Me in ‘Murica

Look at me experiencing new things in reality. From July 3rd-8th I had the pleasure of visiting The Great American State of New Jersey on a first time leaving Canada vacation adventure (TM)!

Not gonna lie, those now long passed few days in the USA were some of the best days of my life. Getting away from my boring routine in lil ol’ Nova Scotia and seeing people in reality did wonders for my depressed old soul. The biggest highlight of the entire trip was meeting two of my closest blogger buddies offline for the fist time: Athena of AmbiGaming and The Shameful Narcissist. I can now confirm that these two are total badasses in reality! Definitely give their online blogs a follow.

Wow, though. The whole trip is something I never want to forget, and my terrible memory is already shedding details like crazy. I’ve decided to do one of those fancy travel blog thingys and here it is:

LightningEllen’s Adventures in New Jersey, and New York City. It’s like one of my video game babblethroughs except it’s real life stuff. Enjoy!

Day 1 (July 3rd) – “Gracefully” Entering the USA

Did I mention I don’t get out much? Because I don’t… Here in Canada, we have something called “US Customs Preclearance”, meaning we have American border agents at our airports who clear us to land as domestic passengers on US soil.

As soon as I got to the airport my anxiety level was way over 9,000 making me a nervous freaking wreck when interacting with airport personnel. That led to an amusing (but not at the time) incident where I almost climbed into the baggage drop off thingy… “Ma’am! You can’t do that!!” Oops. Thankfully, she didn’t call for security and smirked at my recovery remark: “Well, I’d probably get through security faster this way.”

Yeah. In my defense, being a n00b traveling alone is extra stressful. At least I had no issues with the official American Border Agent Guy. He WAS NOT amused by my nervous sarcasm, but he granted me access to his country anyway, so yay!

Halifax Stanfield International Airport
This was my view for the next 3-ish hours. The lovely Gate 28 at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport. I clearly showed up stupidly early for a reason… +10 Traveling XP

The flight itself was mostly uneventful. Directly from Halifax, NS to Newark, NJ in about 1 hour and 50-ish minutes, and with a little more turbulence than I’d care to experience, but whatever. I was staring nervously out the window for most of the journey, minus snack time. OMG!! The free waffle cookie was amazing. Thank you, United Airlines!! Take notes, Air Canada… your free pretzels are pathetic by comparison.

I’ve been told by many to avoid everything in Newark except for the airport so I was grateful my New Jersey BFF picked me up and drove me to my hotel. Eating at a real life American diner was on my To Do list, so that’s where supper happened. I was a bit shocked to see poutine (a Canadian delicacy of fries, gravy, and cheese) being passed off as something called “Traditional Disco”, but it was tasty nonetheless.

Diner Menu
No need to spark an international incident so soon after arriving, eh…. IT’S CALLED POUTINE!! Ahem.

Day 2 (July 4th) – Sailing and Sangria

The 4th of July is a big patriotic holiday in the USA so it was really neat to see the celebrations firsthand. We have something similar in Canada (calling July 1st “Canada Day”) but I usually don’t partake in any festivities here.

Anyway, the day started off with me going sailing for the first time ever!! It was quite an experience, to say the least, and thankfully I was with an awesome experienced skipper. Yeah. Remember how I tried to climb into the baggage drop off thingy? That’s a great thing to remember as I explain my sailing, um, shortcomings. In my defense, I’ve never sailed before.

I started off trying to row our boat backwards out of the canal (oops!), couldn’t for the life of me remember how to tie one simple knot (never been good a knots… took me forever to learn how to tie my shoes as a kid), I failed to free a stuck sail on the way back, and probably some other blunders I can’t remember now. Oh well!

The actual smooth sailing part was amazing. Just drifting on the lake and feeling the wind carry the boat along was so freaking cool. It’s so peaceful, yet you have to keep on your toes in case something needs attention. I helped tack a few times too, which was very exciting. I’m definitely going to be looking into local sailing clubs here in Nova Scotia next year (I do need to learn how to actually swim first though ๐Ÿ˜…).

Such a pretty canal area!! I didn’t bring my camera for the sailing on the lake part (with my “grace” it would have most likely ended up in the water).

