A Quick Trip to Maryland

Just before my fairly low-key winter break ended, I went on some small getaways: twice to Philadelphia, and once to Maryland. For some reason, I have a deep love for Maryland. I suppose it is because I have had such a wonderful experience every time I’ve been there.

I took the drive down to an area just South of Baltimore one Friday night to see my friend Marisa. We went out to Buffalo Wild Wings, where I have never actually eaten wings, with her boyfriend and had a relaxed night at their apartment watching a Reese Witherspoon movie.

Saturday took us to a few different places. We had a slow approach to the morning and arrived at a restaurant in Washington, D.C. named Tico’s at noon. Marisa and I enjoyed a tasty and rather expensive meal paired with mimosas. I joked that I was finally a true millennial because I managed to be in an aesthetically pleasing eatery while looking put together and consuming appealing food with a drink in my hand. I think I did brunch the right way…

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After brunch, we strolled over to the Newseum, the news museum. For communications nerds like Marisa and myself, this is a magical place. It is a six story maze filled with the history of and best accomplishments in our field.

One of my favorite exhibits in the Newseum showcases an original piece of the Berlin Wall and an original three story East German guard tower that was part of the wall. The exhibit laid out how information transferred from Berlin, to the rest of the world and back, where knowledge was free to come by in West Berlin, but blocked in East Berlin. It was so surreal to see this history in America after seeing it in Berlin two years ago.

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East Berlin guard tower 

Another incredible piece of history showcased is the 9/11 Gallery. There are detailed accounts of the day that forever changed America and shows how the media covered a crisis that literally and figuratively blew up multiple times before the nation’s eyes. A touching tribute to a photojournalist showcased his cameras and some of the pictures he shot that day before he died, and a video about the disaster brought me to tears.

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Other notable parts were the FBI exhibit, the news helicopter that hung from the celling of the museum and the spacious terrace that hosted a view of the Capitol Building. There was so much information to take in that the three hours we had to spend were not nearly enough.

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After we depleted our time at the museum, Marisa and I headed back to her apartment where her boyfriend made delicious pasta with vodka sauce for us and his coworker. We all then went out to a cozy multi-level bar in Washington D.C. where we chatted and relished the night.

Maryland (and D.C.) treated me well once again. On top of that, it was super gratifying catching up with one of the people I hold dearest. Although I was sad to leave, I was excited to go home to watch the Eagles beat the Vikings, putting us in Super Bowl LII!

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Australia: One Year Later

It has been exactly one year since I landed in Perth, Australia to study abroad. When I realized this, I could not believe the anniversary had snuck up so soon. It seems as if I have been in a state of longing for clear waters rolling onto sandy shores, ginormous waves crashing on towering rock cliffs and warm air embracing my skin for more than a year. There is not a day that goes by during which I do not think about the happiest and freest semester of my life and I so wish I could go back to experience that alternate universe one more time.

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My first sight of Australia

My life is so much different one year later: my late nights out with friends turned into late nights at my internship, shopping for bathing suits has turned into buying professional-wear and lounging under the sun at the beach has turned into laying in my bed reading for class (I read for class in Australia too, don’t worry). However, cooking for myself reverted back into having a meal plan on campus and not having to prepare every meal every day, so that is a plus! I am not planning cool trips to new continents or packing a bag for a week-long outback trip. Instead, I am trying to find a weekend I am free enough to have a friend visit me in New York. I am not saying anything about this is bad; it is just different.

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Cliffside in the Northwest

Studying abroad really was like living in an alternate universe, if the above descriptions did not portray that enough. However, it was more like an elongated dream; one that would eventually have to become a well-scrapbooked memory. Although my life is nowhere near as adventurous as it was a year ago, I am so thankful for what has come since leaving from Australia and what is to come in the future (more travels, please).

One year later I can say I still live with the essence of my past life. I have remained more confident in my own decisions, which I really had to learn as I was making travel plans down under. I have continued to be extremely mindful of the people I surround myself with and stand up for my beliefs instead of letting other people walk over me. Finally, I have continued to learn to take a break. Whether it is doing a face mask and lighting a candle or journaling, I make sure I take time to reflect on the day and evaluate the progress I made on my daily and weekly tasks. Although I came to Australia with a deep understanding of who I am as a person, I now can better express that to others.

