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    Travel Takeaways (a literal bite into the Travel Linkup topic.)

    This month for the travel linkup we’re talking all things take-aways; souvenirs, lessons, that sort of metaphysical meandering. But, I’m going to go a little more literal. Travel Takeaways.

    Rossopomodoro Pizza Florence in London Adventures of a London Kiwi

    As in actual foods, usually found in cartons, that have been spoilt by visiting their country of origin or somewhere that really surprised us. It’s the gourmet equivalent of meeting your heroes, and once you start travelling you’ll always look back on amazing food that you probably can’t quite recreate genuinely enough. Read more


    3 Challenges I’ve Overcome Travelling | Travel Linkup

    Despite my blog name, I’m not actually all that adventurous. Think more suburban adventure rather than skydiving or wild camping. But, over the years I have ended up overcoming a few challenges that I hadn’t precisely expected to be faced with.

    Paris Solo Travel Adventures of a London Kiwi

    This blog has always been, and will forever more be a record of my personal adventures. It is a journal of the chaos, delight, opportunities and travails that we encounter all rolled in with an obsession for photography (as far as my skillz extend) and a dash of humour (well, I try anyway).

    Read more


    How to drive in America (a Kiwi perspective from the wrong side of the road)

    Covering 800 miles of American freeways in less than 10 days is something I never thought I’d do to be honest – an inexperienced driver at best I’ve driven short distances (and through a Florida tropical storm from Cape Canaveral back to our Orlando apartment) – but somehow we survived unscathed driving diagonally the length of Louisiana from New Orleans to Shreveport, through the crazy traffic of Dallas and along the long, undulating motorways of Texas.

    How to drive in the US on holiday Adventures of a London Kiwi

    How to drive in the US on holiday Adventures of a London Kiwi

    It was amazing. We saw places that we never would have been able to explore, it gave us a freedom to nip into cute restaurants we spotted from the road and stay in a couple of really quirky hotels off the beaten track.

    We intentionally hired a small car, ending up with a Scarlet Nissan which I christened Bonnie (both named for our lovely waitress one morning and after the infamous Bonnie & Clyde). She was automatic and had a sweet spot around 75miles/hr (or 120km/hr, I’m so glad I hadn’t converted that over whilst in the US) but best of all (I think) the colour and size marked us out as tourists amidst the white 4-wheel drives that all the locals drove.

    Tips for driving in America on holiday Adventures of a London Kiwi

    We flew (hopped really, on the American Airways buses of the sky) from Austin to New Orleans to avoid the chaotic traffic jams of Houston and taxied around Dallas (mostly to give me a break from concentrating – we got some of the best recommendations from our drivers though, one restaurant we visited two nights in a row) but our hours on the road were definitely some of our favourite.

    Louisiana has one of the highest speed limits in the continental US and some beautiful camber, whilst Texas seemed a little slower but had more 18-wheeler trucks sharing the tarmac with my admittedly Nana driving.

    Tips for driving in America on holiday Adventures of a London Kiwi

    The driving is super quick, but I simply kept in the right-hand lane to 5 miles under the speed limit which was comfortable
    for my confidence – and helped us avoid the $175 Louisiana speeding fines. At the start of the trip I was a nervous wreck, that night almost falling asleep in the hot tub in our hotel from exhaustion after clenching the steering wheel all day. By the end of our mammoth road trip I was changing lanes with ease, occasionally floating in the middle lane before tucking back in behind trucks and sauntering out of the car with keys jangling on my fingers.

    I’ll be honest, and admit that did we encounter a couple of scary situations – a truck driver changing lanes not allowing me enough time to enter a motorway (I luckily just popped into a shoulder lane), getting lost in the middle of Dallas skyscrapers (we jammed every device we had onto navigation), accidentally assuming a road was much narrower than it really was (luckily the road was relatively quiet so I just guided her nimbly over to the correct lane) and dodging some of the twits who pulled out in front of us – one with a trailer full of wood – but overall it really was fine.

