Alright, so as you already know, we’re trying to inspire people to start traveling and change their lives. We’re completely aware of the fact that some people don’t find themselves in that lifestyle. That’s completely fine!
We encourage you to at least try and book a flight ticket to somewhere and just have an open mind. Who knows what could happen, right?
Well, I would love to share one travel story with you and hopefully inspire you to try something similar!
The story goes like this..
One day, I was drinking a coffee with my friend in Varaždin and he asked me why don’t I apply for Work & Travel in the USA. At that time, I was the most unconfident guy whose only objective was to finish the college as fast as possible and find a job.
When I reflect on that, it was so funny as today I would say I’m a lot different person, but that’s the story for another post. Let’s stick to this one!
So, long story short, I actually applied for W&T and went to the USA for three months!
In this article, I will share the most memorable moments and stories with you! Some of them were illegal, some of them were crazy, while others were sad and breathtaking.
The purpose of this article is to show you how beautiful is the world and how many great moments you can experience and people you can meet if you go just a bit outside of your comfort zone!
Sit tight as this article is going to be a bit longer! Let’s start!
Where Has Everything Started?
I don’t want to write a whole book, so I’ll be short here – Cape May, NJ.
It seems like it was easy to get there, but believe me, the trip was a crazy thing with so many experiences happened to me in just one day.
Actually, everything went smooth, except I paid for a taxi from Belgrade center to the airport a whopping $20 to a shady taxi driver. I’m smiling at that experience now, but at least I arrived at the airport in one piece.
Next thing I remember was me sitting in the airplane looking outside from the window. The plane was still on the track. My heart started to pump like crazy and my palms started to sweat. That was the moment I knew, we’re going to fly and I was so scared of height!
I still remember when wheels set off from the ground! Oh man, in seconds we were overlooking Belgrade (such a magnificent view).
I don’t believe there is anyone who is staring out the window during the whole trip! I was so amazed by the view and so consumed in my thoughts that I literally stared all the way to Paris.
Next thing I remembered was wondering about the size of Paris airport. Man, that airport is HUGEEE that you literally drive around terminals in a bus!
I had a layover of around 3 hours and it was so funny when I stumbled upon PS4s. I tried to play something, but I was so tired that I didn’t find a way to turn on that thing. After some time, I realized the gate for my flight was opened, so I went there to check out how to proceed.
I will tell you something now – if you’re flying to the USA, the immigration officers are CRAZY! The woman immediately asked me so many questions about my visa and why I’m going there and that was the moment I realized that I don’t speak English well at all! It made me think how I was going to work in the restaurant as a server with my broken English.
Anyway, after 20 minutes of speaking with that lady, I passed the control and found myself on the plane again. This time, I was a bit scared as I knew I’m leaving a continent for 3 months which was a huge thing for me, and still is!
The next thing I remember was the scene below:
Maybe it doesn’t show much to you, but the land you see is the eastern coast of the USA. Oh boy, that was the time my anxiety kicked in! I was so mindfucked with the fact that I actually did it! This was the point of no return!
We’re doing it, baby! But it was still a long way to Cape May.
Amazing Little Town at the Southernmost Point of Jersey Shore – Cape May
When I finally arrived in Cape May after the longest bus ride of my life, Petra and Joka (two girls from Croatia who were already there, now great friends) waited for me for I guess few hours!
I met a Serbian guy on the way to Cape May from Philadelphia and stepped in the wrong bus. We went together to Atlantic City but separated our ways in Wildwood.
I was waiting at the bus station for at least two hours until my bus arrived. Now, here’s the funniest story!
If you’re going by the car from Wildwood to Cape May, you’ll probably need around 30 minutes.
I was very optimistic about the ride as I saw a big lady behind the wheel, so I thought she got everything under control. Oh man, how wrong I was!
We were driving around Wildwood for at least one hour until I saw a bus station in Wildwood again. I was so mindfucked at that moment, so I went to ask the lady am I on the right bus! She nodded positively but completely ignored me when I tried to make a joke.
