We’ve always wanted to go to the USA. Something about growing up with American tv, sitcoms, kids programmes and reality tv maybe? Or maybe we just relate far too well with The Simpsons!
I always imagined we’d go to New York first maybe or even Florida like so many people in our country do. A few years ago we were so close to actually going and driving Route 66 but circumstances held us back. If you’d told me last year that our first introduction to this huge country would have been Dallas, Texas I’m not sure I’d have believed you!
Even though I could browse through a travel brochure about the wonders of the USA and know that I wanted to visit all of it, Texas wasn’t really at the forefront of my thoughts. So why are we here?
On my business site, Untrapped Life, I started a podcast, was learning about the world of business and knew that conferences would be part of that. As it happens, a new podcast conference was being set up and I decided, quite on a whim, that we should go. It all made sense, we could explore a new place and we could even go and do a bit of Route 66 like we wanted to! So that’s why we’re here in Dallas
The flight over the pond was fairly easy. We flew from Manchester to Philadelphia and it was about a 6 hour flight. It was comfy, we had nice food and great flight attendants and films on demand on the tv in front of our seats. Fab – the time just flew by. I’d heard a lot of scare stories about immigration, but that was really painless too.
The internal flight to Dallas wasn’t as good. We were so tired (we’d been up since 5 am and the flight was leaving at 10pm our time), it wasn’t very comfy, no in flight entertainment and not enough food for us all to purchase (in hindsight I should have pre ordered) and it was delayed taking off. We finally got in though and had a bit of a kerfuffle with finding our hotel for the evening, which I will gloss over since it was all my mistakes!!
As soon as we got checked in, which was about 3am our time, so 22 hours on the road, my head hit the pillow I was gone!
James and Marcus are car nuts so they enjoyed spotting them from our window of the hotel! Everyone says how big everything is, but I’ll be honest, it doesn’t seem so much to me right now. I may change my mind though! I guess I’ve seen enough american cars back home and huge supermarkets in France that I haven’t seen anything crazy yet. Oh, wait, the flags – they are fairly big! Oh and the drink sizes
Driving was always a bit of a scary prospect especially as we’re around a huge city. James is driving now and I’ll give it a try when we get out of the city. He’s finding it quite hard so far, the first day felt crazy, but the second was a bit better. We’re a good team though and I navigate while he drives.
Alex was desperate to see a WalMart so since we found one fairly easily we looked in there. Again, it didn’t seem so big as I expected. Bigger than home, yes, but not that much so. The size of the pizzas on offer made our mouths drop open though! We bought twinkies and other goodies
We’re staying in an AirBnb house – our first time using the site actually after months of liking the idea of it. The place is gorgeous and we love it - a huge tv, lovely decor and even a hammock outside. We’ve seen some red birds flying by, no idea what they are, but it’s just incredibly lovely.
The kids have so many ideas on what they want to do and eat, especially eating! They want to try all the fast food and all the sweets. For our first meal out we went to a small diner called Barbec’s that was just a 5 minute drive away, probably not even that far. It was excellent food, good portions (not too big) and great staff. Felt like the kind of place I’ve seen on the TV so many times as well, just a basic American restaurant. It cost less than $30 for us all to eat which I think was a good deal! We’re still figuring out the tipping etiquette mind you, hoping we haven’t short changed anyone so far!
So first impressions are great. Loving it here, loving that we can speak English and loving seeing this amazing place for the first time!