It had been four days since we touched down in New York and experienced the dream-like life that was a lot more than we’d expected. Those days went by faster than we wanted them to, and in a jiffy, we were getting into an Uber at 6 o clock in the morning sat next to our bags and boxes headed in the direction of the airport.
We checked our boxes in immediately and then headed to a restaurant that was by the gates for a quick meal. The adrenaline accumulated over the past few days had completely worn off and we could finally feel on our skin all the sleep we hadn’t had. We had gotten so high on the reality of chasing taxis, adventure, and esteemed place, but all of that was unfortunately over – it came to an end in a New York minute, literally.
We arrived at the gates a bit more recharged and were let unto the plane in due time. I remember, my sister having some issues fitting a suitcase into the cabin and the air hostess trying to help her, but the luggage ended up being taken down to the cargo hold (that’s what happens when you master the art of overpacking).
The air hostess introduced herself to the passengers as well as the few empty seats on the early morning flight and followed up with the routine safety demonstration. That’s it! That’s all I remember from that flight because the next thing I knew I was opening my eyes to a completely different scenery from that of the Big Apple. I’m not necessarily one to sleep on a flight, to be honest; for me, it’s usually a time I use to entertain myself with a bad Netflix movie, a tv show I’m binge-watching, or even an old Spotify playlist the can ship me back to a time when… sometimes I also write down my emotions during a plane ride, so it sure was a rare occurrence for me and certainly was the first time I had spent a whole flight with my eyes shut.
Vermont instantly felt cosy at touchdown. It reminded me of the small town in Italy I grew up in, and I hadn’t even got off the plane to get a good look yet. I think it was all the green that I could see from the small windows that gave it away. It instantly felt a bit like the countryside and after everything that happened the days before, I was so ready for a change of pace.
As I always say, the best place to catch the vibe of a new city is by analysing and experiencing life at the airport. As expected, the Burlington airport was a lot less loud than JFK and people didn’t seem as in a hurry to catch everything all at once as they did in New York. The airport was so much smaller that there didn’t seem to be so much distinction or way to go from the gates to the greeting area and one lift was enough to get us straight to baggage claim.
We met aunt Jo instantly, a very close family friend who has been so for as long as I can remember, certainly even before I was born, and she guided us out of the airport into a car she had booked prior. Her home was less than an eight-minute drive from the airport and during that drive, we couldn’t stop starring out the windows to point out all the things we were noticing already.
Vermont was beautiful at first glance; reserved and calm. There were huge family-style houses at each side of the road and I smiled ear to ear each time we drove by a fast food place or restaurant I hadn’t had the chance to try yet.
‘American houses are sure different from those in England’, I thought as we approached the gates of the garage. The area was calm, or at least that was the atmospheric vibe I was getting. It reminded me of a small town where nothing bad ever really happened and where an instance of crime would leave its habitants with open mouths and complete shock.
The home was massive. It was on two spacious floors, but it also hid a basement underground that was big enough to be a whole apartment (in fact she had thought about renting it multiple times)!
We stared at trophies, certificates and pictures hung on the walls depicting graduations and family portraits as we were talked through where to find the things in the overly-stocked kitchen. Aunt Jo had bought every possible thing we could need or want in the 7 days and more to come and we knew then and there that we were in for a heck of a treat!
One of the reasons why I loved that we were able to visit Vermont was because I feel like it gave us a down to earth perspective of what America was really like. We had experienced the high-end, high-maintenance lifestyle that New York expected; the lively nights that saw no boundaries and skyscrapers that were closer to the clouds than they were to the ground. Everything happened all at once there and it seemed like the city really never slept. Vermont was pretty much the polar opposite; it was family-friendly, peaceful and easy. It was the ‘settle-down’ kind of place one would go to when they prefer a long walk in the neighbourhood to nights out they won’t remember.
I feel like we got to experience a bit more of the mundane life there; whether it consisted in shopping in stores on Church Street, Rue21 and Target or having takeaway KFC on some nights. We got to taste things we never had like banana bread, which I may or may not dream about on occasion (shh).
We also got to do a few touristy things, like visiting and touring the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factories, and perhaps one my favourite moments, taking a cruise on Lake Chaplain.
We got to meet a lot of cool people who reside in Vermont and they told us so much about the state from the fact that it’s prevalently white (that we could clearly see) to the fact that its political affiliations state-wise is mainly liberal.
Another moment I won’t be forgetting soon involved an Uber driver named Timothy with whom my sister and I had what felt like an endless conversation on the Trump effect and where we thought politics was headed – it was only a ten-minute drive, but we sure had a lot to say.
One thing I must say about Vermont and the area we stayed in is that in terms of accessibility, it was complicated there too. I wrote about how tricky it was in New York City and how the thought alone made me anxious, but for some reason, I hadn’t thought past that. I hadn’t questioned accessibility in Vermont maybe because I rightfully suspected NYC would be thousand times more chaotic, but by doing that I ended up neglecting the fact that often smaller states can be less equipped in the area of accessible transportation.
Luckily, I had a host who got informed on all I needed to know. She told us most people in the area who were disabled had their appropriately adapted cars and renting one would cost an astronomical amount of money for the period of time we needed it. Now, picture this; my wheelchair weighs over 60kgs and would, therefore, be impossible to carry, so we ended up renting a manual wheelchair that cost about $20/$30 for the week.
In hindsight, Vermont was beautiful sceneries, good food and an immense amount of shopping. It was peace and tranquillity. Welcoming and chill people living simply – effortlessly; moment by moment, day by day. It was car rides to and fro one end of town to the other whilst chatting about life and next steps. Vermont was stress-free and accommodating. It was everything my heart needed right there and then.
Your restless romantic roamer