My First U.S. Invasion – Oh, and I’m Giving Away $900

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may be compensated if you make a purchase using my links, at no extra cost to you. I truly appreciate your support! Please read my disclosure for more.

I was 22 years old the first time I ever left Canada.

It was the second time I’ve ever left Ontario. (I’d been to Winnipeg, Manitoba once before.)

Growing up in a small town in Northern Ontario, three hours away from the nearest city, meant multiple small road-trips to see medical professionals, to do some back-to-school shopping, and to eat fast food (exciting, but hardly a vacation). It also meant a lot of 15+ hour-long road-trips across Ontario to visit family members and see the various landmarks and tourist traps along the way.

By the age of 22, I was excited to finally take a weekend vacation outside of Ontario, and without family.

(I’ve since been to the U.S. numerous times – Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, and New York City. I’ve even left North America once, when I spent a week in London, England!)

I attended University in Southern Ontario, super-close to Detroit (I could see it from my house), and literally lived underneath a border crossing, but it wasn’t until the beginning of my third year that I finally left Canada – and went the whole 280 kilometres (175 miles) to Sandusky and Findlay, Ohio.

I had recently joined Phi Sigma Sigma (ΦΣΣ) sorority. Our chapter was small with less than 30 members and therefore we didn’t have a sorority house. (I didn’t even know there were sororities and fraternities in Canada until I accidentally moved in with a couple members!) So in October of 2005, enticed by the advertisements for Cedar Point’s HalloWeekend, six of us decided to pile into a car and drive down to meet our “sisters” from another chapter, and to hit up some rides and haunted houses!

Crossing the border was ridiculously easy because you didn’t need a passport back then. (It probably helped that we were a car full of white, Canadian sorority girls in our early 20’s.) We spent two nights in Findlay. The first night we went to a fraternity house, obviously, and played beer pong for the first time. We then went to Walmart because we wanted “American groceries” and didn’t believe that they actually sold alcohol there. (They do!) We hit up the cereal aisle for some Kix and Cookie Crisp and picked up some Totino’s Pizza Rolls, too. (Why aren’t these available in Canada?!?)  We also made fun of Americans for calling Rockets Smarties, and not actually selling Smarties.

We spent the next day in Cedar Point. I don’t know what I was thinking when I agreed to go because I hated roller coasters. Since I didn’t want to wait around by myself while everyone else was in the hour-long lines, I sucked it up and went. Of course, the first ride we went on was the Millennium Force, where the first ascent leaves you swaying back and forth in the wind next to Lake Erie with only a little lap bar holding you in, and then drops you 80 degrees and 93 miles (150 kilometres) per hour. In short, it was scary! – but I lived. And kinda loved it. As in I rode it again before we left that day, and then came back in the spring to ride it again. The only other ride I specifically remember is the Wicked Twister, which was and probably still is, my favourite ride ever.

cedarpoint2005

After returning to Findlay that night, I was dealing with a bit of what I dubbed “un-motion-sickness” and went to bed while some of the other girls went out to explore the campus. On our last morning, we drove for what felt like ever to go to IHOP for breakfast (since we don’t have those in Canada either), before heading home.

The personal finance blogger in me looked at my old bank statements to see if I could figure out how much this trip actually cost me. (Why do I still have my bank statements from 8 years ago?) Back then the USD was about $1.18 CAD, so the $35 ticket to get into Cedar Point actually cost more like $43, but that’s the only transaction I could find. I’m sure the cost of food in the park was ridiculous, but we didn’t do much shopping and had a free place to sleep, so I’m going to guess that even with the unfavourable exchange rate, overall it wasn’t too expensive.

Speaking of U.S. Money, How’d You Like to Win Some?

August_Blog_Giveaway

That’s right – I’m participating in my very first giveaway!!

Along with 29 other bloggers, and hosted by Young Adult Money, Tackling Our Debt and Budget Blonde, we are giving away a total of $900 USD CASH to three lucky winners!

This giveaway is open Worldwide, age 18+.
Winners will be paid via PayPal.
Please read all terms and conditions included in the RaffleCopter widget.
All entries in the RaffleCopter are optional.
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


 What is the most exciting vacation you have ever taken? (Answer below to earn extra entries!)

 

This post was proofread by Grammarly. Try it - it's FREE!

16 thoughts on “My First U.S. Invasion – Oh, and I’m Giving Away $900

  1. CeCe @Pink Sunshine

    Sometimes I forget that you live in Canada! I’m not sure why. I almost went to Cedar Point when I was a kid. We have family in Detroit. My dad wouldn’t let us go. Yes, I’m still holding a grudge!! Joking. I think it’s great you took that trip. Your hometown sounds so small! You needed that trip.

    Reply

    1. Amanda

      Agreed! Ontario is great, there is a lot to see here, but it’s important to see the world too :)

      Reply

  2. CeCe @Pink Sunshine

    My most exciting vacation was when we went to Europe! 10 Days 15 Cities and a whole lot of fun. Can’t wait to go back.

    Reply

    1. Amanda

      15 cities in 10 days? Wow!

      Reply

  3. debtfreeoneday

    My most exciting vacation was to Thailand for our honeymoon. We booked a luxury villa with a swimming pool for the first two nights and then went backpacking. It was awesome! And so cheap. For our wedding gift list, we asked for honeymoon vouchers rather than money or presents. It really helped towards the cost!

    Reply

    1. Amanda

      That’s a great idea! My friend asked for money at her wedding to pay for their honeymoon.
      My boyfriend went to Thailand earlier this year and his photos and stories are incredible! I hope to make it there one day :)

      Reply

  4. Cara (@care_ah)

    Wow what an amazing contest Amanda!

    Lets see my best vacation was when I went to Istanbul, Turkey. It was such a beautiful city full of life and culture. Plus the food was amazing! Loved every minute of it!

    Reply

    1. Amanda

      You’re so lucky to be living over there to get to go on all these adventures!

      Reply

  5. Danielle

    My most exciting vacation was probably my recent trip to London, England. It was my first visit to Europe and I was totally overwhelmed by the history and stories embedded in almost every single turn we took. It was amazing seeing historical landmarks from hundreds of years ago, alive in the flesh. Each day I saw something that was new to my eyes, but old old old.

    Reply

    1. Amanda

      I wish I had done more historical sight-seeing when I was in England. Sounds like you had a great time!

      Reply

  6. Liz

    I think my most exciting vacation was the first one that I took. It was my cousin, Shane, my late great grandmother, my grandmother, my aunt and my grandmother’s now ex-husband. We went from Wills Point, TX to Austin, from Austin to San Antonio, from San Antonio to Galveston. We were supposed to go to Mexico, but my grandmother popped her knee at Six Flags Fiesta Texas (in San Antonio), so we just went back to San Antonio for a few nights, then Austin, then home. :D

    Reply

    1. Amanda

      Wow, that’s quite the adventure!
      Good luck in the contest :)

      Reply

  7. femmefrugality

    Cedar Point is so bomb! They did have a crazy accident there not too long ago. I miss the days when going to Canada was easy…(I have a passport, but most people I know don’t.) Most exciting trip for me? A trip to Germany a few years back.

    Reply

    1. Amanda

      There was an accident there? I hadn’t heard, but that’s scary!
      Germany sounds like a great place to visit :)

      Reply

  8. Tahnya Kristina

    I have always wanted to go to Cedar Point. i have heard its so much fun! It looks like you had a great time.

    Reply

    1. Amanda

      It’s a lot of fun! Try to go off-season if you can because those long lines are brutal!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *