A New London Original in NYC

I make it my mission to see at least one Broadway show per semester and thanks to Hofstra University Honors College, I was able to check that box early.

I saw a newer play, Farinelli and the King, at the Belasco Theatre in New York. The show tells the story of how the mentally unfit King Philip IV of Spain is being undermined by his courtiers, while his wife fights against them and hires the sweet soprano-voiced Farinelli to sing to her ill husband. It turns out that Farinelli’s soothing voice does the trick to save Philip’s deteriorating mind, but also woos the queen. This play originally debuted in London in 2015, and has made its way overseas with some of the original cast.


The reason I am writing about this is not to tell you about the comedic play, but to highlight the quick, but insightful talkback the cast had after the show. This is the only talkback I have been to in recent times, and I thought it was interesting because the cast talked about the differences between putting on the show in America and England.

Something repeated by a few cast members is that the matinee crowd in America is much more lively than that in England. Go us!

In terms of the stage and members, the cast had a larger stage in America and was able to bump the musician count from three to six. Also mentioned was the fact that there was no director telling actors where to stand on stage. King Philip IV, played by Oscar and Tony winner Mark Rylance, compared it to learning to play tennis, where “you give and take focus to each other.” The actors learned where the better-lit places on the stage were based on the positioning of the candles that provided the light for the production.


Another unique factor of Farinelli is that there was two-tiered audience seating on the stage, which proposed another challenge to the actors. No one wore a microphone, and while some audience members were near, they had to make sure to focus on the members sitting in the main theater. “We want to make you feel like you’re in the same room as us,” said Rylance. “We want to be as attentive t you as you are to us.”

Some of the favorite pieces from the show are the dresses, which was agreed upon by the whole cast, the wigs according to Queen Isabella, played by Melody Grove, and Rylance took a liking to the gold fish he talks to in the beginning of the show. He explained that there is a rotation of fish used, and jokingly said sometimes they are a bit out of character, which can be a challenge.

The cast finished with a thoughtful discussion of amateur versus professional acting. “I enjoyed acting as much when I was an amateur actor as when I’m a professional actor,” said Rylance. He especially feels positive when “you have a really great night and feel connected with the audience.”

Whitmanythought 1: I did not realize much of the cast was from England and I thoroughly enjoyed the true British accents

 Whitmanythought 2: I hope I can see a show again this semester!


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.

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


2017: From Traveling to Relaxing

How I am sitting down to write my 2017 wrap-up post is beyond me, yet here I am. Quite opposite to 2016, this year was not driven by my need to travel. Yes, I travelled; a lot. However, once my beautiful semester in Australia was done, I was not ready to hit the road (or sky) again. In fact, I did not want to travel at all. I wanted to rest and relax, and that is exactly what I did.

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My version of relaxation is still not what many would call “relaxing,” but it was perfect. I ended up working as a sailing instructor, which was my first job a few years back, I spent quality time with friends and family and I went to the beach every chance I could. The furthest I traveled was to my AIFS Alumni Ambassador training in Connecticut, and the only “trips” I took were to Philadelphia a handful of times and to a lake house in my home state of New Jersey. I took a break from social media and I simply lived.

Summertime relaxation

Then, I quickly jumped into a hurricane of a semester; one that really tested me emotionally. During that semester, I really appreciated when I could “get away” and leave campus to take my mind off things. It was a mixture of my post-Australia summer and chaotic semester that led me to realize the purpose of 2017: to teach me to take a break.

When people ask me about my new year resolution, I tell them I do not have one. In fact, I never really do. What I try to focus on are the things that make me happy and the things that do not, and live accordingly. In 2016, I was all about acting on my “mid-college crisis” and my travel bug any way I could. Between studying in Rome, travelling to London and spending a semester down under, I think I did an excellent job (thanks to the support of my wonderful family). In 2017, I focused on taking a break, which really started in Australia. Although I was busy almost every weekend while there and went on three weeklong trips, I still had a huge amount of free time to which I was not accustomed. I learned to appreciate that extra space and use it as “me” time to let loose and distress. In Australia, a lot of that extra time was spent blogging and making videos. In the summer, it was spent laying at the beach or swimming in a pool. During the semester, any extra time I found was spent doing anything from a face mask and watching a show to napping. I mentioned at the beginning of the semester that I learned that it is okay to not have everything organized to a tee, and this semester has really allowed me to calm myself and leave a few days open for when last minute things pop up. And when they did not, the extra time was simply an unexpected treat.

