#NKinNA16: Part 6 – The Credits

Six weeks seems like a long time, especially for a holiday.

But when you’re travelling with the best travel partner and the most amazing group of friends, then that time will just fly by, and soon you’ll be sitting back in your home, typing furiously away at your laptop keyboard about your experiences because you refuse to let go of what once was.

What I would like to do now is write about all the people who made this trip incredible. Without you, I wouldn’t be writing this #NKinNA16 travel blog, because my experience would have been horrible and I would have nothing to write home about.


The obvious starter for my round of shout outs is Kate: for six weeks, I got to wake up to you every morning, travel the great continent of North America with you, eat a rotation of cheese pizza and portabello sandwiches with you, and overall have the greatest time on the other side of the world with you. You are truly an incredible person, an amazing friend, and the best travelling partner I could have ever asked for. Thank you for snuggling me after our nights out with the group so we could talk about our feelings. Thank you for bringing me meatless Big Mac meals even when I didn’t expect it. Thank you for “taking walks” at the last minute. And thank you for being as selfless as one can be. This has been the adventure of a lifetime, and I can’t wait to take more with you.

To my family ElleNate and Aidan: thank you for taking Kate and I around Salt Lake City and being the best hosts ever. I can’t wait to see you guys again, when all three of you eventually move (back) to Australia. I’m not giving you a choice.

To my friends on the other side of the world who took the time out to see me, Emma and Nick: I love you both. Nashville was great because I got to see you, Emma, and reminisce on how totally not innocent we both were. Nick, thank you for bending over backwards to accommodate me in Cleveland, but next time, we have to spoon.


To my original Mean Girls, Angela and Eliza: we clicked from day one, and judging by how much I miss you, it’s clear to see why. You girls were the best, plain and simple. As a Regina, I couldn’t have asked for a better Gretchen and Karen. And to your respective room buddies Russell and Simon, it was a darn pleasure getting to know y’all, and I can’t wait to catch up with all four of you some time in the near future. Perhaps Kate and I will join you for another round at Cheesecake Factory somewhere? #squadgoals (Somehow, somewhere, I will get a recording of you in Kanab, Russell, and I will hold it over your head forever)

Mike and James: I got along with the both of you very quickly, and always felt at ease when surrounded by one or both of you. If you’re reading this on your current journeys, don’t have too much fun without me. I’ll get jealous. Also, I didn’t get to sing Touch-a Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me to you, so I guess that means I’ll have to see you when you get home.

To my bitches colloquially referred to as the “Adelaide Girls”, Courtney, Ashley and Georgia: keep Ashley in check. We all know how slutty rowdy she can get. I love you girls, and am glad I got to know you during the short time we had with each other. When I come to visit Kate, y’all better get Radelaide prepare for #CycloneNikki. Also just a sidenote to Ashley: shake shake shake shake shake.


My two protectors on tour, Big Red and Micco: I could get away with 90% of the stuff I did on tour because I knew y’all were there to back me up if I needed it. Big Red, I loved my cuddles from you, and I think you’re a spectacular person that deserves the world. I just hate your grubby NRL team. I also miss saying “Big Red! Where are you? Aren’t you meant to carry me everywhere?”


My rowdy Chicago taxi ride home crew Ally and Lauren: I miss y’all so much, and along with the boys from Melbourne and Eliza, missed you two the most from North by North East. Ally, we were destined to get along; after all, we are the Bottle Blonde Bitches together. Thank you for enduring the rape-by-water jet boat ride with me, and for being a vulgar nympho with me. Lauren, I can’t send you my sneaky pictures anymore for obvious reasons, but somehow I will keep our tradition alive.


To both of my lovers on tour, Jacob and Esther: I love you both. Jacob, you are sensational in every sense of the word because you are not afraid to be true to yourself. You have this infectious personality that affects everyone around you, and people can’t help but want to be in your general vicinity. Esther, you are by far one of the most beautiful souls I have met. Your insides are as beautiful as your outsides (which is a lot). Can’t wait to see you somewhere in this small world of ours. Also, my mum is excited to meet her new daughter-in-law.