After sailing was a badass BBQ! I had tons of food, including yummy American apple pie, so much Sangria (lost count of those… hic), and got to play croquet with the family I was visiting. They were very welcoming to this quiet Canadian n00b and it was overall a super fun time. Oh and I kinda remember a blurry fireworks display at the end of the night (the Sangria was really good, by the way).

Day 3 (July 5th) – Arcade Gaming and Inked Again

The day started out in Morristown, NJ – “the military capital of the American Revolution”. I walked around and take in the historical sights of an area called “The Green”. It was sad to see that some idiot cut the left thumb of the George Washington statue. People are idiots. What can I say? Anywho, random picture gallery from that area incoming!

After taking in the neat historical sights, my friend and I hit up an arcade in the area called Game Vault. They had, like, every game there!! A big bonus was no need for quarters. All the old machines were equipped with buttons to bypass that and you paid by the hour with a bracelet system. There were no arcade places near me as a kid so adult me jumped at the opportunity to check out this place with my friend.

The great gameplay highlights were failing at lightsaber battles in a Star Wars trilogy game, getting pwned a lot playing as Sub-Zero in Mortal Kombat (why didn’t I pick the thunder god Raiden?), and beating an X-Men beat ’em up game (I may have pressed the quarter button too many times and walked away with my Storm having 118 lives left… oops!).

Game Vault
10 out of 10! Would play games there with my friend again.

And this glorious day was far from over, my friends! After a quick stop to try Dunkin’ Donuts for the first time (Confession: I like it a lot more than Canada’s famous Tim Hortons coffee chain… please don’t revoke my citizenship!), it was time to get inked for the second time. Just have to say this was planned months in advance as a way to commemorate my first trip outside of Canada. NEVER EVER get tattoos on a whim. Do your research on artists and make sure it’s a design you’ll want to wear for the rest of your mortal existence.

I won’t include a picture of the new tattoo on my right arm at the moment (it’s still healing and looks really, really gross), but I shall do my best to describe it. Ahem. It’s a pink with purple scales emoji dragon (the design Apple uses looks the coolest so I went with that), and the New Jersey motto written under it – “Liberty and Prosperity”.

I am beyond happy with how it turned out! Nothing to do with video games but it’s a great representation of the spirit of close friendship I feel for the cool friend I went to visit. New Jersey is a truly beautiful place so I’m going to wear that motto with pride, too, eh. Shout-out to Trent over at Expressive Ink for being awesome to deal with and a badass artist!

Day 4 (July 6th) – New York City, Baby!

Okay. So I was raised in a small Nova Scotia community with a population of 91 people, and I’ve lived most of my adult life in my province’s “big” city of Halifax (about 430,000 humans crawling around here). Imagine how I felt standing in New York City for the first time… I swear I saw more people in my first 5 minutes there than I had seen in my entire life before that point. Wow. Overwhelming and awesome is the best way I can describe it. The tidal waves of people… just.. never stop!!

New York City
Good advice from my friend and tour guide: “Don’t stand there looking up at the buildings with your mouth wide open.”

And wow, my good friend and I had one hell of a trek through the city! According to my phone app, we walked a grand total of 15 km (9-ish American miles). Here are some random photos of neat things I saw along the way.

Yeah. The tall buildings were cool and all that, but my primary reason for wanting to brave the near-infinite strangers: Nintendo Store!! And it was freaking awesome (albeit hella crowded like everything else in NYC). I bought lots of swag (Charmander plush, Angry Kirby Plush, two Bowser key chains, and a T-shirt that all came in a Link bag). The store itself also had lots of sweet Nintendo themed things to gawk at.

What else must you absolutely see when you go to NYC? Yep. The Statue of Liberty! My friend and I lucked out and found a random tour boat launching from Battery Park that sailed us around the statue. That was a wonderfully relaxing voyage, and gifted me with some much needed sitting time. It seemed like a thunderstorm was rolling in when we set sail, but thankfully it held off.

And before jumping on the train back to New Jersey, I was honored to visit the One World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial site. I… can’t even imagine how awful it must have been when the September 11th attacks hit. So many innocent people lost their lives where I was standing. Being there and seeing the beautiful memorial to those who died was an intense feeling that’s hard to describe. I had to hold back a few tears. Yay for sunglasses hiding those emotion things I hate to admit I have.

