Category: 1990’s


Oy, what does Prince William’s trip to Los Angeles (oh yes, and Canada) have to do with travel? Story time!

Obviously, I have known about Prince William pretty much my entire life. Future king of England, blah blah blah. Doesn’t really have much to do with me in America. BUT! Oh, how did I discover his teenage hottness (okay, because we are pretty much the same age, thus I was a teenager the same time as him. So it’s all good).

The first time I went to Europe, summer 1997. I had been obsessed with England (partly because I loved travel and failed Spanish and French many times) for a while and wanted to go there so badly. We were doing our first family trip to Italy and for some reason, when my mom originally booked the tickets, the two of us were going to fly to London and my sister and dad were going to fly seperately through NYC. Ohmigod, I was so excited, even though we didn’t plan on leaving the airport. I was so excited! Then, right before we were supposed to leave, plans changed I was going to fly with my sister and dad. Ohmigod, I nearly cried! I was so dissapointed. To make it up to me, my mom bought me magazines (of which I was obsessed with British music and movie mags at the time which of course were wickedly expensive in the US) both ways (the August and September issues, I had it timed correctly).

Anyway, during our travels around Italy, I took notice of the magazines on the newsracks there. I couldn’t read most of the headlines, but looked at the pictures. And guess what picture grazed loads of them at the time?

THIS ONE!!

My sister and I became obsessed. I mean, what teenager wouldn’t?! That shirt, those eyes, that hair (RIP)?!?!? Thus the crush of the decade was discovered. A month later, devastation hit Will’s life and the rest of the world discovered his hotness in the midst of a personal tragedy. The following summer, Chuck took Hank and Bill over to our side of the globe for a tour around Canada (not the US, of course) and the kids there went nuts, thus starting the teen throb obsession.

And of course, as any kid would like, oh how I wanted William to come to Los Angeles, my home! How much fun would that have been? You see pictures of celebrities all the time driving and walking down the street, it was my teenage dream to see William in today’s US Weekly, “Stars! They’re Just Like US!”. But since we are no longer a commonwealth country, it was very very rare that the British Royalty would come here. And really, why would they? We don’t have anything to do with them. It’s like in Los Angeles when we hear that our mayor is going to Europe or Asia for a conference (he has) and we are all like, what the fuck?! Isn’t that a job for state or national government? What does that have to do with us? NOTHING! We aren’t fancy enough for their holidays (hello skiing in the Alps or lounging in the south of Spain/Indian Ocean for holidays) and have nothing to do with “royal” government. As far as I could tell, William has only been to the US once before, when Diana took the kids to Disney World for holiday back in the early 90’s. Of course we all remember this picture:

Splash Mountain!!!

And I thought I read somewhere that William actually came to Kentucky or something to spend time on a classmates (not sure if (US) high school or college either) ranch for holiday once, but I can’t find any information on it, as it was a totally private holiday anyway.

But other then that, never been to the US! And NEVER to the west coast! Ohmigod, I nearly had 16 year old flashbacks when I heard about his latest travel plans to “California”. So vague. We are quite a large state, for all I know he could just be heading to Yosemite (so outdoorsy) or San Francisco (so European). But when the final schedule was released and he and Kate were going to spend all their time in Los Angeles, just being here, I was so happy! Unfotunatly, since this was a “state” visit, there were very few public events and the ones that were, were way way way out of my price range. It seemed like only the very rich or the very poor get an audience with the royals. But having grown up quiet a bit since I was 16, I was just so happy that they were in my hometown, in my time zone! I am quite a nerd like that, even though I was in the UK when William turned 21 (so I knew for sure we were in the same time zone:-), but it is just a different kind of nerd-out when it’s swapped and he is in MY time.

Moral: Why did he finally make it out west now? Was it Kate’s request and MAYBE they’ll holiday out here in the future? I can dream!!! I love it when travel introduces me to celebs in different parts of the world that when they finally make it back to the US, I can be all like, Yeah, I knew them when. Sort of like my old love of music.

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I ended up just wondering the aisles at the library a few weeks ago when I had some time to kill (always dangerous) and pulled this book. I stopped wondering right then before I left with too much.

Anyway, this book was pretty good. Dude always wants to see what is over the hill of his hometown and was always travelling. He travelled for 10 years, from 1990 to 2000, washing dishes around the US. I loved the pre-internetness of this book. At the end, he got a little whiny how he wanted to settle down, but everything was too expensive and he had no skills. Whose fault is that?! But as a travelling book, I really liked it a lot.

Used: 1993, 1995

Side story time! It’s hilarious where I have been and where I haven’t. I have pretty much live in Los Angeles my entire life (my parents are still in the same house I grew up in and I never bothered to change my address on most things) and I have technically never been to Mexico. Apparently we drove to Tijuana when we were in San Diego one time, when I was like 6 (I still have this cool wax cat candle that I got there! I never lit it and it never melted!) but other then that, never been to Mexico. I have been to Italy twice before I graduated high school and even Canada 3 times before I turned 20. And the Canada thing is the funniest, because I have only ever driven there, even though I am from Southern California.

The first time I went to Canada, in 1993, was on a family vacation when we were to Seattle. My parents thought it would be fun to drive to Vancouver for the day! I have no idea what they were thinking. It took us nearly 4 hours to get into Canada. This was before you needed passports if you were driving over and only admitted to staying a short time, or something like that. My sister and I never had passports before and my parents last ones had expired years ago and we were only going for the day. I have no idea why it took so long. It’s normally about a 2, 2.5 hour drive. The backup at the border was horrible and the whole thing just took forever. And the worst part was, the way back was just the same! I remember we picked a line that didn’t split. So what took the line next to us half the time, it took us about 4 hours, AGAIN. When I asked various people years later if “going to Vancouver for the day” from Seattle was common, I got a lot of yes’s, apparently it was and we just got unlucky with the super long waits on both sides that day.

A few years later, my family and I drove across the country. We hired a car for the trip, in California, so it had California tags on it. We ended up in Detroit to see some of my dad’s family and went into Canada from Detroit into Windsor. I’ll admit we did look kind of shady. A family of 4 with no passports (still didn’t need them in 1995), with two teenage girls under 16 (apparently there had been a lot of child kidnappings that summer) trying to enter another country through a common route, but not with a California tagged car. Besides the fact that my sister and I both look like our parents, I love telling that story, because it does sound shady! How many California tagged cars must they get via that border crossing a day? Maybe one? Peace Arch via Seattle/Vancouver is way more common for California cars. Oddly, I have nothing to say or anything to remember when we came back into the country in like Vermont or New Hampshire or something. I don’t think there was any issue.

Moral: I have since driven into Canada two more times (via Buffelo/Toronto in my friends New Jersey tagged car and last summer) but I had passports both times and never had another issue again. Passports (and travel cards) are a pain in the butt to get, but if these expirences tell you anything, it’s that it has sped up the system quiet a bit which I think is a good thing.