A Comprehensive History of the Mystery…

24 Dec

PRESENT DAY: ‘Tis finally time, my friends, for Mystery Trip 2018, where I choose your choice. We’ve got our tickets in hand, our bags packed, and our passports ready for the stamping. But you still don’t get to know where we’re headed just yet … This is the flashback episode; the part of the blog where I relay to you the events leading up to this very moment—the moment we step onto the plane without looking back. Ready?

*Cue the rewind sound effect*

AUGUST: It all began on one, long flight to Peru where I thought about how fun it would be to plan a trip for some adventurous travelers who would agree to get on a plane without knowing where they were going or what they’d be doing. But where, oh where, was I supposed to find a couple of crazy kids like that?




And Patrick!


Colleen took my initial idea and ran with it. She called me in August with specific dates and a budget. After a 3-way Skype call with Patrick, we all agreed to some pretty basic rules:

1.   Safety first – The destination could not be one of the five most dangerous places in the world (because we’re crazy, but not that crazy). Ask me about the sixth most dangerous place in the world, and maybe I’ll consider.

2.   Variety– We’re all well-traveled and love our new experiences, so we agreed that the destination should be somewhere none of us had gone before.

3.   The Benjamins, baby – Of course, you can’t plan a trip without talking money. We came up with a solid budget of $2,500 per person.


So, I started planning. We’ve all been traveling for quite some time, so the rules really narrowed down my search. But the process didn’t come without its challenges. I had to navigate around the fact that:

  1.   Patrick, Colleen, and yours truly are all from separate places. I would have to figure out how to get Patrick from Denver and Colleen from Chicago, while I of course, would be leaving from Pittsburgh.


  2. We were going to be spending Christmas and New Years abroad, which is automatically going to drive ticket prices up, up, and far away.


But hey, haven’t you learned by now? I’m a pro. So after much research, price shopping, and city-to-country matrixes, I booked the flights and sent my brave souls a fun little confirmation.



And so it begins! Muhaha!


NOVEMBER:  By November, we were all getting really into it. My teasing text messages were at an all-time high, and Colleen started working on the official Mystery Trip 2018 uniforms.



Which of these hats is not like the others?



Official uniform of Mystery Trip 2018!


I should’ve had them make blindfolds, but hopefully the caps will shield them from any indicators or clues at the airport.

What makes this whole thing extra fun is that both Colleen and Patrick have been eager from the start to maintain the surprise element of this trip, so I gave them another little assignment: They needed to create a combined playlist so that they won’t be able to hear any announcements from the terminal or on the plane.

As the month passed by, and with the spirit of giving among us, I finally gave them a few morsels of information about our destination:

Climate = bring a really warm jacket…like, really, really warm.

Activities = bring some hiking boots, your adventure pants, and something to swim in, because plot twist! We’re getting in some water! (Might I recommend some extra warm, long underwear for this occasion?)

Festivities = bring a Secret Santa gift, and make it fancy (just kidding, just something around $20).

But as I giveth, so do I also taketh away. You knew there’d be a catch right? And in this case, it was that they were only allowed to pack one carry-on. They’re traveling with AdventureSam, and when you travel with AdventureSam, you need to step up to the challenge. It’s all part of the fun!


DECEMBER: Can you imagine being two weeks away from a trip and not knowing where you’re going or when you’re even getting on the plane? Colleen and Patrick can. Colleen and Patrick definitely can, because two weeks away, and they still hadn’t received any information from their dear pal AdventureSam. I sent them this little text to ease their anxieties:

“We will be going out for New Years (remember the temperature). It won’t be fancy, of course, but it will be out in public. Also, I don’t think we’ll need snow shoes. But if we do, at least we won’t have them together! #Solidarity”

So finally, one week before the trip, I decided to throw them a bone and let them know they’re departure times. I mean, the suspense was just killing me; I couldn’t stand it. But I still kept the itinerary a secret—I was only going to give them that info 24-hrs in advance.



NOW: So, we’re back where we started. I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane. And now, as a quick little game, I’d like to know where you think we’re going. The polls are now open for educated guesses. For a recap:

1.   It’s cold
2.   We will be swimming at some point
3.   We’re going out for New Year’s Eve and a few other nights
4.   40% outdoors, 60% city

I let Colleen and Patrick play, too. So here are the final results

Colleen: Iceland
Patrick: Norway
You, my lovely blog reader: [Insert your guess here]
And the winner is…





3 Responses to “A Comprehensive History of the Mystery…”

  1. Orin Nisenson December 24, 2017 at 2:24 am #

    I agree with Colleen: Iceland

  2. Paul December 24, 2017 at 9:19 pm #

    This could be the start of something great!
    “Sammi’s Mystery Tours”!!! 🔮🌄🌁⛩🕌🏛🌁⛱🛤🛫🛶🛵

  3. Mol December 28, 2017 at 4:02 pm #

    This post is sexy

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