2016 was focused on my thirst to travel. 2017 was focused on my need to learn to relax. Although so different, both years offered me wonderful things, from new experiences and knowledge to new people. I have no idea what 2018 will bring, and at the present moment, I do not have much control over it. Regardless, I have no doubt that 2018 will be just as fulfilling as the last two. Here’s to the memories of 2017 and the unknown of 2018!

Home at Last

Long time, no blog! I cannot say I am pleased with myself for not posting in so long, but you know, life happens. And by life happening, I mean I have been home from Australia for just over a month. I considered the options for first blog post after I got back from my Australian adventures—tips on transitioning back home, dealing with post-trip depression, what I learned while I away—the list goes on and on. I didn’t want to do anything too fancy or pretentious, so here are my responses to questions I’ve repeatedly received.

My last picture from Australia

“So you’re actually going to be in America, Miss World Traveler?”

I cannot tell you how many times I heard this phrase or something similar. Yes, I was just traveling the world, but I did not forget where my home is! To be honest, exploring the world is still so important to me, but coming home to sweet New Jersey in summertime was the best timing possible. I do not want to be anywhere else than the Jersey Shore with my family and friends for a summer full of beaching, water-skiing and fun before I head back to Hofstra to begin my senior year of college.

“How was transitioning back to reality?”

Despite popular assumption, coming back was super easy. I luckily had a job lined up as soon as I got home, quite literally. I walked in my door at 11 p.m. on June 25, and started work at 8:30 a.m. the next morning. Jumping into work and a schedule made it simple and necessary to transition myself back to home life.

Fourth of July at home for the first time in two years

“What was your jetlag like?”

Luckily I slept/cried for almost the whole duration of my first two flights, and stayed awake for my last, so my sleep pattern was not too far off. Waking up early the next morning for work was easy and I almost flawlessly transitioned into Eastern Standard Time. Of course I was tired, but my sleep schedule was nowhere near backwards like some people thought.

“How sad are you to be back?”

As cliché as this sounds, I am sad that my adventure is over, but so thankful I have heaps (still using popular Australian terms) of memories to look back on and new friends to outlive these memories. Like I said, there is nowhere I would rather be in the summer than New Jersey with my friends, family, awesome job and of course, my pets. If I returned in winter, it may be a different story…

The best part about coming home

“Where to next?”

People who know me know I will go anywhere I can if I have the chance. I plan on staying in America for quite some time to finish my undergraduate studies and earn some of the money I blew through back. However, the next large trip I want to take is a cross-country road trip through America. I feel like I have seen more of “the world” than I have of my own country, so I’d like to focus on that.

Coming home after living in another country for months can be a huge change, but I think it is all about perspective. Yes, I was upset to leave the new life I created while away, but I had so much goodness waiting for me at home. It has been a beautiful and crazy ride, and I plan to continue my journey of world and self-exploration one day at a time.

1 Year of Whitmanythoughts

A few days ago, a sweet little memory popped up on Facebook: my first blog post on Whitmanythoughts. I cannot believe it has been a year since I started writing about my travels. I feel like I have written so much, yet have so much more to share.

I have expressed over and over again how amazing of a year it has been and how thankful I am for all I have gotten to experience. From traveling around Europe for two weeks with my grandfather to skiing in Park City, Utah with my dad, it has been a thrilling ride.


I often wonder what will happen to my blog after I finish my time here in Australia. I know I won’t actually be traveling for quite some time, so I won’t have so many new and exciting things to write about. I can definitely see my content changing a bit to adapt to my (not as cool) lifestyle back at home. I do want to focus on my feelings a bit more and incorporate them into my writing so it is not so cut and dry. In the end, I realize I control my blog and as long as I like it, everything is dandy. In reality, every day is a new adventure, and I know I will have things to talk about.

