Recently by Charlotte Beeching
The latest leg of my round-the-world trip took me, perhaps predictably being a Britsh backpacker, to Australia. I have spent the last few weeks travelling up the east coast and set out to discover why so many Brits choose to spend a year or more of their life in a country they've never visited, what attracts them to stay once they arrive and if there is anything we could learn from it to help the UK tourism industry.
British cities outside London have long lived in the capital's shadow, but I didn't appreciate quite how much until I took this trip.
When people from outside Europe hear an English accent they tend to assume you're from London and respond with a blank expression when you correct them. Cities including Birmingham are actively working to raise their profile and attract more visitors and good results have undoubtedly been achieved. But how can the UK unite to make sure the message is being heard internationally, particularly outside Europe, that there's life in the UK outside the M25?
The west coast of America is a popular route for road trippers and so two weeks ago we met some friends in Seattle and have been driving south heading to Los Angeles.
We made a rough plan before we left of where we'd like to stay and driving times but the only real requirement was reaching LA in time for our friends to catch their flight home. Along the way we've seen some beautiful coastline and visited some lovely places, but I don't think we were quite prepared for how much time we'd have to spend in the car.
We've just left Nashville where we spent a few days and I have to say I'd love to have stayed longer. Having moved from big city to big city in the first part of our trip it was a welcome change to go somewhere we could enjoy a slower pace of life and see a very different side to America.
It's easy to take your home comforts for granted, but one thing that you have to compromise on when travelling for an extended period of time is the quality of accommodation you can afford to stay in. While we were open to the idea of hostels I must admit we were far from keen, but we have been very pleasantly surprised.
I always thought the English accent was pretty recognisable, but apparently not. I've got a bit of a Brummie twang and while Charlotte H doesn't really have a regional accent she sounds distinctly English. So far on our travels people have guessed that we're from Cleveland, Canada, Australia, Scotland and Ireland. Maybe they don't get many English visitors in America.
The last time I flew long haul I was ten years old and travelling to Disneyworld with my family. Here I am 18 years later in week one of a round-the-world trip with a friend I met working at Marketing Birmingham who happens to share the same name.