My boys Brandon, Lochie and Rohan: catch you guys on the flipside. I loved meeting all three of you, and having the privilege of seeing you again after you got off tour. Lochie, you are one of the true gems of the world, and I will always love you for who you are. Rohan, I don’t know if you remember, but Kate entrusted a drunken Nikki to you one night in Boston, and you got me home safe and sound. I will never forget that. Brandon, McGregor is better than Diaz. Deal with it.


My Grand Canadian girls Samantha, Jessica Lee and Ellie: all three of you are just great. There’s nothing more I can add to that. I will miss our bitchy messages to each other, Sam, but I think we’ll find a way to keep it going. Ellie, I will see your fine ass around. There’s no way a bond like ours can be broken by time.


My breakfast buddies Ashleigh and Ashley: I apologise for not video chatting you when I had breakfast without you guys so I could keep our tradition alive, but lack of data got in the way. Alternatively, it was too awkward to do it in front of a bunch of old people. When I slather strawberry-flavoured cream cheese on my toasted bagel, I will think about our times together and smile.

To my Kiwi boys Johnny and Hadleigh: kia kaha. It was pre-determined that I would love you guys, and y’all didn’t let me down. Hadleigh – thank you for being mine and Sasha’s protector in the now infamous haunted house experience, and for being an all-around top bloke. Johnny – you stay true to yourself, because you’re a rare light in this dark world of ours.

My Contiki Awards Committee 
JJ, Amber and Amy: I have no worries about you girls, because I know we’ll stay close friends in the future. I’m so glad I had the chance to get close with all three of you, and am happy about the experiences we shared together: from our near-death experience at Pie for the People, to mine and Amber’s “proposition” in Chicago. We truly lived Contiki with #noregrets.


To the backbone of the tour Bree and Sasha: if you two weren’t on tour, I can guarantee it wouldn’t have been as near as fun as it was with you. Both of you clicked so naturally, and it was easy to see why; you both radiated this positive euphoric energy that was hard to miss. I’ll miss our intense grinding sessions on the DF, our late night hair dyeing sessions (Bree), and making seemingly-innocent-but-really-ditzy comments to the disappointment of others (Sasha).

469To the other members of the Thunder from Down Under crew Veegz and Tarni: it was such a delight having the opportunity to meet you and get to know the both of you. Veegz, stay as beautifully blunt as ever, and keep up your outspoken crusade against animal cruelty. Tarni, you’re just going to have to move to the east coast to catch up with those of us over here. It has to be done.


To my handsome boys – whom I am now dubbing “The Three Musketeers – LukeMax and Jacko: getting to spend 14 of the 26 days with you boys was a pleasure. Luke, you’re a genuinely beautiful soul, and your girlfriend is lucky to have someone like you. Also, I need to mention the elephant in the room, which is your big, round, perky butt. Max AKA ‘Arry, probably one of the best people I’ve ever met. You’re an amazing guy, and I want to protect you from the world forever so you will never lose that smile of yours. Jacko, while we may have started off rocky (because you’re an asshole, but also because I’m a stubborn bitch), we ended up okay. I mean, we almost got married, so that’s saying something? As you may know, I’m a needy fiancee, so you’re gonna have to deal with that for the rest of your life. Soznotsoz.

To my true blue Aussie blokes Ben and Jeremy: we’re proof that polar opposites can still get along. I almost had nothing in common with the both of you, but grew to truly love you for who you were. Can’t wait to attend your 21st Jeremy, so you can introduce your father to the enigma that is Nikki.

Bec, Jess and Becky: thank you to the former two for teaching me how to play the wheel spinning game at Harrah’s. Bec, thank you for sharing your “experiences” with me so I could (happily) live vicariously through you. And Becky, you beautiful Geordie soul, thank you for giving me the most intense massage of my life, and for being a pure radgie like. Proper mint like you are.

The dynamic duo of Hayley and Mish: you girls were sent from the heavens to join this tour, and I’m glad I met the both of you. Hayley, thank you for helping me through my first experience playing blackjack at a table. Mish, thank you for dancing with me and promptly kissing me afterwards. It was great.

To my awesome Contiki leaders Phil and Ray: thank you for giving me the best Grand Northern experience I could have ever asked for, and for letting me be me. Even if Phil refused to play Clueless for me, I wouldn’t have changed anything about my tour. Plus, I will never forget to bring ma trash.