Two and a half hours later I finally arrived!
One important note if you plan to travel by American buses: Always wear long sleeves as they tend to put AC on a freezing temperature. I don’t know the reason though!
Alright, so by now, you may have the idea of how my first trip looked like. I want to start sharing the pictures and crazy experiences from the road from now on.
The Life and People in Cape May Were So Chilled and Positive…
That was the main room in our house. I was living in the house in the center of town and sharing it with other 10 or more people. There were some negative things among people there, but overall, the positives won. I really had an amazing experience during my stay there as I was living with like-minded people mainly from Europe (Croatia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Poland, Russia).
At the time I arrived, everyone was so busy working two jobs at the same time. I wasn’t lazy, but I was just chilling around and working three to four shifts per week in a restaurant.
You can see on the picture above how my days usually looked like if I was too lazy to get up and go to the beach that was 3 minutes away.
I was so lucky that the ‘Liquor Store’ was also a few minutes away from my home and on the way to my job. I’m a curious person by nature, so I decided I wanted to try as many beers as possible, so it was very rare not to find any beer in the house!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an alcoholic, but if you ever worked a season then you know the importance of that one beer after the hard working day, right?
In Cape May, I actually started to cook a lot. This was my usual breakfast. I’m really thankful to Joka who was so keen to show me some of her special cooking techniques!
Well, I wasn’t actually that good! If your eggs end up looking like this, then you know you don’t know a thing! But who cares, you can still eat that, right?
I needed a lot of calories to perform all kind of jobs and this one was the funniest one! Yeah, I was actually coloring the furniture for one guy whose family was coming to see him from Sweden (such a cool guy).
He always tended to say I was doing a great job, but later I found out that he was talking I’m the worst painter in the universe. Well, you simply can’t paint furniture outdoors below a tree. It’s a good feeling when you get $200 for a few hours of bad work! That American logic again!
Anyway, I was so proud of what I did so no one is going to tell a negative thing about my paintings!
When you first arrive at a new place, the time slows down, but after some time, the time will start to move really fast. That fast, so you forget you only have one week left in the city you had so great time in.
It’s like a heartbreak. You shared so many great memories with other people and you fall in love with the city and people and now it’s time to move on. I still don’t know to cope with it, but I guess the acceptance of moving should be a trait each adventurer should possess.
A beautiful Island Grill, a small restaurant where I was working as a busser. There were so many ups and downs there, especially in my mental state as I was working like crazy during my time in Cape May.
My daily routine when I realized I needed a second job was: Get up at 7 am, show at the first restaurant by 8 am, work till 3 pm, shower and go to another job in 3:30 until 10 – 11 pm.
It requires a lot of mental training to succeed in that, especially if you’re working in dynamic environments, and oh boy, working in a restaurant is the environment you can’t expect resting.
Well, I’m lying here as I remembered few days where I was cutting olives during the whole working time. That thing requires some mental strength!
You’re not ready for restaurant work if you can’t cut olives for at least 5 hours straight! Thank you Josh!
One of the most epic days in Cape May is captured in the picture above.
Imagine a scene like this: big ocean waves, a spliff in your mouth, sunset on your right, amazing people surrounding you and just being in the moment. It’s hard to explain that particular day, but it was closest to a pure happiness I guess!
Also, this is the beach where I spent so much time talking and thinking about life. Sometimes, we spent almost a whole night there just listening to the waves and simply having a great time.
I remembered one night when we went there around 1 am and we planned to watch the sunrise. Man, we spend a whole night on the beach, just being present, looking at the stars, listening to the ocean.
That was one of the most epic experiences I’ve got there as I truly learned how to become grateful for small things.
The only thing that went bad was the actual sunrise was on the other side of the island, so we didn’t catch it, but I believe that night will stay in my life forever!
Last Days in Cape May
By the time Joka, Petra and me left Cape May, the house was already half empty.