Plus, this is WhitmanyTHOUGHTS for a reason: I have oodles of thoughts and I want to share them. I have so many things constantly swirling through my mind that I would love to turn into “thought” posts. I am not looking for fame with this site, and I am so happy with the 100 followers that I have. Although it would be nice to turn this blog into something larger in the future, I am so contented writing for the sake of my own memory and for my family.

I do have so much to still share. I have posts from my weekend getaways in Italy last summer as well as my extended trips in Australia this semester saved in my computer, yearning to see the light. Although I won’t be “traveling,” I have so many exciting things coming up in the second half of the year, from summer at the shore to a Fall Concert Series 2.0 to hopefully spending some time with international visitors…but I will just keep it at that.

My global travels may soon be over, but the adventures continue. Life is beautiful.  It is not always perfect, but one thing I have been reminding myself is that life does not give me obstacles that I cannot handle. Here’s to the last year of travel, here’s to my time left in Australia and here is to the next year of Whitmanythoughts.

Whitmanythought1: This has been the most epic year of my life and I am so thankful.

Whitmanythought2: How do I still have friends on Facebook with all the posts I share?

Whitmanythought3: Can I just keep travelling for another year?

Thoughts on Turning 21

I remember turning 10 years old and having my mom say, “You’ll be in double digits for the rest if your life!” I thought that was scary. I recall becoming a teenager and having some friends over for some Wii Olympics. I remember deciding whether or not I should have a sweet 16. Turning 18 was an exciting day because I was finally a “legal adult.” My friend surprised me with balloons and I had more friends over for a bonfire that night. Then, I left my teenage years behind and said hello to “the best years of my life.” Now, I am 21 and I am speechless.


I turned 20 last year and I had just confirmed that I would be studying abroad during the summer. I did not do anything special on my birthday, but formal was right after it, so I counted that as my celebration. I was ready to take on a new year and navigate through whatever came my way. I had no idea that 20 would treat me so well. I visited Costa Rica with my father and sister, explored Europe with my Pop Pop, I lived in Italy for a month and made some memories that are not even comparable to those from Australia. I landed my first internship at a big company and I even tried the college dating scene last fall. Then, I was lucky enough to ski in Park City, Utah for the first time with my dad and head to London with one of my best friends for two weeks. Of course, it was not all happy—I lost one of my closest friends growing up and experienced heartbreak—but that is all part of life. Regardless, I am in awe when I think about the last year and I am forever grateful for it.

I usually don’t get too stoked for my birthday because it just means I am one year older. Of course it is always exciting to have people reach out to wish me a nice day and have a bit of attention, but I never got extremely into it. Although I usually don’t get too wild about my birthday, this year was different. With this birthday, I would finally be “legal” in the eyes of American nightlife. I would have finished 10% of my twenties. This year, I am surrounded by people I basically just met who told me I had no choice but to celebrate my birthday and it feels awesome. This year, I am actually eager to become another year older because it means I am growing, learning and experiencing.

I feel so much love this birthday from all around the world. I had people from America  texting me “Happy early birthday,” I had people from New Zealand and Europe wish me a great day and I had all my friends and acquaintances here showing me love. Nothing is better than feeling loved and celebrated on my special day. It is pretty cool, because I feel like I have two birthdays since it is May 2 in Australia 12 hours before it is in America. I’ll have to keep this in mind during my birthday celebrations in the future.

I am so grateful for all the things I got to experience, all the new people I got to meet and all the new places I got to see during my twentieth year of life. It will be hard to top what I think was the best year of my life, but who knows what the future holds. With that being said, I am so thrilled to see what this year has in store for me. Wow, 21.

Park City, Utah: Good Eats

No vacation is complete without some fantastic food, so I wanted to give you a small taste of the good eats I was fortunate enough to have during my stay here in Park City:

Night One:

Dad and I were recommended to a few places, so we headed down to the old Park City via the free public bus and tried a sport bar and grill called Wasatch Brewery. Dad and I shared some of the best calamari we have ever eaten. I had a BBQ pulled-pork sandwich, one of my favorites, that was rather earthy tasting than sweet. Regardless, it was tasty. Dad and I are a huge fan of the place and would definitely go back.

Night Two:

After about 40 minutes of searching for a restaurant in the freezing cold weather, dad and I ended up at a random sushi joint in Park City called Oishi Sushi. I have eaten a lot of sushi in my life, but this was unimaginably fantastic. Dad and I started off with tuna tartar followed by a platter of sashimi. The fish was so fresh and so beautiful. I ordered two rolls: a tempura-style roll filled with scallops, crab and eel deep fried with funky sauce and eel sauce, and a roll composed of avocado and eel topped with crab, shrimp tempura, tempura crunch, eel sauce and spicy mayo. I cannot stress how incredible this sushi was. I have never seen sushi piled so high or tasted sushi that made my taste buds explode every time I took a bite. Hands down the best sushi I have ever consumed in my life.

Have you ever seen sushi piled so high?

Night Three:

Tonight we met my dad’s work friend and his wife at The Farm, which is a market-driven, rustic, but elegant restaurant that serves many types of meats. I was unsure what to order, but my dad mentioned the short ribs. I never had that before, so I figured I would give it a try and I am so glad I did. It was juicy, savory and fell right off the bone. Prior to our main course we tried some beef tartar, which is something I don’t think I even knew existed. It was fresh and light, but it did not compare to the tuna tartar from the prior night!

Night Four:

Dad and I loved our sushi so much from Thursday night that we just had to go back! We feasted: we split tuna tartar and an 18-piece sashimi platter (they gave us a few pieces extra) and a spicy scallop roll. We also tried one of the special rolls, the Tiger Lily: shrimp tempura, crap and tuna. On top of that, I ordered my favorite Silver Lake, the tempura-style roll I had before. We made a great conversation with the sushi chef, as we were at the bar. Can I eat here every day?

Night Five:

The final night we decided to stay at the resort and try a sport bar and grill at another hotel. I had a fantastic salad with candied pecans, dried cranberries and crumbled blue cheese. I also split some wings with my dad, one of his favorite things to eat. I ended our final meal with a dessert that was called Nutella Banana Foster, but was basically a Nutella, banana and marshmallow pizza.

I am going to miss taking the bus to Park City or walking five minutes to a nearby joint. The trip was definitely filled with good times, good people and even better food.

Park City, Utah Day 4: Foggy and Fun

I do not think we could have asked for a better last day of skiing. Dad and I absolutely nailed the first half of the day, revisiting some of our favorite runs and trying out some new trails. Every single trail we took was beautiful. The trails had a couple of inches of fresh powder on them, which is always ideal. I mentioned the first day how powder really makes your muscles work, because you have to keep a low center of gravity. An inch or two does not make you exert as much energy, and is really more of a nice, soft cushion. Don’t get me wrong, my thighs were on fire today as I bent up and down, working my way through the bumpy, un-groomed trails and occasional mogul field.

I was in the middle of taking photos, so I told my dad to smile

Today was the weirdest mix of weather I have ever seen on a mountain. I have skied in snow, in fog and in clear skies. Today I saw almost all of that. For about three hours, we were under a gray sky, but the sun was still visible and it was warm. Dad and I were shocked and grateful that we even saw a hint of sun. During those hours, fog would roll in and roll out of the mountain.

Fog on the mountain. Right from my phone.

Then, as the forecast predicted, snow started falling down on us. A lot of it. The snow was wet and heavy and it was a bit difficult for me to see, but that definitely did not slow me down. However, after lunch, the snow turned to rain. I do not think I have ever skied in rain before, but there is a first for everything! The rain made the snow heavy and I could notice the weight on my skis as I went up the lift. At this point, I was skiing without my goggles, which are horrible in overcast skies to begin with, and there was water trickling down from my helmet. I laughed to myself when a ski lift attendant told Dad and I that we are hardcore. Let’s just call it a low visibility, high fun day!

Dad and I made the last run count, as always, and we were satisfied with the day. We got a solid three days of skiing in, plus the first, and we could not be more pleased. As my dad said, “That’s all she wrote!”