And to my wonderful host and friend in LA Serena and your beautiful mother Beatrice: thank you for having Kate and I on our Contiki detox. You guys were the best and more than accommodating, and I’m glad that after meeting you last year, we were able to keep our friendship alive.

And to everyone else on tour who contributed to this awesome experience, simply thank you.


Until my next adventure…

– by The Black Widow

#NKinNA16: Part 4 – National Park Mayhem

Previously on #NKinNA16…

I’m just kidding. You love me. You know what we’re up to.

So we left Keystone and Mount Rushmore behind, and we were on our way to Cody, Wyoming, which was our stop near Yellowstone National Park (not to be confused with Jellystone Park). On the way to Cody, we had a scenic tour through Bighorn National Forest, and we had a cute stop by a river. “Oh it’s just a short hike down,” they said, “you’ll enjoy it”, they said.

They lied. The hike down was terrible. The hike up was worse. No amount of beautiful creek streaming goodness was worth that hike. I will say no more on the matter.


We reached our hotel in Cody, aptly named the Buffalo Bill Antler Inn. This hotel was quite charming in the fact that it had actual keys for the rooms. Like, the silver edgy key. What even.

Our first night had an included dinner of sorts, in that we were given $15 to spend on dinner, and given that most dinner options were more than $15, I didn’t understand. But yolo. The best part about this dinner place was that they had this kind of butcher’s paper for a tablecloth and encouraged us to graffiti it with crayons. My table, being the old children that we were, requested another tablecloth because we had filled ours quickly. Please enjoy my Picasso masterpiece below.


Having been drained all day from hiking down and up that stupid hill, Angela and I called it a night while everyone else went out. Apparently we didn’t even miss a good night, so whatevs.

We were told to dress warm for Yellowstone National Park – and to also wear hiking appropriate clothing – neither of which I packed. So, I went to Yellowstone National Park in bloody cold weather dressed like this…


We spent all day at Yellowstone – ALL day – and did not see a bloody bear. My sister and I are obsessed with bears and I was dying to see one, but it wasn’t meant to be. I mean, not like I was going to shoot it with a sleeping dart, bring it back to Australia with me, and adopt it as my own child…

If you’re a hiker, I’m sure you’ll enjoy Yellowstone National Park. Alas, I’m not a hiker, and I prefer the physical exercise of shopping, so I can’t honestly say I particularly enjoyed it. Also, the smell of fucking rotten egg sandwich sulphur that seemed to be on every possible hike you could do in Yellowstone National Park didn’t help either. I did manage to snap this really cute picture of me by the canyon though.


The second night in Cody was also quite uneventful. We had dinner at a cute Italian restaurant that had a whopping size cheese pizza that even I, the infamous cheese pizza eating machine, could not finish; then we trotted on over to the laundromat to do our washing. Full of excitement, right?

Bags were to the coach at 7:45am as per usual and we were off to our next stop: Jackson (Hole), Wyoming. On the way to Jackson, we were blessed with probably the most beautiful view I have ever seen. The Teton Mountains (which is some other language for titties. There’s your fact for the day) provided us with postcard that-can’t-be-real views, and I snapped this really cute picture of myself in front of it.


Jackson was probably one of my favourite stops due to the optional here (that pretty much everyone did): the Teton Trail Ride and Cookout. Basically, we were going on a horseback trail ride and getting fed “typical cookout” food. I had never ridden a horse before, so I was instructed not to wear the above outfit to sit on a horse, and it was recommended that I wear long pants. All my long pants were either A) dirty and needing to be washed or B) MIA, so I rode a horse in white jeans. And a Harley Quinn top.


This was my favourite optional by far. My horse – his name was Kopenhagen and he was beautiful and he loved me – took me through this beautiful scenic trail (which got a bit narrow at times but yolo), and by the time Kopenhagen and I had to be separated, I began crying. #Kopenhagenikki 5eva.