You know, I never said that, but I was in a kind of low mood during that time as, let’s face it, it’s hard to say goodbye to someone you maybe never see again. In these two months, we became really good friends and it was a time to say goodbye, maybe forever.
So many great things happened in Cape May. Even Artem proposed Lena on the beach man!
I still remember us celebrating in the house. Balkan people on my right, Balkan people on my left, you know how that story ended, don’t you?
Well, we ended up so drunk that I was singing Country roads in the middle of the road while we were heading to the beach for a night swim. I remembered people were dancing on my performance, so maybe I’m not that bad singer at all?
Anyway, I just wanted to share the last house party in Cape May in steps:
- We bought a ton of alcohol to properly say goodbye to people
- Me and Matt (a crazy guy from the restaurant) had two bottles of Jack Daniels
- 1 hour later Matt told me if we were running low on whiskey that he would bring a Moonshine
- 1 hour later, I’m drinking a Moonshine with unknown people and everyone was extremely drunk
- Moments later I was at the front of the house, sitting and speaking with one Serbian girl, but I said her something like “I can’t speak anymore, I’m totally drunk.”
- Waking up in the morning still drunk, packing my stuff for the last shift in the restaurant. I saw unfamiliar people waking up around the house, but I just couldn’t give a F**K.
- Trying to drive a bicycle with Artem, but we were still so drunk and we stopped as it wasn’t the best idea
- The hardest day in my life just begun
I was still alive, so at that point, I knew that only something really bad can kill me haha.
A Roadtrip Across America Can Start!
As much as I was unhappy to leave people and the place I really loved, I was excited to start the road trip. That was the thing I was sparing my money on (like many other people).
I was happy to share the moments with Joka and Petra on the east coast and getting together with Artem and Lena on West Coast.
Philadephia was our first stop. We were lucky to went with two people from Cape May who were Petra’s employers.
In Philadelphia, we went to watch Eagles play in a huge XFinity complex. I remembered that day as it was yesterday, with the few holes in my memory!
If you ever watched a movie Hungover, this was a really close experience!
Highlights from Philadelphia:
- Totally wasted on a hostel check-in. I couldn’t even type or say my name in English
- Getting into VIP without even having a VIP seat
- Getting lost in Philly totally drunk trying to find a hostel which, by my luck, was in the same street I was walking around trying to find it
- Climbing Rocky Stairs and overlooking the city
- Exploring the prison where Al Capone was imprisoned
Next stop was Washington D.C. I was so stunned with the ghetto surrounding the city! I couldn’t believe it’s the America’s capital!
Staying there for a few days was a good way to get our energy back since we were drinking a lot! The city has so many cultural monuments and pubs with amazing craft beer!
Highlights from Washington D.C.:
- Standing in front of White House
- Drinking a black beer with chocolate aftertaste (one of my favorite beers of all time! Unfortunately I can’t remember the name.)
- Exploring the museums and majority of them were free to enter
Miami was the last stop on our East Coast exploration. We spent there two or three days in a party hostel. I must say I would probably never go in a party hostel again!
I remembered when a taxi driver said that we arrived. Man, we were walking through the lobby to check in while around 20 drunk people had an amazing time there.
Everyone was dancing and drinking on the way to our room, but we were totally wasted by our flight and few hours of sleep. We pass it on.
It’s really hard to get some quality sleep when you share your room with 10 other people who’re in the city to drink and party.
Anyway, I’m thankful for meeting Jorge from Paraguay. We had some great time and talked about many stuff!
In Miami, I celebrated my birthday too in a very inconvenient way. I would never say that I would enjoy drinking on the Miami Beach some cheap vodka, talking with great people and simply had an amazing time! Actually, when I reflect on that, I need to celebrate one of my further birthdays that way!
Highlights from Miami:
- Drinking Coronas all day in the shade of palm trees
- Swimming in the ocean on Miami Beach. Man, the water was so amazing and I actually talked about tattoos with some guy who spent 10 years in prison while floating in the water.
