And so, as all their friends went back to school, our girls took a plane and we headed to the USA…. To be fair, the USA wasn’t really on our travel radar – whenever we’d discussed how we’d spend this sabatical year we’d always thought we’d hang out in India and hike in the Himalayas, or maybe go to language school in South America and then backpack our way through that continent, or perhaps take some intrepid wanderings along the silk route… but the USA became our first stop because Kirsty was invited to teach some workshops at a photography conference there – not only that, but on kids travel photography, and given how passionate she is on that subject it was an opportunity she couldn’t turn down…. so off we flew, first stop NYC!!!
NYC was amazing! Not only did we get to hang out with a whole load of friends and family (including Kirsty’s besties from school) but it’s like being in a real live film set – every corner has a different iconic sight!! From NYC we took the overnight train to Chicago – where we hung out with yet more friends – yippeeeee!! We then took a 2 day 2 night train to Salt Lake City – yup, everyone thought we were crazy, but it was the ideal amount of downtime for Kirsty to finalise her class notes and for us to chill after the long flights and busy days at the start of our trip – perfect!!Salt Lake City deserves another post all of it’s own (well so do most of these places but this is a brief run down of the year after all!!) I, Kirsty, was taking 4 small group sessions at the Click Away conference – the ladies there were just wonderful – from people I’d admired when I was starting out, to people I’d met online who took me under their wings, to the amazing participants who filled classes and asked questions and indulged me rambling on about my passions – I found a love for teaching that I never actually realised was there!!
And out of 8,000 entries I won the “Street” category of the Voice photo contest with this picture of our trip to Paris a few years ago – when we have a home again this will be going on the wall!!! We visited the Utah state fair – a veritable culinary and livestock experience the like of which I’ve never seen before!!!
And we hung out with friends at the Great Salt Lake – wow – what a place!!Following SLC we took a road trip through Utah and Colorado – my gosh, what amazingly beautiful states they are… they’re well on the list for places we must go back to one day!!We then headed to Mexico, for a brief rest and a few margaritas and nachos! And then we flew to Cuba. We had figured while we were that side of the world we should visit somewhere else and had been trying to decide between Mexico and Cuba. On the advice of a Mexican friend who suggested that Cuba would change more in the next few years than Mexico we headed to Havana and it looks like that was a good choice!We started in Havana and the headed to the tobacco growing region of Vinales – aaah, it was wonderful – just like a painting, full of limestone scenery and cavesAnd mojitos!!!!And vintage cars – everywhere, just as people imagine!!From there we headed south to the gorgeous colonial town of Trinidad – where we took salsa lessons!!From Trinidad we headed back to Santa Clara and Havana again – we travelled slowly and soaked Cuba up instead of trying to rush it all – it’s much bigger, and takes much longer to get around than you’d think!!! I guess we think of it as a little Caribbean island, but actually it’s probably larger than the UK!
And so, we left Cuba, a place so vastly different from the technologically developed west, or the land of no wifi as Indy called it, and flew back to Abu Dhabi to commence the next chapter of our travels…..