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Chapter 11 - USA, Here We Come!

Posted by Gerry Kelly on

After an amazing year in Australia, it was time to move on. Four of us flew out of Melbourne on the same flight heading to New Zealand. By now,all our good friends were back in Ireland, bored and pissed off with only memories of their trip. It was a bit depressing leaving Australia knowing that we were now on the last leg of our round the world trip and I still had no idea of what I wanted to do with my life.


I had already spent eight weeks traveling around New Zealand, so I decided to continue on to Figi for a few weeks. The four of us ended up on a little Island called Mana. It was paradise: warm turquoise water, palm
trees, golden sand and chilled out big Fijian people.

While sitting on the beach one morning, I saw an extremely pale looking girl walking towards us. I had a sneaky suspicion she was Irish. She was milk bottle white with rosy red hair. Your stereotypical Irish girl.
Turned out she was from Dublin and was on route to Australia and had just come from San Francisco. We got chatting and she said to me, “You gotta check out San Francisco! There’s something about it. It just draws you in."

"Wow," I thought. That was the second person who told me about San Francisco in the last few months. There must be something to this San Francisco place.

After a few weeks in Figi, we got a flight to Hawaii. We flew into Oahu. Again, we didn't have a clue where we were going, so we did the usual. We went to the bookstore in the airport and read through the trusty Lonely Planet travel guide and took down some names and numbers of some local hotels and hostels.

We ended up staying in a dodgy hostel in Honolulu and sharing a room with some pretty straight backpackers from France. We were now in Hawaii and decided to head out on the town and celebrate “Irish style.” We hit up a load of cheesy tourist bars. We kind of knew it was probably our last big night out together for a while, so we made sure it was a good one. We stumbled back to the hostel like a pack of wild dogs, three sheets to the wind at about 4am. We were shouting and roaring, waking up everybody in
the hostel. We clambered back into our bunks. We were super noisy and obviously very annoying. There were eight to a room. My buddy Liam lit up a cigarette in his bed. That was the final straw. A pretty big French lad jumped out of his bed in a pair of “Y Fronts” shouting and screaming at us to shut the F&*q up and telling Liam to put the cigarette out. “Chill out Pierre, or I’ll put you out,” Liam said in a calm passive/aggressive tone. I guess he wasn't used to being told off, especially by some pretty tough drunk Irish guy who was sharing a room with him. He didn’t say another word. He gave Liam a look and got back
into bed and went to sleep. He was gone before we got up, thank God.

We left the hostel the next afternoon and made our way to Waimea Bay on the North Shore of Oahu. We rented out a caravan in a pretty cool campground that was full of surfers and backpackers. We had barbecues there nearly every night for a week and got to meet some fun local surfers and more backpackers.

Our next stop was Los Angeles. Four of us arrived in LAX and got a shuttle to Venice Beach. We booked into a budget hotel called the “Jolly Roger” about half a mile from Venice boardwalk. If I didn't know what I
was doing before, now, I was really lost. I didn't know a sinner in LA and our hotel was very impersonal. After getting used to staying in hostels and meeting other travelers, I felt a bit out of place in our boring hotel room in LA.

We only stayed two nights in LA. It’s definitely a bit of a daunting city if you don’t know anyone.

Liam and our other buddy Ciaran decided to get a train to Chicago. Liam’s brother was there for the summer playing Gaelic football and had room in his house for them. It was pretty sad to leave the lads especially after traveling for approx two years with Liam and living in London together. We had no idea when we’d see everyone again.

My buddy Des (also known as Dingo Des) and I decided to get a bus to San Francisco and see what all the fuss was about.

Next stop San Francisco.

One important thing I learned from my final leg of my journey is: It’s not where you are that matters, it’s who you’re with. Whoever is beside you and around you makes all the difference in the world.

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