- Night swims in the water
- Seeing iguana from few meter distance
- Birthday celebration
Our next stop was Los Angeles baby! We were meeting with Artem and Lena whom I became very close too. We actually meet in Prague after our America trip!
We rented a huge car and that car basically acted as our second home as we were spending so much time there exploring the city. LA is one of the biggest cities I’ve ever been to, so it would be very hard to explore it without a car.
Our life was very relaxed and happy. We simply just walked, drink beers, hiked, caught every sunset, swim in the cold Pacific ocean. You know life in LA is something different and that vibe is simply hard to beat.
Highlights from LA:
- Meeting again with Artem and Lena
- Having a car
- Driving through Pacific Highway with a sunset in your eyes
- Swimming in Malibu Beach
- Two words – Venice Beach!
- Hiking to Hollywood Sign and overlooking the city!
Our next stop was San Diego, the city which overlooks the Mexican border. I was so close to Mexico!
This city looks very nice as there I didn’t see any trash or homeless people on the streets. So much different than LA.
I really enjoyed swimming and catching the waves. The Pacific is very cold compared to Atlantic ocean, but the waves are way bigger. The perfect combination for someone who thinks he knows to surf! Actually, one day in Cape May, I almost broke my spine while bodysurfing, so I’m not good at all!
A great experience we had was driving to Cabrillo National Monument to explore the nature there. The only thing was that the park was closed.
As being a man from Balkan and surrounded with few more Balkan girls, it’s not hard to guess how it went.
We jumped over the ramp and explore it on our own. I don’t regret a single moment doing that and we were actually rewarded with an amazing sunset you can see in the picture above.
Highlights from San Diego:
- Catching the biggest waves I’ve ever seen in my life
- Jumping over the ramp to explore the park
- Randomly met Serbian girls walking and chilling around San Diego
- Amazing scenery and very chilled city to spend your time
I deeply believe Vegas was the moment we’re all secretly waiting for! Well, who wouldn’t be so hyped about Vegas knowing that we’re going to attend the wedding there?
Artem and Lena got married in Vegas and man, it was a real Hungover scene!
So, the story went like this:
We all get our suits and we were looking really good! The limo waited in front of our hostel, and from there we went to chapel. The priest was a black man (I’m not racist), but at that moment, I was laughing hard when I first saw this dude. After his speech, I was so amazed by his performance and great energy!
After the wedding ceremony was done, we went in the limo again and started to drink hard!
I remembered that was the smallest tip you need to give a limo rider, but we leave it a way lower as Artem and Lena overpaid a whole wedding ceremony. Later, we meet this guy in the front of Bellagio and at that moment we were so drunk so we were trying to avoid him. It was so crazy coincidence.
After that, we just explored the hotels and Vegas strip suited and prepared for a wedding. Except we were already drunk as hell!
I really loved the night when we came back to our hostel, drink like crazy (Artem won us all in drinking) and just talk, talk and talk! Awesome night!
Again, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!
Highlights from Vegas:
- Wedding in Vegas. Let’s face it, it was simply an amazing experience and I was so lucky to the part of it!
After the wedding, we took a day-trip to Grand Canyon.
Can you remember when someone told you “it took my breath away”?
I heard that phrase many times, but never actually experienced anything like that. I’m so thankful that I experienced Grand Canyon as this place really took my breath away.
I remember driving on a windy road without seeing a single bit of canyon. We were all talking in the car and suddenly someone started to shout. I moved my head to left and see the canyon.
Man, the first scene of that canyon will always remain in my mind. It was so unreal. It was like someone put a picture of that beauty and present it to you.
It’s hard to explain and it’s a real miracle.
Later during that day, we caught the last bus that drops you on one point where people watch the sunset.
I remember waiting in a huge row for the bus and after some time we were sitting on the cliff, overlooking Grand Canyon with the sunset in our eyes!
After Grand Canyon, we knew that we’re going to separate our ways with Artem and Lena. I thought that I became very good at saying goodbye, but this one was so hard!
They went to San Francisco, while we were taking a flight to NYC.
We arrived in NYC and waited for some time at the airport as we were scared to take a subway during the night (haha). After we finally boarded the subway, we went straight to Brooklyn where we took an Airbnb.
The problem was that our host was available later in the day which meant we needed to wait.
Every normal person would just sit in a bar and take a coffee. We’re definitely not normal!
You would never guess where we went! We went to wash our laundry!
I remembered Joka was taking care of laundry while I was sleeping in the chair there. Imagine what passed through people’s minds when they saw me sleeping there.
Anyway, after few hours we finally meet our host who seemed like a decent Hungarian guy. He showed us around and took us in few bars.
We entered one bar, finished a few beers, then he proposed to show us a really special place!
I still remembered his words: “I will show you something magnificent! Follow me!” and he entered another bar and ordered a beer and fireball for everyone. I guess the Hungarians really love to drink in NYC, but we weren’t saying no!
Highlights from NYC:
- Crossing a Brooklyn Bridge. I remember goosebumps I’ve got during that experience. The reason was that as a kid, I always wanted to visit NYC. I actually got familiar with the city thanks to street view.
- Walking from Battery Park to Central Park
- Being surrounded by so many buildings
- Drinking an Irish Coffee in the pub where ‘How I Met Your Mother’ was shot. The Irish coffee is a special coffee mixed with whiskey. I remembered I asked a bartender if he could put a milk or coffee as it’s too strong and he replied: “You’re the first one who’s not asking for more whiskey!”
One Last Stop Before Heading Home – Amsterdam!
Well, I always dreamed of visiting Amsterdam and checking coffee shops there!
It was an amazing chance that I was able to set my returning flight with a layover in Amsterdam.
Dude, I had a whole day to spend there!
When I arrived at the airport I went to sleep on the floor as I had a crazy jet lag.
After I woke up, I realized that I was totally alone for the first time in a few months. Anyway, I went outside the airport and head over to the center.
My mobile phone was off, so I didn’t have an internet. I was on the mission to find a coffee shop by myself, but knowing me, it wouldn’t be a problem.
I instantly found one, sat there, bought one pre-roll and got so high I couldn’t remember if I’ve ever been that high. Only the half of joint was done, but the situation seemed like I wasn’t going to get less high for a lot of time.
I went outside the coffee shop probably a few hours later with a half of joint in my pocket.
I had a chance to explore a bit of city as it was raining hard, but still, I had an amazing time there!
Coming Home After Three Best Months of My Life
When I finally arrive home, I was so stunned by the thing that people were still the same doing the same things like they were doing before I left.
Me: “What happened in your life during these three months?”
Others: “Well, it was busy, we did that thing we’re doing every other day, you know. Just a regular stuff. It was fun.”
When someone asked me how was my time, well, it was hard to explain in just one sentence!
- Believe me, your life starts outside your comfort zone
- Even if you’re traveling solo, you’ll never be alone as you’ll meet so many amazing people on the road
- You need to be tough as there is no place for whining. Always be ready to do your business even if it’s hard
- Money and materialism isn’t everything. Experience is something nobody can buy!
- Traveling really widens your perspectives on the world and you become a better person
- Traveling helped me in transforming me from a very shy and unconfident person to someone who is not scared of taking risks, someone who is really good with people and most importantly, someone who knows how important is happiness
- Be thankful even for small things, moments and people. It’s always hard to say goodbye
- Enjoy the moment and be completely present!
- Traveling is the best teacher
Sorry for a long post, but it was just my two cents.
I could talk and write for days, but it would be hard for anyone to follow that story as there were so many things to talk about!
Hope this story will motivate just one person! I would be really thankful for that!
If you’d like to know more, feel free to contact me and I will share the details with you!
For the end, I’m sharing my ugly face with you! You know, even the ugly people can have amazing experiences watching the sunset in Santa Monica, LA.