    Tips for driving in America on holiday Adventures of a London Kiwi

    I doubt much of this is helpful, but a few things/tips to bear in mind when planning an American roadtrip are;


    Photograph the dents in your car when you pick it up, just in case.

    Rest. We stopped every hour or so, just to grab a drink and stretch our legs, my Dad’s voice echoing in my head every day.

    It’s totally OK to call your family in England to check if you can put tap water in the window washing reservoir. (As a student and before smartphones invented, I once call my Dad to check how long to boil potatoes for. They’ll still love you, they’ll just laugh a little at you.)


    We planned to mostly drive in the middle of the day to miss the city rush hours and allow loads of time to stop and do random things.

    Buck-ees have nice restrooms and are all along the highways BUT hopping out at a small town gas station can be quite an eye opener.

    There weren’t as many signs to stop and see random things as we were hoping, but luckily a touch of Google research provided ample sufficiency. 

    Tips for driving in America on holiday Adventures of a London Kiw

    ‘scuse the blurry photo…


    We downloaded an app that was perfect when we drove around Florida (NavFree I think?) but the best app we found en route was still Google Maps as it assisted with picking lanes in the busy city junctions but it can be a data vacuum and unhelpful when there is patchy data signals.

    DON’T SPEND ALL THE TIME DRIVING – we probably needed an extra day really – with traffic etc most 60 minute distances were really around 75 minutes which adds up over a few days and there was an additional place we fancied visiting (but we demurred as it would have meant 5hours+ driving one day).


    Driving again has given me a real confidence boost oh how I miss the convenience of four wheels. Whilst planning our next road trip away, I think I’m gonna start working on my next bumper sticker that says “My Other Car Is A Boat.”

    Tips for driving in America on holiday Adventures of a London Kiw

     Have you ever driven on the wrong side of the road? Would you?

     <Pin Me!>

    Tips for driving in America on holiday Adventures of a London Kiwi


    Florida: Ducks, Monsoon Rain, Mickey Mouse and a giant Orange.

    Florida was fun.

    Sunshine, broad open spaces, Gator swamps, driving on the wrong side of the road, lazy days by the pool, busy days visiting attractions and afternoon showers that came down in the afternoons with the regularity of clockwork for about 20 minutes.

    Florida was Daisy Duke to New York‘s Devil Wears Prada atmosphere.

    That weather I was talking about…?

    In the below photo, the small sign in the left hand bottom corner reads “It is illegal in the state of Florida to feed the Alligators.”


    First of all, fair enough – safety first kids.





    A bit of Harry Potter to compete with ‘that mouse’; below is the Three Broomsticks inside Universal Studios where we had to have lunch which included Pumpkin Juice, Butterbeer and mini-Cornish Pasties.




    ‘The World’s largest Orange’. Inside it was full of horrendous touristy bric-a-brac and crates of normal sized oranges, but I didn’t really expect much more from it!





    I actually did a U-turn to go to this place, there was no way that I was missing out. Not a chance.



    We also visited Celebration, a designed town put together by the Walt Disney Company as a ‘master-planned-community’ to promote as a return to small-town values with walkable and safe communities. It’s story-book beautiful.



    Check out Miss R’s very funny blog here.

    And, the Desperate Housewives’ set was inspired (though not filmed) here.

    Florida was full of peerless Southern Hospitality (nothing was ever too much trouble, ever), a few English Tourists in Footballs shirts and gold chains (sadly) and some awesome shopping malls.


    I also learnt that I was capable of driving a right-hand-side car in monsoon conditions. We happened to be there for the first Tropical Storm of their rainy season (which gave birth to 8 mini-tornadoes), and driving back from NASA (Cape Kennedy/Canaveral) we were caught in the most insane rain storm. It was so intense I could only see the road markings because my lights were reflecting off them. At 5pm in the afternoon. I’m really not the most experienced of drivers and I can’t tell you how stressed I felt. But I didn’t panic, and it’s one of the things I’m most proud of that I have done in the last 6 months.


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