Clara Guerrero is an au pair living in Virginia. She takes care of three little ones when on-duty so a two-week long roadtrip was a great way to spend time off and see more of the USA! Clara traveled to the West Coast with nine other au pairs from Germany, Poland and Denmark. They traveled from city to city by van and often camped out in tents under the stars. Says Clara, “I will remember this trip forever, and I have made nine new friends I will have for the rest of my life!” Read about her epic adventure in her own words.
DAY 1: San Francisco and Santa Cruz
My adventure begins in San Francisco—I’m excited to spend the next 14 days driving around in our van to explore the West Coast! Today, we did some sightseeing around San Fran and took pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Painted Ladies and Palace of Fine Arts.
DAY 2/3: Monterey and Big sur
Today we headed to Monterey, enjoying the scenic drives that Highway One has to offer. After stopping for a picnic lunch, we kept going to our next destination: Big Sur. When we got there, we started a bonfire and made s’mores. There is nothing is more classically American than s’mores!
DAY 4: Los Angeles, city of Angels
What is not to like about LA? We saw the Hollywood Walk of Fame, TCL Chinese Theater, Hollywood Blvd, Sunset Blvd and more. We also visited Rodeo Drive to see the “Pretty Woman” hotel and Venice Beach, before arriving to Santa Monica.
DAY 5: Santa Monica
Today we took surfing lessons and spent all day at the beach. I actually got it right after two hours of practicing, and I’m so glad I went for it! It was just me and another girl out of 10 of us who were able to do it, so yay for me! We also experienced night life in Santa Monica before heading to our hostel to sleep.
DAY 6/7: San Diego
We headed to San Diego early because there is so much to see and do! We visited Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, we explored the city including the waterfront, downtown and Mission Beach. We even went to my first drive-in movie theater ever—it was just like in the movies!
Day 8: Lake Havasu
Today we started our journey east towards Arizona. After a solid morning drive, we crossed the Colorado River and made our way to Lake Havasu. The whole afternoon was chill time at the lake where we set up camp right at the water’s edge. We learned how to Stand Up Paddle Board! There were other au pair groups camped there, so the evening turned into a pretty fun party.
Day 9: Grand Canyon
Leaving the Lake behind, we hit the road and started our journey to canyon country. We made an early start to maximize our time, arriving at Grand Canyon National Park for lunch. Known as one of the seven natural wonders of the world, this amazing canyon didn’t disappoint. I even took a helicopter ride over the canyon! A-m-a-z-i-n-g, I was speechless and crying of happiness.
Day 10/11: Las Vegas!
Making our way across the desert, we stopped in the famous small town of Seligman, AZ, better known as “the birth place of route 66”. In the early afternoon, we arrived in Las Vegas and our guide gave us a city tour so we could get familiar with Sin City. The day finished with a party bus that took as to different casinos. The next morning I crossed sky diving off my bucket list! This trip is getting better within each passing day!
Day 12/13 Death Valley and Yosemite:
We continued our journey west and made our way towards Death Valley National Park and the Mojave Desert. We spent the day surviving this extreme park where summer time temperatures can be over 120 degrees (49c)! We saw various parts of this National Park and next day we got to spend it in the Yosemite National Park, known for its massive giant sequoias!
Day 14/15 San francisco:
The end of the trip! We visited more iconic parts of the city we did not have enough time for on day 1! We started this trip in the amazing city of San Francisco as strangers, not aware of what was waiting for us. After two weeks of driving to the most beautiful places we’ve seen in our lives, we are going back to where we started, except that we are now taking different paths. I’m going to miss setting up the tents, our days together, having fun,learning about us,sharing unforgettable moments,the smores and stories by the fire, the excitement of what would be next. “We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” I can’t wait to see what other adventures await for me in my au pair year!