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Our first sight of Perth

I really do wish I could go back and to Australia and relive that enlightening, beautiful semester. At the same time, I don’t think it would be the same. My semester in Australia came and left, and now I can let the memories live on to remind me how full of pure ecstasy that semester was and to let that time shape how I live in the future.

Whitmanythought 1: Seriously, please let me go back

Whitmanythought 2: I have friends studying in New Zealand and Australia this semester and I wish I could visit them

A Reflection of My Blog 2.0

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I am laughing at myself for calling my blog “mediocre” last year. I mean, it still is, but guess what—it is still making me happy!

Like I said in my “reflection” post that I wrote just over a year ago, I have thought about changing my blog into a “.com,” but I decided against it. Why? I have no idea what the future holds and I do not know how much time I will be able to put into my blog after graduation and once I start graduate school. What if I have nothing about which to write? What if I never leave Hofstra’s campus again and will have no more stories to tell? I’m kidding of course; I know that will not happen.

As I reflect on my blog again, (because why not), I wonder if the person sitting next to me is reading anything I type (go ahead, it’s free advertisement). I also wonder how many people have actually read my posts or even benefitted from them. I know a few have, and that makes me feel accomplished. This of course is not the ultimate travel blog that is going to tell you how to explore every city around the world, but I do hope people who come across it hear my voice, relate to it and it helps them in some way.

I am actually quite proud of myself for keeping up with the blog this past semester. After my hiatus in the summer after Australia, I told myself I would not let myself go without posting with the excuse of school in my way. From my transitioning tips post (which may be my biggest hit) to my Fall Concert Series 2.0, I published reviews, thoughts and advice of which I am proud.

I am super excited to continue my blog and see what direction it takes as a chapter of my life closes and a new one begins. To finish this post off the way I did last year, I will leave you with this: “To whoever reads this, I hope I have interested you.”

Whitmanythought 1: February is against me. It does not want me to post. I shall persevere!

 

Spring 2018: Not Australia

This time last year, I had just gotten back from an incredible two weeks in London and was preparing to study abroad in Australia. It is absolutely crazy to me to think that was my life just 12 months ago. Believe me, I want it back! However, I cannot dwindle on the past.

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I am saddened that I cannot declare that I am studying abroad in some exotic place this year, but I do have some things that may excite some (mostly my family). I am heading into my last semester of undergraduate at Hofstra University and I have just begun an internship with NBC Weekend TODAY. Although I just started, I have already been given so much to do, such as researching, running updated scripts to the control room during the show and logging music the show uses so royalties can be paid. It is a weekend morning show, so I am in New York City by five in the morning on Saturdays and six on Sundays, and I go in two to four times a week.

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Me in the studio at NBC TODAY

Due to my hectic schedule this semester (I am still juggling my sorority, fraternity, my school’s television station and a job on top of being an intern and full-time student), I will not be able to produce as much content as I did last semester (unless I can). Therefore, I plan to post a new video from Australia almost every week, one year after I experienced such incredible travels. My goal is to start this in March, as I do have some posts from winter break to share and maybe one or two new posts to type up in February.

I have said before: this is no top-of-the-line travel blog, but it is something I hold important to me and enjoy doing. So, with that being said, I hope some people take a liking to my upcoming posts and Australian adventures!

Whitmanythought 1: I cannot wait to share my videos! Most of them have been done since I was in Australia

Whitmanythought 2: Maybe I should just delay graduation and study abroad again

 

London: One Year Later

One year ago today, I was spending my last night in London and begrudgingly preparing to leave behind the most exciting and fulfilling two weeks of my life.

Today, I began my new internship at NBC Weekend TODAY which will hopefully cultivate an exciting and fulfilling semester.

Two years ago, I never thought I would have just finished frolicking around London with great friends. One year ago, I would never believe I would be making my way into an incredible pre-professional opportunity. Isn’t it crazy what time can do?

Here is the video that documents the travels of my dear trip to London in 2017.

Whitmanythought 1: Take me back to London, please.

Whitmanythought 2: I feel so under-qualified for this internship.

Frisco, Colorado: Wrapped Up

It has been a week since I returned from Colorado, and I have not stopped appreciating how much we lucked out with the conditions. Now, I get to look back on my family ski trip through my lackluster memory, blog posts, pictures, and this video. Enjoy!

 

Frisco, Colorado: Good Eats

Food is a key ingredient to a fantastic vacation. Here are some of the yummy tastes I got to enjoy during my time in Frisco.

Night One:

Besides the skiing, something we really look forward to about Frisco is the incredible sushi joint called Kemosabe. It’s a small place that does not take reservations, so you need to be tactical about dinnertime, unless you don’t mind waiting for a table. Unfortunately, Pop Pop was not feeling well, so the first night was just me and my dad. Fortunately, we were able to be seated right away and were waited on by an extremely sweet English waitress we have had before.

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Dad and I split my favorite spicy tuna tower and handful of rolls. Our favorite was called the Bumblebee, and was a mixture of mango and salmon, and gave a slightly sweet and refreshing taste. I also tried something different and got the All American roll which was a roll of tempura asparagus, avocado and crab and topped with seared beef tenderloin and a sweet soy sauce.

Night Two:

We could not leave without Pop Pop having sushi, so luckily, we went back to Kemosabe and split a few rolls, which were all of course, very satisfying. I love tuna, and the tuna sashimi we ordered was a beautiful red and really hit the spot.

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Night Three:

My Coloradoan family was stuck in traffic, so unfortunately they missed dinner at The Uptown on Main, which was formerly The Boatyard, where we have eaten. The atmosphere and service was not my favorite, but my taste buds were definitely pleased. I settled on having two appetizers for dinner: NY strip steak sliders with queso and sautéed onions and secondly thai satay skewers. I was shocked by how much food was in front of me considering they were just appetizers, but even bigger than the portion were the flavors.

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Night Four:

It was Saturday night, a holiday weekend, and there was football on, and that is a recipe for crowded eateries. After waiting about two hours for a table, the seven of us ate at an Italian restaurant a few storefronts down from our lodge. I had four cheese and spinach ravioli with a pesto sauce, which was very rich. Although we waited so long for a table, the delicious food and overly friendly dining staff made it a pleasurable night.

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Night Five:

My uncle was having no part in lines, so we ended up at a Ruby Tuesday, where I finally had a sandwich, which I had been wanting. It was a relaxed, casual dinner and it was nice chatting it up with my family.

I do have to add that I was incredibly impressed with the food and food service at the mountains each day. From sushi to BBQ, there was a huge array of choices between all the mountains and it was all super delicious. Most notable were my pulled pork mac and cheese which reminded me of the same thing I ate in London, lobster mac and cheese and a Thai noodle bowl.

Although we did not get to eat at my favorite pub this time, I had incredible food on this trip eaten with even more incredible people.

 

Frisco, Colorado Day 4: Reflecting on the Trip

How does one spend the last day of a ski trip? Ripping it, of course. My dad, grandfather, uncle, cousin and I headed to Keystone Mountain Sunday morning with much excitement due to the bright blue skies and sun shining over us.

If we could have combined Sunday’s weather with the snow conditions of the other days, it would have been absolutely perfect. Regardless, Sunday was a beautiful end to an exciting trip. The first half of the day consisted of all of us shredding together, and then my uncle and cousin left me, my grandfather, and dad to do the job—and we definitely got it done! To my surprise, we stayed on the mountain almost as late as we could to take advantage of every run we could.

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Only if this trail was called “Abbey Road”

As I have said, this ski trip has been an extraordinary one. We lucked out with fresh snow three of the four days and the temperatures stayed high enough so I did not freeze my fingers off.

Secondly, I am super proud of my improvement. My dad joked that my new ski outfit contributed to my better form, but to be honest, my new ski goggles gave me way more visibility than my old ones, which upped my confidence and pushed me to not shy away from quick turns down steeper terrain. Nothing feels better than my uncle asking, “When doesn’t she kill it?” and me genuinely feeling proud of myself.

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Me excitedly skiing down the mountain

Finally, as I have mentioned, it was so special being with my family over the last few days. Goofing off with them made the days light, but also made me want to show off what I can do a bit more. Nothing beats being in a competition with my uncle to see who can spray the other one more with snow, singing Taylor Swift as my dad simultaneously sings classic rock on the chairlift or being pleasantly surprised when my “mini-me” cousin flashes a “thumbs up,” something I often do, for a photo together.

