Pimpin’ Around Portland

So I’m not sure if I mentioned it in my last post but… I left London!

It was a pretty huge decision for me to leave behind the amazing friends who were now like a second family to me. But it had been three years and I REALLY missed my Kiwi family. But, rather than head straight home, a friend had the brilliant idea that I could go to Thailand for a month. Then, my band sister Mandy invited me over to her place in Portland.

Both would be amazing places to visit. I couldn’t decide between the two.

One place was hipster AF, with all the vegan gluten free goodies I could ever ask for. The other place was going to be really sunny and hot with beautiful beaches.

By some incredible fortune I discovered the new cheapo airlines WOW Air and Air Asia, so I managed to book flights to BOTH countries and stay within my budget!

My itinerary went

London – Iceland – San Francisco – Portland
•Spend a week in Portland•
Portland – San Francisco – Singapore – Bangkok
•Spend 3 weeks travelling around Thailand•
Bangkok – Kuala Lumpur – Gold Coast – Auckland!

I’m back in Auckland now after all this has occurred and I had SUCH a good time that I was too busy to write my blog on the go like I normally would. So I’ll have to try and remember it all now!


I got to Portland and Mandy found me straight away by the baggage carousel. I got a bit teary when I saw her, I think the tumultuous decision to leave my home of England combined with lack of sleep from the flights kind of combined together! Plus I had happy tears to see her. We drove to her awesome house and I met her super cute dogs Toby and Kuma.


We did loads of stuff but mainly it was great just to hang out. We saw Multnomah Falls, watched one of her friend’s band play, had delicious coffee, watched her band Skull Diver practice, had a crazy night out where we intended to do karaoke and ended up getting free pizza instead… and I even went to a film set at a flat where Mandy was guest starring in a web series!

I loved Portland. The culture felt so homely for me – the music scene and left wing creative 20-30 somethings all being super open and friendly was such a nice experience for me. As much as I can’t stand the new president, it did leave me wanting a Green Card pretty badly – so I could just go join the music scene there. I met some really cool people and I look forward to going back again one day!


To get to San Fran I was going to fly down, but by coincidence Mandy’s husband Greg had an artist in residence opportunity in San Fran the same day so we all road tripped it down there instead! It’s funny how much from the movies is quite realistic in the US and when we stopped for gas on the way down some of the service station shops were pretty dismal looking. I know Mandy didn’t want to hang around them too long haha.

In San Fran we had such a good time and got to stay in their super tall friend’s apartment. He is sooo tall that he even got his kitchen renovated so the benches could be higher.


Mandy and I bonced around the place on the one day I had free while Greg painted at work. We went to my favourite sock shop in Haight Ashbury, chatted in the park and later we all went to view the Painted Ladies. Unfortunately I didn’t realise the Painted Ladies are unviewable by night… Castro by night looked fun though. As did the Town Hall which was lit up in rainbow colours.

Sadly, the day after I had to leave, but I hope to head back to Portland again in a few years!

Next up… my 3 week Thailand adventure!

Hol x


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