If you read my previous blog "What about the kids education", you would know by now that we have sold up, stored our belongings, taken the kids out of the education system and jacked in 'normal' life all to go and see what's out there. Our first trip takes us to the United States of America 🇺🇸
As I mentioned previously we had struggled to make the decision of where to start our travelling as frankly there were just too many options. As luck would have it though, Himself was interested in going to see the economist Martin Armstrong at the World Economic Conference in Orlando in October. What better way to start our travelling with 2 weeks of roller coasters 🎢. Top tip : buy your park tickets before you go. We paid a lot less in the UK on this trip than we had done on previous occasions where we bought the tickets at the park itself. So we had a 14 consecutive day, 6 park pass. Yup, 14 adrenaline filled days, 336 hours to be exact 😆. We had been to Disney before in Florida and California so with the children being older now, we opted for the fast paced roller coaster parks and water parks for this trip. The choice was Busch Gardens, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Volcano Bay, Acquatica (and Seaworld but we only went to do the rollercoaster part as we don't condone animals in captivity).
Now travelling away from home has always been hit and miss with me, until recently I didn't realise why. Himself would sometimes go away on his own as I found making the decision to go with him too difficult. Family holidays were something that I looked forward to however in the back of my mind I found myself feeling incredibly anxious over. You may think this is a little insane seeing as I am now travelling constantly, however learning about why I felt this way has made it so much easier for everyone. I love routine and a routine works for me. Being ADHD confirms why I love a routine. Also I wasn't diagnosed until recently which made it so much harder. I was constantly in fight or flight mode. It was exhausting. The last time we went to Florida on a holiday, I could only manage one day at a time at the theme parks before having to spend 2 days resting as it was just too exhausting. No fun really for everyone else and very debilitating for me. Also there were many other contributing factors. I had endometriosis. For years my health deteriorated so much I was bedridden with no explanation or diagnosis. They did every test imaginable. After countless appointments it was made clear I had M.E. (also knows as chronic fatigue syndrome). Then on a flight back from the Canaries once (on my own) I had an anaphylactic shock, which I continued to get without warning for 2 years (this is known as idiopathic angioedema). Each time I had found the answer to one of these illnesses, another would appear a short time later. Not one to throw in the towel, I was determined to get well and did using different methods which I will at some point in the future write about. Now back to Orlando.
The flight itself was very entertaining. Upon checking in we discovered that although I had requested vegan meals, they had not catered for us. However Virgin Atlantic has always been our first choice of airline and once again they delivered on customer service which ended up being a far better option for us than the inflight catering we would have had. As they had not catered for us, we received £100 in vouchers to spend on food to take on board. That's a lot of scrummy food. Pret-A-Manger and Wagamama's here we come. 💚😋
Being fortunate to have enough air miles to upgrade Himself, Myself and Fidget Boy (who had only just turned 7) to Upper Class was indeed a great start. We put Obstinate Adolescent and Petulant Preteen in Premium Economy seeing as they had flown Upper a few times before. They didn't complain (or else they would have been degraded to Economy Class 😆) and they felt very grown up sitting by themselves, not to mention the chance of watching countless films without being told it's bedtime added to the appeal. It took Himself a good hour to figure out he was sitting next to the lovely Dale Winton (may he rest in peace 🕊), who was just a joy to chat to. When on arrival the captain asked us to stay seated whilst the authorities escorted a passenger off the plane who had been caught smoking in the toilets. The mind boggles 🙈
We picked up our rental car and headed off to our vacation home we had rented for the 2 weeks. We find that using the HomeAway website a very affordable way to travel as firstly there are 5 of us and secondly as we like to eat healthily, organic and vegan, having our own kitchen is one of the perks 👩🏻🍳. Aaaahh, food, we all love food. This is where we should have done our homework before settling on an area to rent. Once we had arrived and settled in, we started to look for local vegan restaurants. What we didn't realise was that they were all in one area unfortunately about 45 minutes drive from where we were staying. If we had looked into this before deciding on where to stay, we would have chosen to a property much closer to the restaurants. Our favourite restaurant was The Sanctum Cafe. A wonderful community based restaurant. They source their goods from the communities gardens where local residents can grow and sell their organic fruit and veggies. Then it is delivered to the restaurant by bicycle, cutting down on the carbon footprint. So much care is taken in the preparation of the food here. We went back a few times. 💚😋. Other favourites were Ethos, Dixie Dharma, and Dandelion Communitea Cafe. Plenty of options for refuelling our adrenaline drained bodies. Even good old Starbucks had a bagel with either almond butter or avocado as a quick bite or breakfast for us. They also only use organic plant based milks which is another bonus.
As you can imagine the cherubs would have managed 14 consecutive days, however the other two ripened adrenaline junkies opted for a few days off to recover 🤢. The girls favourite was The Sheikra at Busch Gardens, their record was 9 times in a row 🤪 and the Cheetah (also at Busch Gardens) was Fidget Boy's favourite, probably because it was the only roller coaster he was tall enough to go on bless him. At the end of the two weeks though, one thing we could all agree on was that America have aced theme parks and we had an amazing time. Next stop, picking up our American RV for our first ever RV trip up the East Coast of America.