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.

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.

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 others silence them. Finally, I have continued to learn to take a break. Whether it is putting on 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.

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!”

Frisco, Colorado Day 1: Fluffy Snow with a Hint of Sun

When my father and I went to Park City last year, we stayed at one resort the whole time. However, in Frisco, Colorado, we do quite the opposite. In fact, we do not even ski in Frisco. We just stay here at the sweetest little inn called the Frisco Lodge.

A photo of me outside our lodge my freshman year of college

When in Colorado, we go to different ski resorts; usually a different one every day. Thursday took us to a new place at which we have never skied: Beaver Creek. Besides a little bit of uncertainty in the morning that comes with going to a new mountain (where to park, where the trails lead, etc.), we had a phenomenal first day on the slopes.

We normally go on this trip a week earlier than we did, but luckily, it was delayed this year. I say we were lucky because apparently there was not too much snow at Beaver Creek a week ago, and the beautiful, light, fluffy snow we conquered Monday was brand new. We went on a variety of trails, from easy groomers to steep and uneven terrain. We found a cluster of trails that we really enjoyed and took advantage of during the middle of the day.

Some blue sky at the base of Beaver Creek

Besides the great snow conditions, the weather was fantastic. In the low 20s, the mountain was not too chilly when in the sunlight. I get cold quite easily, so I was mentally preparing myself to freeze before we even headed to the mountain. There were bright blue skies visible between the clouds, and that is always an uplifting and energizing sight to see while skiing.

However, the best part of the day was when my father told me he had to do a double-take on me because he said my form was so good, he at first did not realize it was me coming down the trail. What a fantastic compliment to start off a fun four days of skiing!

Oz: Classes are over, now I Holiday

My crunch time has officially been crunched. After diligently working on projects, presentations and papers, my two weeks of jamming assignments in is over and I am about to leave for a final holiday. I never expected to say this, but I am heading for Thailand!


Planning this trip was not easy, as I ran into many road blocks trying to please my friends while scavenging for budget-friendly activities that had enough availability. After dealing with indecisive and fickle people, multiple trips and emails to a lovely STA agent and numerous rant sessions, I have planned a trip for Brian, Sierra and I in Bangkok and its surrounding area. This is the first time I have ever been in charge of and fully planned a trip to a country that does not speak English, and nervous does not begin to explain how I feel. However, as I have been reminding myself, everything happens for a reason and it will all somehow work out.

The next time I post, I will be back from Thailand, hopefully with a positive review. Cheers!

Oz: Something Special

I switched from having the best week of classes to having the most uneventful week of classes. The only thing I did all week that was not related to conquering my homework or to-do list was watch a British television show with some mates that were accompanied by some delicious onion rings and a game of Uno. However, this is a special week and it will be followed by an even more special week. As I am typing this, my best friend and my world travelling buddy, my Pop Pop, is on his way to Australia!


It just seems like months ago I was planning this abroad semester and had the hope that Pop Pop would be able to come visit. Well, it was not easy to get him here, and after thinking he would not be able to visit at all, we broke through the ice and planned a trip to Sydney and New Zealand. And by “we,” I mean he planned it and I simply put in my feedback. Pop Pop is a professional trip planner, and I am glad I got to see him work his magic one more time.

If we had endless time and money, Pop Pop knows I would be flying all over the world with him until we saw every last place on Earth.

I am beyond thankful that I have another opportunity to travel with this incredible man. From Paris in sixth grade and Italy and Spain in high school, to our European adventure last year, I have seen so much of the world all thanks to Pop Pop. He is so special to me and so selfless. It brings tears to my eyes that I get another chance to explore a new place with him.

This is probably going to be our last international trip together, as heartbreaking as that is for me. If we had endless time and money, Pop Pop knows I would be flying all over the world with him until we saw every last place on Earth.

I so look forward to seeing him Friday and making our trip just as marvelous as our last. I truly hope Pop Pop realizes how special he is to me and how thankful I am I get to do this with him. I also would not be able to do it without my grandma for letting him go, because she thinks we are crazy for all these travels (Thank you Grandma).

The next time I write, I will be on the East coast!  Here’s to my next adventure!

Oz: Rottnest Island Day 2

I woke up to quokkas and peacocks outside my door on Sunday. What a way to start my morning!


For those who do not know what a quokka is (I did not until I got to Oz), a quokka, in my own definition, is a mixture between a rabbit (because it hops and of its size) and a rat (its body and tail). The island literally got its name from these cute critters with its name meaning “rat’s nest.” Rottnest has successfully marketed quokkas, which only inhabit a few islands off of Perth, as selfie attractions. It took some time, but I got some selfies along with a few kisses.


Nicole, Sierra, Barry and I biked almost the whole island again Sunday, but it was definitely a more relaxing ride. We stopped at a series of bays, including Parakeet, Little Armstrong, City of York and Stark. We ended the day sitting on a bench in the shade, watching people wipe out on the blow-up course in the water.


We cut through the middle of the island on the way back to base. To my surprise, we came across a pink lake! I am so happy I finally got to see one up close. In person, it is really just loads and loads of salt that turns into an icy pink color, that eventually mixes with the water. It was an exciting sight to see!


Rottnest definitely treated me well, and I could not believe that the picturesque piece of land was so close to where I live. With its crystal clear waters and cliffs that lend a phenomenal view, this is a special place that the people of Western Australia are lucky to have.

The perfect weekend turned into the best week of classes yet and was followed by yet another perfect weekend. I could not be more thankful.