The cookout dinner afterwards did the job, and we were also given a free beer for our troubles. Wait… scratch that… Ben was given my free beer for our troubles. After our cookout dinner, we were taken back to the ranch/farm/whatever you call it, and we were taught how to play some “traditional farm games”, like throwing an axe into a piece of wood, and properly using a lasso to rope up a fake bull made out of some metal. Because I’m iconic af, I managed to get the wrong end of the axe into the wood… oops.


That night, my favourite underagers weren’t allowed into the bar, so I went with them back to the hotel and we opted to watch Sully at the movie theater across the road. Because I love Tom Hanks. Purse so heavy, gettin’ Oprah dollars.

The following day, we were off to Park City, Utah, which also included the obligatory “This is Mormon state, lemme tell you about dem Mormons” speech. We arrived to Park City in the evo (looks @ Genevieve Schwartz) with free time on our hands, so of course being the greatest f’in Grand Northern Contiki group ever, we opted to have a pool party – and we definitely did not have room parties along the way either. Nods head.

If you’re looking to do a Grand Northern, let me just mention that the hotel in Park City – should it not be changed between now and whenever you do it – is probably one of the nicer hotels on the tour. Enjoy it while you can.

Also, I had dinner at Denny’s. I fucking stan Denny’s so much.

After a quick but ovely stop at Park City, we were on our way to Kanab, Utah, which was the stop that was central to a couple of the national parks we would visit. Kanab, which is a very small town that didn’t have neither a club nor a bar, would actually be one of the most eventful stops of the trip… but more on that later.

On the way to Park City, we stopped by Bryce Canyon National Park. I’m sure it was beautiful. By that, I mean I didn’t actually see the canyon or the view of the canyon, because it was so damn foggy there that I could barely see what was in front of me.



I was also lowkey worried that someone would fall down the canyon, survive the fall, resort to cannibalism, turn into a wendigo, and then I would be dragged by said wendigo while standing outside in my underwear yelling at my friends. If you didn’t understand any of that, I suggest you go out and play Until Dawn on PlayStation 4…

Oh. And look at this cute picture of me at Bryce Canyon.


Our included dinner in Kanab was a cute kind of buffet style dinner, which didn’t offer much for me the vegetarian or Veegz the vegan. So they compensated for our loss with a single veggie pattie… not on a burger or anything, just a single veggie pattie. I appreciate the sentiment, I really do.

With absolutely nothing to do in Kanab at night time, the crew and I had some super ultra mega room parties – I mean, no we didn’t – and got to bond a bit more with the other Contikians on our trip. Over alcohol. Lots of it.


The next day, we were off to the Grand Canyon! Now, I won’t mention how, on the coach, I was irritated to the point of mental breakdown because a certain someone wouldn’t shut up and sounded like a broken damn record… but the short ride to the Canyon was tainted.

Having been to the south rim before, I kind of knew what I was in for, but I was still blown away by the beautiful views that nature had created here. Like, check out this beautiful view I had of the Canyon simply sitting on a deck chair.


A few of us – Kate, Russell, Ange, Bree, Sasha, Jacko, Big Red and I – went exploring along the rim of the Canyon and took some awesome pictures along the way. Some of them decided to risk their damn lives for a few likes on Insty (looks @ Russell, Sasha and Jacko) but all-in-all, it was probably one of my favourite moments of the entire tour.


We were treated with a pretty darn good lunch at the Canyon restaurant or whatever you want to call it, and soon we were back on the road back to Kanab.

Also, I just wanna chuck this cute family selfie in here because it’s amazing.


This following scene is probably one of my most favourite moments of the entire tour. Philip in all of his handsome Bostonian glory planned a picnic slash sports day fun bonanza for us in a really beautiful park in Kanab, and Hayley and Mish decided to make it a dress-up picnic slash sports day fun bonanza. While most of us weren’t prepared for costuming, I pulled out my regular every day wardrobe and dressed up as Nikki Bella. You’re welcome.


The evening had lots of food, drinks, laughter and fun, with the high point being a game of American football pitting Team Philip against Team Ray Ray Nikki. Under the wise tutelage of Ray Ray me, my team took the victory, undoubtedly because of my stellar defence skills. Just ask Hayden.


After probably the most fun involving me playing sport ever, we went back to the hotel. Now this is where things got messy. How did they get messy, you ask? With an old fashioned room party intimate nightly gathering, of course.


