My route was: LAS-JFK-MSY-JFK-PIT-JFK-BUF (& Niagara Falls)-JFK-MCO-JFK-CLT-BOS (& Salem)-JFK-BTV-JFK-LAS-JFK-IAD-JFK-DEN.
It doesnít actually look like so much when you list it like that, but I spent a couple of days in each place, and workload demanded I shack up in New York for a block of a few days on two occasions. Luckily I had a AYCJ fangirl friend who let me use her spare bedroom as a crashpad. All in all, there were many goods and just as many bads. Here they are:
· Getting to see places that otherwise Iíd never have dared risk spending money or time on making a specific trip to. Apologies, Pittsburghin the end, you had me at hello with those cheery yellow bridges.
· Revisiting places that I know well and love, but wouldnít be able to justify forking out to go see again. Iíd been itching to make my fifth trip to New Orleans all year, and I can never turn down a picture at the White House, so I went to DC for the day as well.
· Staying with people I barely knew/my grandparents had known/I hadnít seen since college when they were single and baby-less/were hitherto only known to me as Twitter avatars.
· Meeting new people all over the country. I didnít hang out with any other AYCJ-ers at all, Iím afraid, but I did make new friends in the places I visited, which is kind of the way I like to travel.
· Seeing how stereotypes of Americans really are spot on. It was TSA supervisor Himes at Charlotte airport giving me a hug when I said how nice her team was that really confirmed it. Well, that and getting the cold shoulder in New England.
· Seeing America from the sky. Your country is bloody beautiful! And it upsets me to see how you all pull down the blind right after takeoff and donít look down once as you fly over places the rest of us pay good money and deal with your immigration people to see.
· Getting to stay with a lovely JetBlue flight attendant in Buffalo. More on that another time.
· Seeing things I learned about in school but never dreamed Iíd actually go to, like Niagara Falls.
· Going places for a day, like Pittsburgh, or flying to Vegas for one night only.
· Enjoying the magnificence of JetBlueís 34 inches of legroom. Iím six foot tall and itís the only time Iíve been able to fly in a window seat.
· Eating local food. Lots of it. Mmmm buffalo wings in Buffalo.
· Flying in the appalling weather thatís been hitting the East Coast. Iíve been convinced Iím going to die in turbulence on most flights Only watching TJ Holmes on CNN has been able to calm me down, and the bumpy ride from DC to JFK on Monday actually resuscitated my vertigo thatís been dormant for two years.
· Realizing that not all JetBlue people are as lovely as my Buffalo FA. Some of them are downright narky.
· Constant delays because of the weather (8 hours in Pittsburgh, a cancelled flight in Burlington). Luckily, my connecting flights were never too late.
· Dealing with the TSA around the country. Not everyone was as nice as the crew in Charlotte, and Iím still feeling slightly dirty from the only full body scan that I actually agreed to (more on that another time, too).
· Exhaustion. Iíve travelled for a month before. Last summer I drove across America for six weeks. But Iíve never been as tired as this. I can only put it down to the stress of flying and the fact that I was working the whole time.
· My waistline as it stands at the end of the trip. Too much indulging in local food, and Iím not sure how Iíll survive once I go cold turkey from the chocolate chip cookies they serve on every flight.
All in all, though, would I do it again? In a heartbeat. I want to go back to Houston, for a start, and thereís no way Iím paying just to do that.