Day 5 (July 7th) – Vertigo and Video Games

Whoa… I woke up with a scary case of random vertigo episodes, let me tell you. It was bad… randomly when I sat down, looked up, or looked down, it felt like the world around me was spinning out of control. This sent my medical anxiety through the roof since that could easily be a symptom of something worse.

Thankfully, the Charmander plush I bought was nearby to hug, and my friend took me crayon shopping which helped cheer me up (long story). It disappeared a few days after I got back to Canada. Maybe being in NYC short circuited my brain? I dunno.

Anyway, it was a pretty chill day (minus the vertigo scares). I had an epic chat with my two blogger buddies in Starbucks, and got to play Grand Theft Auto with my friend after eating delicious hamburgers. The perfect way to spend my last full day in New Jersey!

Day 6 (July 8th) – Smashing My Way Back To Canada

Alas! All good things must come to and end. I was kinda sad to say goodbye to New Jersey. But yeah, I used Uber for the first time to get to the airport. I have to say, my driver was awesome! He was super nice, had snacks, and skillfully avoided some idiots on the highway. I got through security no problem, but my bag of ground Dunkin’ Donuts coffee had to go for additional testing, which I thought was hilarious for some reason.

Dunkin Donuts Coffee
The coffee bag compressed on the plane but made it safely to Canada. It’s almost gone now ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I like arriving stupidly early for flights, so I spent 5 hours playing Breath of the Wild on my Switch in the airport. “Welcome to Newark Liberty International Airport. Please do not leave your bags unattended. Please do not accept packages from other passengers. Do not park in the loading areas. Stand to the right on the moving walkways.” Yep. I heard that announcement on loop SO MANY TIMES. At least I got the Divine Beast Vah Rudania! Yay progress. I need to travel more so I can beat this game someday.

My vertigo issues helped me relate to poor Yunobo’s state of dizziness after getting used as a canon ball, goro.

I got to see one last view of the Statue of Liberty from the plane, then it was back to Canada. I arrived in Halifax late at night, super tired and worried about everything. As a result of that, I accidentally scraped someone’s car in the airport parking lot on my way out, didn’t realize it until I saw the damage on my car the next day, and drove back in a frenzy the next morning to leave a note on the person’s car.

I did this to this poor car. They haven’t called me yet and I feel terrible. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

And that was the whole trip! I had a bad case of Post Travel Depression when I got back. My Nova Scotia BFF is awesome and helped me deal with that by taking me to a nice lake in my area. I’m happy to report I’m back to my normal levels of loneliness and depression now. Yay!

I definitely have a new perspective on things now, and I’m going to work towards finding a better purpose in my usual life. I think it’s time I take a serious look at where my path is going.

โšกThanks for reading!โšก

If for some odd reason you want to read more of my posts, you can find a somewhat organized (and usually up to date) archive of my ramblingsโ€ฆ I mean, articlesย here!

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Published by

"Lightning" Ellen

My name is Ellen, and I've been babbling on the interwebz about video games for over 15 years. Video games themselves have been a large part of my life since 5-year-old me first encountered a SNES in a children's hospital. Fun times... Video game escapism is still the #1 coping mechanism for adult me these days.

45 thoughts on “Me in ‘Murica”

  1. What an awesome trip! It’s impressive that Gameboy still works! I would have freaked out at seeing the Shadowbringers poster ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s also cool that you met some fellow bloggers! Looks like you had a wonderful time-thanks for sharing! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sounds like a really awesome time minus the vertigo and New York is an amazing looking city great photos by the way, glad you had your BFF to help when you got back they sound like an awesome person it’s always good to have people to talk to speaking of that if you ever want to talk tweet me or DM I’m always down to talk if you want to. โšก๐Ÿ‘Š

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad the vertigo eventually went away, for sure, haha. Thank you. I appreciate that, dude. Ditto for you if you every need to talk to someone about stuff. โšก๐Ÿ‘Š


  2. It sounds like a fantastic trip and the photos are great. I’m so glad you decided to share this with us! I would love to visit the Nintendo store one day… I can dream right? I’m glad you had such a wonderful time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for reading my travel babblings, haha. I hope you get to see the Nintendo Store soon. Dreams can always come true, eh.


