I found my perfect match in North Carolina. We are considered the South of the states, and we have hot, humid summers and mild winters. Only 3 hours away is the East coast with nice beaches, whereas if you head 3 hours West, you’ll reach the mountains to go skiing or hiking. In this post I’m going to tell you about my state and also my trips to other places.
Once my friend from Peru asked me how I would describe North Carolina. And based on what I had already seen back then, I said: Green. She agreed with me.
When I first landed in my city for the first time, I just saw all these trees and I asked myself where I was. We have really nice nature AND everything you need close by.
We have a cluster of the size of around 40 au pairs. The city I live in is rather small, but I live close to the airport. Which is great, because if I need a change of scenery, I can book myself onto a flight to visit other places.
During your year, you have 10 days of paid vacation you can use to explore the country. I had a total of 15 vacation days, since I had worked some extra hours to get some extra days. On top of that came my weekends, since I’m always off on the weekend. I’ve been on 8 trips in 11 months. I’ll start with my personal vacation:
1. NEW YORK CITY
My first trip was five days long and I met friends from Germany in New York. I loved it!
I can recommend the ‘Staten Island Ferry’. It is completely free, and a great way to have a good look at the statue of liberty and New York’s Skyline.
2. WASHINGTON, D.C.
Next up was a weekend trip to Washington D.C with my friend. We slept at the airport the last night, since our flight was early Monday morning. I can not recommend it at all, but it is worth it to save some money.
Next was Miami with my brother for 7 days. We also rented a car and went to Universal Studios, because I was very excited to see ‘Harry Potter World’. And it was great. My host grandma got us one ticket for free, since she works there, and I’ll be forever grateful about it, since their ticket prices are expensive.
My brother had never been on an airplane before, or even traveled anywhere. Fun fact: After our trip, he decided to quit his job to be able to start traveling in July 2019 – for God knows how long!
4. MY BACKPACKING TRIP
On my second big vacation, I visited Atlanta, Nashville, Dallas, San Antonio and New Orleans – all of which by bus and backpack, in 7 days. Thanks to my host family, I was able to choose my vacation dates very flexibly, and could get good prices for my trips.
My bus trips were pretty cheap, since I got great offers starting at 1$ for Megabus, and I could also sleep on the bus for two nights. I can definitely recommend taking the bus, even though they have bad reviews online. I was a bit nervous before this trip, but everything turned out well and each city was better than the one before. New Orleans is a combination of different cities, which makes it, next to San Antonio, my favorite.
I would not say that I prefer solo traveling, but I’m not going to wait for others to join me. I sadly hear too often that people don’t want to travel alone and decide not to go at all. Touristic areas, will in most cases, be safe. I didn’t meet many people on my trip until I was on my way to New Orleans. There I met a guy and in the hostel and two really awesome girls. We spent the rest of the trip together.
On the long memorial day weekend, I went to Charleston with my friend. We spent an amazing weekend at the beach and it was perfect weather and sooo relaxing.
Besides my private trips during my time off, I went on vacation with my host family. They took me to Connecticut during Thanksgiving, where I had the opportunity to spend another day in New York City.
7. CRUISES AND BEACHES
In January we went on a Cruise from Tampa, Florida to Cozumel, Mexico. During spring break we went to the beach in Oak Island in North Carolina. I really enjoyed these trips; not only because of the dreamy places we visited, but also because it was a much needed change of routine.
On all these trips, I met family and friends of my host family and we always had a fun time. I sure made a lot of memories on those trips. I’ll never forget my first Thanksgiving in a small house with many people, the cruise surprise for my host grandma or my first time body boarding with my host boy at the beach during spring break.
Luckily, I’m not done traveling at this point, because I’m not done at all. I will start chapter 2 of my au pair adventure with a new host family in New Jersey in July. I still have a lot to explore here and I’m excited to continue in my second year! Until then, check out my next blog post: “12 Months, 12 Memories: Time to say goodbye to my current host family!”