By Rebecca Root
Everyone has their own US bucket list before heading to camp. It’s a quick compilation of those most-see locations to hit up once the bunks are all boarded up and the kids have headed home. I was no different.
In the May months I spent the hours inking the words New York and Miami into the front of my diary. During June I was glued to Google searching for the best hostels to stay in in LA. Once camp had started, the chatter amongst my friends became all about where we would go after camp.
On the days where the campers were slowly driving us to insanity we would dream of night life in San Fran and bus tours in D.C. When the heat kept creeping up we talked of Disneyland and trips to Harvard. We had the US travel bug and it only got more severe as August slipped on by.
My top five locations were probably the obvious hotspots in the big US of A. Like most counsellors I expected that after camp I’d be racing from east to west coast and the plan was to hit these places hard and fast and ultimately I did.
I had an epic few days in New York City. I whizzed around LA hitting up Beverly Hills, Hollywood and Venice Beach while staying in a very questionable hostel in Inglewood. I then jetted back east side for a few weeks of sun soaking in Miami. Then it was back up north for the history of the capital, Washington D.C, and Philadelphia.
I saw all the things I’d seen in the movies and could brag about them for years to come. But, when somebody asked me what my favourite places were to visit after camp these top cities didn’t make the cut. No no, for me, after months of tough work and camp dinners these renowned cities were nudged off the list by the simpler things in life.
1. The hotel shower
After months of playing dodgeball with the mosquitoes in the moulding bunk shower and mastering the art of hose downs in record time, a hot and heavy shower in a glistening hotel room is just what the director ordered. A bit of Imperial Lather is what’s required to shed the summer dirt.
2. A good restaurant
An 8oz steak, a glass of fresh OJ, even a decent caesar salad. A good restaurant has to be in the top five list after weeks of a camp kitchen diet. While grilled cheese and ice cream parties aren’t bad at all, a good feed at a renowned restaurant will reenergise those weary bones.
3. A spa (mani/pedi)
Months in the American wilderness running after wild beasts (aka campers) and plunging into chilly lakes will take their toll on a counsellor’s amenities. So, it’s a quick dash to the nearest spa for a scrub and soak to get those months of hard toil scrubbed away.
4. A mall
Finally the real world and a few new items are needed to replenish the holy and pretty grubby camp wardrobe that seems to have appeared. A trip to a few of America’s high street shops will take camp chic to travel boho.
5. A bar
Weekly bar runs to the local juke box using, moose head hanging, hillbilly dancing bars have been pretty good thus far. Jello shots and bar top dancing have been a staple of camp life but once back in civilisation, chart topping hits and city side swagger is definitely needed in a real city bar.