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Mini me and I

This ski trip was different. It was more relaxed, but somehow more fulfilling. I will miss hearing man-made avalanches in the distance, seeing my dad carve a line around me and feeling like I am on top of the world as I gawk at the mountain peaks surrounding me. I may be done on the slopes for a while, but I cannot wait to get back on them next winter!

Frisco, Colorado Day 3: Family Fun

Day three of skiing brought more amazing conditions, but best of all, it brought my family! I was super thrilled to be on the mountain Saturday with not just my father and grandfather, but also my aunt, uncle and two cousins who are Colorado natives.

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Whitman family ski trip!

The day was bound to be interesting because my whole family is not all at the same level of skiing, so there was some pace-adjusting to do. The morning actually went by quickly despite how relaxed it was. We had an early lunch, and then the rest of my family left the mountain to watch the Eagles’ playoff game at the lodge.

 

So then there was two. Although I was super excited to ski with my whole family, there is nothing like some daddy-daughter skiing. To make up for the slow morning, I firmly suggested that my dad and I take the T-bar up to the bowl of the mountain, the highest point that surpasses the tree line. A T-bar is a lift that two people rest their behinds on as they grab onto the cable and get pulled up the hill, skis on the ground. My father was quite skeptical about this because he thought it would be too cold and snowless up there. However, he was pleasantly surprised to find untouched powder and a wide open mountain peak for us to explore. He enjoyed it so much that he opted to do it again! This is the type of skiing that left my thighs burning and my heart racing.

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Selfie at the peak of the mountain with Dad!

From a family-filled, slow morning to a fast-paced afternoon with just my dad, Saturday ended up being an incredible day at Breckenridge Resort. To make it better, I caught half the Eagle’s game with my family at the lodge, where we animatedly cheered them on around the television. I do have to admit that Taylor Swift played in the car on the way to and from the mountain, and I’m not confident that the fresh snow, comfortable temperatures and Eagles winning was all just a coincidence. I suppose I can leave that open for interpretation.

 

 

 

 

Frisco, Colorado Day 2: Skiing in a Snow Globe

Day two of skiing gave some of the best conditions I’ve had (I definitely said that last year). Similarly to my second day of skiing at Park City, I thoroughly enjoyed my second day in Colorado at Keystone Mountain.

I walked outside Thursday morning surprised to see about five inches of snow on the ground and snow still generously falling from the sky. We arrived at Keystone and the snow was still coming down, but that just made us excited to have some fresh snow to disturb. I am laughing at myself because last year I dreaded skiing in the snow, but this year, I actually quite enjoyed it. This is probably because the temperature was in the twenties, which is ideal for someone who gets cold easily like myself.

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Outside our room Thursday morning

Thursday I felt like I was skiing in a snow globe. The sky was a mix of dark and light gray clouds, sometimes with a hint of sun that gave an idea of the outside world. Frankly, I could not have cared less about the outside world as I was followed my dad down the mountain with my Pop Pop trailing behind. I could stay in my snow globe all day.

Although we would of course prefer blue skies, which we did get for a bit in the afternoon, there were no complaints with the fresh snow which was giving us excellent skiing conditions. The peaks of the mountain were a bit windy, but as we moved further down the trails, the winds subsided.

We normally try to explore the whole mountain, but we found a solid group of trails off the same ski lift, and could not believe it when we realized it was already lunch time. Now that is the purest example of time flying when having fun! After a delicious barbecue lunch, we stuck to another area, which we had skied in previous years that had excellent runs for us as well.

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In my snow globe 

My version of an excellent run is one that is wide, so it does not make me feel cramped and that does not have an overwhelming amount of people on it. I like a trail with loose snow, but nothing so deep that I sink into it, with a downhill vertical that will work my thighs and leave me at a loss of breath. Thankfully, I experienced a bunch of trails that gave me just that.

Keystone treated us well, and the forecast for the next two days is promising. To wrap the second day post the same way as last year, I will leave by saying this: “Today is how a day on the mountain should be: fun and fast!”