1. (South) New Zealand

5 Jan

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In keeping with my resolution, my blog posts about the south island of New Zealand are going to be shorter, more for me. And Rachel. You’re welcome to enjoy them, too, of course. But the stories won’t be explained. I’m going to start. And stop. Whenever and wherever I want. These are our memories.

Including Spa day: aka a cold bathing suit shower.

January 2nd. Christchurch.
Thanks to Lucky’s, Rachel and I became key carrying members of van life.  Well, one key that worked and one key that didn’t.  And no bed sheets, please (which we did come to regret. “We were already gross but this makes us nasty.”).   At the rental company I got to mark up the paper myself (I love it when they let me do that).

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Introducing: The Imposter Bach

 

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We did a number on her.

 

At night, in Arthur’s Pass, we felt our first sandfly bite, finished Step Brothers, and felt cold.  Tomorrow, when we wake up, we’re going to eat our coleslaw.

 

 

January 3rd

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Gezpacho! Instant, cold coffee that is better than Jedd’s.

 

A 6.5 (7) hour hike – where we counted poles – you had me at “the Tongariro of the south”; Avalanche Pass. Where afterwords, we skipped Devils Punchbowl because “that downhill broke my spirit.” – me

 

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Not pictured: The wind.

 

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Kea, a mountain parrot.

 

 

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Glacier water

 

 

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Before our container started to leak.

 

 

January 4th
Sore. 3 cords in the car of different colors and different purposes. ABC. Deleting picture feng shui. A river walk. And New Zealand ice cream (our first, this trip).

 

January 5th
Big, full day. Went to bed satisfied.

“Is it a day or has it been three?” – Rae

 

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We officially became dirt bags when I had actual dirt in my teeth.

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Wind beneath her wings.

 

Lake Tekapo:
Better that the observatory was closed.

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Eye candy

 

And outside of it:

 

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Loopy for lupin

 

Eliminated the Hooker Valley track (for the second time). And saw upwards of 100 bunnies while playing bunny frogger and not seeing any blue penguins. 

 

Things that stayed the same:
Accents
Left side
Roundabouts
Nice people

In New Zealand we trust,
’mi

New Year, Old Zealand (lots of pictures)

1 Jan

Timeline: Very end of December

After a layover in China gone awry (due to the budget flight and midnight being a difficult time of day to figure out), I felt like I’d experienced China. And while I didn’t leave the airport – I feel as though this trip gets an honorable mention.

December 30th:
Once again, Rachel and I landed in New Zealand. Where we, once again rented a car from Scotty’s.

In the morning, when we were still being healthy, we used booty bands and then criss crossed all across the northern island in our Tilda (that’s a car brand) when, exactly when we wanted to, on December 31st, we ended up in Gisborne, at the Rhythm and Vines festival.

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New phone camera making all the difference.

 

After a memorable walk from our campground to the EDM event, we couldn’t help but notice…Christian rock on the main stage. 

 

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She’s not born again.

 

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Here for it.

 

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Rockin’ out.

 

All too soon the sun starting going down and during our final sunset of 2019 celebrations, we met Carla and her husband.

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My last sunset of the decade.

 

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Girls will be girls

 

…and eventually found the wellness tent. Which was my favorite thing because, duh, I like wellness.

They had a life sized chess board inside!

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Meet Nico, a formidable opponent.


Nico is from Chile and goes heavy on the playful, challenging banter with gems such as “I’ll burn you with my coolness.”  
We played for a joyful hour. It was my favorite thing we did all night; a great match but in the end, I did get burned with his coolness; I lost.  The 2019 chess champ was Nico. There, I said it in writing.

 

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The countdown (twice).

 

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Last photo of 2019

1am was bed time. It was home sweet bach for me and Rae ❤️

 

January 1st, 5am: The alarm went off and Rachel and I headed to the beach to see the absolute first sunrise of this decade. It was breath taking:

 

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Is that 20/20 vision, 4 eyes?

magical,
’mi

2019

30 Dec

Friends. Family. Strangers. It’s that time again… a new year.  Not just a new year, a new decade

 

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2 out of the 3 Travi

 

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a dream in the dreamflat


I spent the first 8 months of 2019
 soaking up joy with my best friends (before spending the rest of the year working non-stop).

