder you’re broke!

      “We don’t hire criminals” But we allow our countries to be run by them, and I bet that company fiddles their books, they all do

      What woudl it matter? Unless you were applying as a truck driver for a brewery 😉 I think Merle’s got that job though

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  8. Of course Australia let you in – their founding fathers were all convicts shipped over from England! *grins* You should come to New Zealand. A lil slice of paradise way down under .. we have heaps to do from exceptional food stuff / wineries, outdoor pursuits, snow, sun, tropical climates (depending which bit you’re in)

    You name it: we got it, in a space no larger than Colorado.

    Heck, we even throw in regular earthquakes for your .. entertainment!

    Oh and what we don’t have is killer spiders, bears, snakes, tigers, wolves or anything that can kill you..

    Well, no that isn’t entirely true.
    My Grandfather is still driving ..

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    • My favourite flatmates in London were New Zealanders, so you’re alright in my book.

      I will get over there sometime, it’s on the list.

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  9. You should consider Canada on your North American tour. If you come by Edmonton which is a normal laid back Canadian city with a top notch waste management system, you are only a couple of hours drive away from the Rocky Mountains which are quite a site to see. I would also highly recommend Calgary, Alberta & Vancouver, BC where the winter Olympic games have been held. Canada is actually bigger than the continental US, but if you like the train I would suggest getting a sleeper car & riding from the east coast to the west coast. My hubby & I have dreamed of doing this ourselves. Canada has some of the most beautiful scenery.

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    • Canada is actually nearer the top of my list than America, you don;t seem as bothered a little crime.

      I do hvae a friend in Vancouver and did plan to do a house swap with someone wanting to come to the London Olympics, but my other half coudln’t get the time off work.

      Must admit, the lure of this waste management system is pretty tempting 🙂

      Too much to see and not enough money or annual leave to do it… Better do the lottery tonight

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      • Canada, really? C’mon — crime is fun! Would you rather go see a movie about beavers and snow, or a shoot ’em up thriller with a high body count?? Pick your vacations like you’d pick a movie.

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        • It’s ON Canada! Are you going to let an American diss your hood?!

          Great analogy though, I like it.

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      • I know waste management systems is pretty boring, but Edmonton has one of the best systems in the world & people come from all over to follow their lead. I have to brag about something!

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        • Wish London would, they left half my rubbish today. A fox or cat had pooped on top of one bag so they left the bag there.

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  10. For a fuckin sad holiday go to the English towns where North American cities are named after – Boston (Jesus – Fun in the Fens!), Washington (Lorra Worra Boat Comes In) and Edmonton (Wear a stab vest for the shanking skanking that goes on) – You could probably do it in a couple of days. Yippee.

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    • That’s a nice twist GFB, I like it.

      How many bodyguards will I need exactly?

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      • For Edmonton 4, Boston be wary of the frozen pea packing plant and Washington the accent might throw ya!

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        • I’ll just shout in English and point like I do in Spain

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          • That won’t help you in Boston – take some crayons and a bladder on a stick.

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          • I’m fascinated: praytell, what does a Washington accent sound like?

            Also, if you ever do decide to drive, you may enjoy a fun maneuver called “The Point and Honk.” Very simply, when approaching a pedestrian or other person afoot who needs to have the crap scared out of them and/or publicly shamed, lean on that car horn while blatantly pointing at your victim. Works especially well in areas heavily trafficked by tourists.

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            • Honestly my geography of the UK is terrible, I only stay in London, I think it’s up near Newcastle but I don;t know how I would write that accent

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            • Hello! The Washington accent is like “Why Aye! Canny anny wanny fucka! Wen the booooat comes in like, pet” – hope this helps!

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              • 😀

                Actually GFB has it spot on! I have a friend form South Shields, but I can’t get a word she says, she’s always drunk so that doesn’t help.

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                • God bless the Geordies!

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                • Sooo… like… cockney-ish? I don’t know… that’s all I got from that. Sorry. I guess it’s rather hard to explain accents via text!

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                  • Did you see the x factor USA with Cheryl Cole, her kind of accent.

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                    • I had to find a YouTube video of Cheryl speaking, but I get it now! It’s that British meets Scottish type of accent! (At least, to this American who is by no means an expert on various foreign accents).

                    • yeah, I guess, they are right by Scotland so it has got twisted.

    • Is there an American city called Edmonton? We don’t have that many stabbings here in Canada, much less Edmonton, AB.

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  11. When you get to NYC, make sure you get a street hot dog. And not from a halal cart either. Make sure it’s a dirty-water dog from a guy who just sells dogs, sausage and pretzels.

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  12. If you’re looking to go somewhere unlike London, don’t come to Maine. I’ve heard more than one person claim Portland reminded them of it (Robert Plant and Sting both said this at their concerts here!)

    So I take it you’re thinking big cities and not ‘boring’ countrysides? I have never heard anyone say Las Vegas was boring. Most of my friends have gone and made it back in one piece with lots of stories. They all LOVED it there. Also New York City (I’ve never been to either place but would like to one day)

    I have lived near Seattle and fell in love with that area, but again, lots of rain, coffee…might remind you of home.

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    • All those cities would be cool. Ok, sting, I don’t trust, maybe robert plant though. I trust you more than those though

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  13. SF, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Tahoe, Yosemite, Napa, Sonoma or anywhere in Cali. You’ll have good time as long as you can get around.

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    • Can’t drive so will be hampered, but with time constraints too…san Francisco is on the list though

      Reply

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