  3. I was so grateful I travelled to America with my partner: Going to an airport where there are actual guns was terrifying, I’m from a tiny UK town and I’d never seen them up close before, and even though I had nothing illegal I was still worried about customs. I admire anyone who flies alone ๐Ÿ™‚
    We wimped out on walking in New York and took the tube. There was an actual rat in the tunnels. So cool, looks like you took the same pirate ship style boat we did ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s a fun place to visit but so busy!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yikes! Guns are rare in Canada but I’m not bothered by them (I was in the Canadian Army Reserves for a few years), but can definitely understand that being frightening for you. I’m not longer using the alone excuse for not taking on new adventures, haha.

      Yep. My friend and I were exhausted but at least we had fun, haha. We probably took the same boat, then! It was so epic to sail around NYC harbour in style ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. New Jersey is such a beautiful place, from what I’ve seen so far! I’ll definitely check out the southern part some year.

      If I ever win the lottery, I’m so buying a home in NJ.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. All sounds very awesome. Like you, I was crapping myself going through US customs and the bloke there really was not impressed with me at all.

    “drove back in a frenzy the next morning to leave a note on the personโ€™s car.” Oooh, what did you write? “Look what you did to my car, you vagabond!” You’re a good one, human female, we need more sorts like yourself on this star. Planet. Whatever it is here.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. American Border dudes seem immune sarcasm… it was scary, haha.

      I wrote: “How dare your parked car occupy the space my car wanted to go through. This is 100% your fault and you owe me $10,000!” Nah. I just couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t try to make amends, haha. They still haven’t called me so I dunno…


  5. Glad to see you got to notice our famous Disco fries! Yeah, they’re basically ripped off from your Canadian delicacies, but I have to admit that I love the Disco Fries. Typically over here it’s serves with gravy and a lot of cheese which makes for an awesome lunch.

    I haven’t been to the Nintendo Store in quite a while, but it definitely is quite impressive. I mostly still remember it as the Pokemon Center it used to be before the switch

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They are tasty! I guess that’s all that matters, haha.

      I wish it was closer… I’d go there at least once a month to see all the Nintendo swag ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m so glad you got to visit the US and NYC in particular. It is an amazing place to go with so much to do. Going to the Nintendo store is always such a blast too. I’ve gone 4-5 times and it never loses its appeal! Nice job picking up all that Nintendo loot too ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you!! There’s still so much I haven’t seen in NYC. I’ll definitely have to go back one of these years. I also think I have more Amiibo than the Nintendo store display had… not sure how I feel about that ๐Ÿ˜›

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, they used to have one of every Amiibo released but that might have changed since I was last there. I would also say that you should be proud of your collection then as well!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Congrats on surviving New Jersey with both your body and your soul intact. Most people take significant damage to one or the other there. And thanks for sharing your adventures here!

    I do have to ask, the picture of Kit Kats, is that something unique or interesting about America?

    And don’t worry about customs. They’re like that for everyone. I’ve had easier times getting into other countries than I’ve had coming back to America.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually, I think I lost a few pieces of my soul but I’m mostly intact, haha. Thanks for reading!

      Ah, yes we have Kit Kats here too but what was special about these ones are the size – it’s like the size of my laptop computer for comparison.

      Seems to be the case. Canadian Border Agent guy on my return trip laughed at my sarcastic remarks. Eh!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m glad you had such a great trip to our country, also very happy that you decided to go to New Jersey.

    What did you like about our interesting country and is there something unique that you found here? Next time, come on down south and we’ll show you around and take you to some awesome places, there’s a reason why the South is known for its southern hospitality! ( Hope that didn’t sound creepy at all, had to revise that one sentence.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!

      I liked how friendly everyone I met was. They were very welcoming to this Canadian travel n00b, haha. Something unique I found out was that it’s illegal in NJ to pump your own gas.

      Not creepy at all, haha. I definitely want to see more of the great USA one of these years ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Uh, that’s interesting. I didn’t even know that, guess you learn something new every day. I always thought that was always part of the Fallout days ( I can’t believe I still call the 1950’s and late 1940s the Fallout days lmao. Guess that’s what happens when you invest too much time into Fallout.)

        That’s kinda cool ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yass!! It’s so awesome and has SO MUCH swag. The lady at the counter had a Shiek tattoo on her arm as big and as badass as my Lightning one, haha.

      Liked by 1 person

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