 

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Colling in love

 

I maintained my resolution to travel less, visiting 12 united states:

 

  1. Pennsylvania (shout out to The National Dog Show)
  2. Wisconsin (twice because COLLEEN HAD BEA)
  3. Washington — Hi Patrick
  4. Oregon
  5. California
  6. New York
  7. Massachuestts (twice)
  8. Kentucky
  9. Minnesota
  10. Nevada (I’m talkin’ Vegas for a movie premier
  11. Ohio

And
   12.  Nashville, Tennessee

 

And (only) 6 countries:

  1. United States
  2. The north island of New Zealand (with a dozen blog posts)
  3. Guatemala…more like Guatabena
  4. Ethiopia  — a dream-thiopia
  5. Djibuti — bonus country

And

    6.  Togo — solo 

 

If you’re curious, here’s the link to a compiled list of (almost) all of the countries I’ve ever been to:
https://sammitravis.com/2019/01/29/all-the-countries-ive-visited/

 

Other notable 2019 moments:
Or, two-thousand-note-teen moments:

  • When the whole gang got together — all of my besties in one place — EVEN KATIE BARBARO who surprised me by coming back from her world tour — to go to the Furries where “It’s lit! What do you want me to do? It’s lit!”, I was gifted a full fursuit and, for the first time ever, I walked in the parade 😻
  • An INCREDIBLE May 
  • 32, celebrating with best friends I adore
  • Harder months like August and September when the people closest to me moved, forever changing my experience in Pittsburgh. 
  • And a magical Christmas where I celebrated the holiday (for what felt like the first time) as an adult.

 

Now? Onto 2020. I’ll be ringing in the new year in New Zealand. Rachel and I will watch the first sunrise of the upcoming decade over the ocean — from our home sweet bach.

 

 

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Raising a cup of hot miso soup to another year.


AdventureSam is currently in Shanghai, China on a layover, so if you’re reading this in North America, she’s basically writing this from the future.

 

Taking off,
‘mi

 

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Final photos of 2019

27 Dec

This blog is captured entirely by pictures.  Enjoy!

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A night out on the town 🙂

 

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These two besties randomly running into each other in New York City.

 

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Homemade, vegan, and even better than they look.

 

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An all day stay in with THE Emily. PLUS, an all day fire. Featuring, wine, frozen corn and the great broiler broccoli incident of 2019.

 

Let it be known, on that day, WE WON PANDEMIC!
I can’t wait until can hang like that again 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

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More hangs and more hugs with my bestie ❤

 

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Mexican lunch with this angel right after purchasing a NEW PHONE!!  Expect my pictures from here on out to be enviable.

 

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EXPLOSION OF LOVE!!!

 

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THE BEST REUNION EVER!!!!!!! COME BACK, PLEASE!

 

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My favorite chair with my favorite boyfriend in a photo taken by my favorite best friend.

 

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A stay at home date.

 

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Where “we” made latkes

 

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Happy Hanukkah dinner!

 

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Minor mishap, quickly remedied by the men in my life.

 

Not pictured: a phone call with Patrick that lasted for hours 🙂

I’m going to end with a montage of me and Bella ❤  We took 3 photos in a row.  Same faces, same smiles, same hearts.

 

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Shel Chanukah,
‘mi

Christmas. ChrIStmass. Chriiistmaaas.

25 Dec

20 photos (with captions) that capture my, you guessed it, Christmas.

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An expert showing me how it’s done.

 

A borrowed car (thanks, John!), and straight to New York City.

 

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The tree of Collin’s choice.

 

 

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A very happy duo.

 

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Pink hot chocolate, white hot friendship, spilling onto the streets of New York

 

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A get-together where it all began ❤

 

 

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Pockets and crumpets, not biscuits.

