Wednesday 1st February 2017
It is a day that will go down in infamy. A date so seemingly inconspicuous, that it wont register with most. However this was the day my Solo Trip to the USA was to begin. A trip that I never thought would get approved by Mrs LJ!. It was a trip that came with many a raised eyebrow, "You are travelling alone?" That was the main query and the point at which most people lost their understanding of the appeal surrounding my excursion.
As someone who enjoys their own company, to the point of being fully relaxed when alone, I couldn't see the issue. Of course, to be honest, I had never planned to do this alone. In early 2016, when the idea of a Bucket List trip to the Super Bowl began to take shape, I had a number of interested drinking buddies, who wished to take the trip. The day, in May, when I got official approval to go, I wasted no time in booking my flights. I figured it would be harder to withdraw my permission slip, if money had already been spent.
So with return flights to Orlando secured, I thought that gave any travelling companions solid dates to work off. As time ticked on, people fell by the wayside. Guys with Wives and Kids had their applications to travel turned down, some with just a withering look. My dates however, remained set, my plans were a go!
So that's how I ended up travelling to the USA for 6 nights on my own. The big plan of drinking local craft beer, eating Steak in the February sunshine and watching Super Bowl 51 was a reality. If only for a short while.
The biggest amendment to the trip, came not through a lack of drinking buddies as expected. No, the real fork in the road was down to the National Football League and their unwillingness to negotiate when it came to ticket prices. They really seem to value their product and I suppose, rightly so. However, crucially they didn't seem to realise that having spent close to £1300/$1600 on Flights, Hotel and Car Hire. I was a few bucks shy of the $5500 asking price for a seat at the game.
Image courtesy of the NFL
So with Travelling companions sorted, or not, and a seat at the Game unattainable. Despite several begging emails to the Commissioner, my trip was set. This is where trip planning for one comes into its own. You only have yourself to please. Which is a doddle as I am very easy going. As long as there is Beer.
I intend to break my trip report down into separate articles and as with all great tales some of it ends up on the cutting room floor. This is where Sleeping, bodily functions and shopping will be left. The real story is in the Booze and that's what I will recount in a raconteur like fashion.
Each day will have a post of its own and after editing, will look a bit like this
Day 1 Drinking across the Atlantic
Day 2 Drinking across the World Part I & II
Day 3 Mojito's, Margarita's and a Mortgage Payment
Day 5 Super Bowl Sunday at a Breastaurant
Day 6 In Ireland we just call it a Bar
I was lucky enough to travel home with the Legend that is Billy Connolly, and hopefully I picked up some of his storytelling skills, lets see.
*When I say travelled home, he was about 32 rows in front of me, in the fancy seats on the plane. I nodded to him at Baggage reclaim. I am pretty sure he said Morning, either that or it was Moron! Pals for life Big Yin