Ben's excellent US adventure
In January I travelled to the USA for 10 days, travelling around the states of California, Arizona, Utah and Nevada. This trip was my first international adventure and as such I had to learn many important skills even before I left Australia. This included how to get a passport, organize notes to allow my treatment factor across international borders and finding travel insurance that would cover haemophilia related incidents.
The trip itself started peacefully; my treatment kits passing easily through customs before a 15 hour long airbus flight across the Pacific Ocean to Los Angeles. With a 12 hour stopover in Los Angeles I had some time to check out some local tourist attractions like Venice beach, Santa Monica Pier and the California Science Centre before catching another flight into Phoenix, Arizona at 2am in the morning.
The next few days after that were spent at the NACCHO conference (North American Camping Conference of Hemophilia Organizations) where I got to meet some amazing people from Turkey, Canada, The Netherlands and of course the US who all ran camps for kids with haemophilia. These few days were an amazing learning experience and it was truly inspiring to be around some of these brilliant people and learn how and why they do what they do; I have great hopes of one day getting to visit one of their camps myself.
After the conference was over, the final portion of my adventure was spent travelling through southern Utah through some absolutely stunning national parks including the Grand Canyon National Park, Antelope Canyon and Zion National Park. This would have had to be my favourite part of my trip; with my camera over one shoulder and my little Esky of emergency factor over the other: hiking through these great American national parks through landscapes I had seen countless times on a screen but had never been able to truly experience until now.
My last night in the US was a late one, walking down the Las Vegas strip and looking into some of the famous casinos (though being just under 21 years of age the option of gambling was totally unavailable), the lights of which could be seem filling the horizon from over 2 miles away. After flying out of Vegas back into LA most of my final 12 hours before my flight back home was spent at the Universal Studios theme park, the highlight of this being the famous Universal Studios tram tour where we went through sets of a lot of famous movies and TV shows including Desperate Housewives, Psycho and War of the Worlds.
Totally exhausted after far too many hours of being awake I fell asleep during the take-off from my flight to wake 11 hours later only 4 hours away from home.
The end of my adventure was really quite easy; I had no trouble getting through customs and my family was there waiting for me to take me home where I was more than keen to get some more sleep and spend the next few days fighting the jetlag.
For those of you out there with haemophilia thinking that maybe you want to travel the world, I would definitely recommend it; I have well and truly caught the travel bug and can't wait for my next chance to go out and see the world. The prospect may be scary for now but if you prepare well and travel with friends you trust then I can almost guarantee you will not regret it.
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