 

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Dinner with our favorite people.

 

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Sumeau dance party

 

 


 

Meanwhile, back in Pittsburgh…

 

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A party at Laura’s!

 

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“Let’s get elfed up”

 

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With the cutest decorations.

 

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A Christmas party with Ya Jagoff featuring delicious peppermint rimmed glasses & a fun podcast: 
“I think he’s even yelled at parked cars” – Hanna 
“No question.” – Rachel

 

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Christmas morning 🙂

 

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A photogenic pup named Ziva.

 

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Another cookie, another game of Pandemic.

 

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Gingerbread houses of da ‘burgh.  Next year? I wanna enter.

 

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His present: A Samvent Colinder

 

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Her present: A PERFECT ROBE

 

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My new phone background: “Talk about a ‘home screen'” – Bella

 

 

Love,
Dancer, your favorite reindeer

 

 

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On December 25th, we were morning people.

 

 

 

Novemberville

30 Nov

During the month of November, time was of the essence —  FaceTime, gym time, 59-hour work-week time. (“I thought you had that job so you didn’t have to work 60 hours.”)  After all that time spent, I decided it was time for me to take a day (okay, I took a week) off; I planned the PERFECT Tuesday.

 

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Snow day? More like snow yay. 

 

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Photo credit: Andrew Travis

 

My perfect Tuesday included therapy, Christmas shopping for my favorite Catholic, spending less money than I’d brought with me, texting with Helen, and eating the only thing I bought from the store (whipped cream) straight from the can.

 

 

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Scrappy gets a snow day!

 

On my perfect Tuesday, it was freezing cold outside, and there were hardly any people on the roads. It was truly blissful, and I wanted more… so I took the next few days off, too, mixing business with pleasure.

 

Business: Getting my car fixed!
Pleasure: Getting my car fixed ❤ , being grateful for my car (which, at the moment, no longer sounds like a race car), heated seats, and the check engine light switching OFF.

 

Business: Getting my preventative Hep A and B shots.
Pleasure: Getting my preventative Hep A and B shots, which last FOR A LIFETIME.

 

Business: Getting food from a restaurant.
Pleasure: Being reminded not to dim my sparkle if I’m unhappy with food at a restaurant.

 

Business: New shoes.
Pleasure:  Getting new (matching) shoes from mom!

 

Business: Scheduling
Pleasure: The countdown officially begins! 287 days until “Move in Bae”.

 

Business: House hunting.
Pleasure: The best day with my mom.

 

Business: Appointments in general
Pleasure: An appointment to have my nails repainted gold 💁

 

On Friday, I got to hang out with Emily at the Colombian spot where we (yet again) forgot to take a picture.  We also went to The Vault.  Laura was there for that hang too 🙂  I got to hear about their trip to Boston…and reap some of the benefits.  We scurried back to Emily’s because her heater was to get fixed and I finally got to meet Brian and I didn’t smile once.  “No we were… yeah, you know what.  We were at a party.”

I also got to have a generous, hilarious dinner with Nina!

 

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My favorite Niña

 

AND I got to hang out with Brian and Andrew (not pictured, per usual, but their dog is).

 

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Our pick for Best in Show.

 

At the end of November, I saw the talented Collin Chamberlin perform his SOLD OUT show at the Arcade Comedy Headliner series.  But before that…my first time to Nashville! During the day I got to hangout with my funny boyfriend, eat, explore, and relax.  Then, at night, watch hilarious comedy.  The work I had been putting in at the club for weeks before this made Nashville really feel like a vacation.

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It was a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.

 

I arrived at 7am and took a 6-hour nap. When I awoke I showered and learned to use 2 towels — thanks Baymont Hotel!

That evening, Col and I ate BBQ at Martin’s. I got a half rack of ribs, which, for the record, was way too many.  At Martin’s, 3 would have been just right.  And it was only because of Griffen (door) that I didn’t order 12. Thank goodness for him.

Sure, we were completely full of BBQ, but I’d already ordered pecan pie for dessert.  We sat, chilled, and chatted for 2 hours — Martin’s one of my favorite things we did all weekend.

 

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It’s showtime!

After dinner on Friday night, Col had two shows (stupendous), and it was on our night-time stroll that we discovered Cafe Intermezzo, an old European-style joint with an amazing menu (we ordered a liquid dessert).  The resturant was an oasis of quiet.  They had a menu that was incredibly enjoyable to read, the funnest drinks, a helpful staff made up of people (like Mike) who liked their job, great lighting, home-made schlag (whipped cream), and Vivaldi Symphony no. 7 playing in the background. 

 

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A nightly ritual.

 

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‘Tinis for two

 

The next day, we had cold ramen, which was upsetting.  “What’s the point of having a menu?”  And even though our 3rd Avenue lunch wasn’t good, we were accidentally / always trying to stay a block away from our favorite spot (“Was that Bakersfield again?”).

We met some nice people, including an Ethiopian Uber driver who brought back my lost hat. We also went for a long walk – through a tailgate – and discovered a crystal shop before stopping for a glass of wine at a cool bar (per Rachel’s recommendation) followed by the Tom Hanks / Mr. Rogers smash hit.

 

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Life is always rocky when you’re a gem.

 

At our (by the end of the weekend, I felt like it was ours) last show, we got to see Connor, Diego, and almost Chance, one last time before heading to the airport deceivingly early. You (yes, you, whoever is reading this very sentence) should have seen the glee on Collin’s face when they announced, at Laguardia, they were departing 10minutes early. 

Personally prefering to cut it close,
‘mi

Giving Thanks

28 Nov

Thanksgiving this year was hosted by the gracious and lovely Cousin Richard and Cousin Laurel.

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Dynamic duo ❤

 

Col joined me for the start of the holiday; literally speaking, we drove to FL in separate cars.  Once there, we relaxed by the fire, had a rowdy game of Photosynthesis (let it be known that I WON), and participated in yoga before my boyfriend headed back to Pittsburgh to be with his own, wonderful family.

 

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Four wheel romance

 

My parents and I hit the road to Massachusetts, passed by a rainbow, and had a cameo stop at Subway to eat.  For the Travi, it was going to be a 7-hour drive (spoiler alert, it took us 9).

When we arrived, the gang was all there!: Wendy, Paul, Richard, Laurel, Zach, Nate, and Holly.  The first night, Zach and I stayed up late to chat ❤

Our entire visit was filled with activities. I’m talkin’ charades, Pandemic (the game, not an actual one), guitar-playing, a puzzle, a SECOND puzzle, Scrabble, a tractor ride…

 

 

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Getting pulled by a tractor is their preferred method of travel.

 

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A cooperative game that we lost.  But we all lost together, and isn’t that really what it’s all about?

 

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Puzzling

 

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Scrabble featuring an appearance by Collin on FaceTime

 

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You’ll always be dad to the bone.

 

The laughs and love were palpable, and our hosts were incredibly generous and thoughtful, especially when it came to the delicious meal and cleanup! Here’s the spread:

 

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Feast mode activated.

 

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No matter how much I eat, there’s always room for dessert.

 

Of course, there was MORE food throughout the weekend, but I was too busy eating to take pics: the boneless chicken extravaganza, NYC bagels for breakfast, and a Thai dinner on black Friday.  

 

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Healthy dessert spread. Those grapes were E.VER.Y.THING.

 

On Thanksgiving, I gathered the fam around the TV so we could watch — not football — but the National Dog Show where Col and I made our small screen debut.

 

 

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3rd row intel:  BET ON THE BULLDOG

 

Thanksgiving was FILLING in so many ways — and you know I mean food, but also… love, laughter, and togetherness. And unlike the dinner and dessert, you can never have enough of that. (Ok, maybe this is not a good metaphor).

 

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❤ Thankful ❤

 

I would walk 500 miles and would walk 500 more.

 

Love you all,
‘mi