Drinks were flowing, beats were playing, bodies were swaying… and then chaos. Okay, so I can’t actually tell you what happened, but just picture me rolling around on the floor, screaming “things” while poor Kienan is trying to calm me down on the phone, and JJ is there trying to explain to Kienan why I am chucking a corridor tantrum in Kanab. And that’s not even the bulk of it.

Rule number one of this tour: we do not speak of Kanab.

Saved by the bell. This is where this portion of the travel blog ends. We have two more cities to go on this wonderful journey of mine, but being two of the biggest and most talked about US cities ever, you’ll understand why two cities needs its own post.

Stay tuned for the story of how one of the dancers from Thunder from Down Under thought it’d be okay to violently spank me in front of a crowd of horny ladies. It was definitely not okay.

– by The Black Widow

#NKinNA16: Part 2 – Cray Cray in Canada

And so it continued…

My New York City journey had ended, and so my Contiki adventure had begun. Kate and I met the people we would be travelling with for the next however-many days, including our tour manager Phil, and our coach commandeer-er Ray AKA Ray Ray. Our first stop from New York City was Boston, Massachusetts, where Phil was conveniently from.

With a few stops along the way for breaks, one of these included a quick visit to Yale University in New Haven, Conneticut. I had been instructed from my sister to find her a husband from an Ivy League school, so with my first chance in front of me, I probably picked the worst candidate for her who stopped for a quick chinny and then ran off to class. Soz Stace.


We finally reached Boston – after doing Awkward Coach Speed Dating – in the late arvo, so I did what anyone else would do with a few spare hours on their hands… I took a bloody nap. Dinner that night was at a place called Dick’s Last Resort, and as most Americans or others who know about this place, you’re in for an experience.

Dinner was shit. Service was terrible. That’s all I’m going to say about it.

Our first night to bond with our fellow Contikians was at a karaoke bar in downtown Boston. Now, you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t remember the name because I was sippin’ the skank happy juice, but it was a night one would never forget. After asking everyone on Awkward Coach Speed Dating whether or not they would do karaoke, I put my hand up to be the first from Contiki to participate in karaoke. Not knowing how to hold a tune even if it introduced itself to me, shook my hand, and then slapped me in the face, I chose to rap one of the few songs I know all the words to… Anaconda by Nicki Minaj.


Nikki rapping Nicki, right?

I had twerked so hard in the interludes of my karaoke performance that by belt snapped in half. Yes. You read that right.

As this was the first night for bonding, I made some very good friends very early on. Any doubts I had about my group were quickly flattened, and I grew to like this crew already.

On our second day in Boston, we were given the opportunity to tour Harvard University, led by our friendly and somewhat charming tour guide Cormack. Again, I couldn’t find a suitable suitor for my sister, so I apologise. The history behind Harvard University is quite interesting, and I would recommend a tour of this historic educational facility to anyone… although I must warn you: no filming is allowed on the campus of Harvard, so Legally Blonde wasn’t actually filmed there…


After our Harvard tour, Kate and I wandered around the city of Boston by ourselves, including a stop by the original Wahlburgers. I could safely say that the best burger I have ever had was courtesy of Wahlburgers, and not just because Marky Mark’s beautiful face is staring down at you from a painting.


A mediocre second night out in Boston soon followed, where most of us were back at the hotel and in bed by 1am. Most of the fun to be had was on the first night, so the second night had no chance.

Bags to the coach at 7:45am and soon my newfound friends and I were crossing the country borders up north and entering Canada. Our first official stop? Quebec City, Quebec. It would soon be established that as far as nightlife partying would go, it was a one-on-one-off situation, meaning our first night in Quebec City was going to be great.

After having a lovely included dinner in downtown Quebec City – and a quick visit to a relatively empty bar that had cheap af drinks – we went to one of the coolest night clubs I had ever seen on any continent. The best part about it? I was allowed to wear black denim short shorts, a Nikki Bella t-shirt, and black hi-tops. I am all for clubs with lax dress codes. Also I got to use my six years of French study in high school.


The following day, we had an included bus-and-walking tour of Quebec City. I had no expectations of what Quebec City was going to be and what it would look like, so I can say I was blown away when I was shown how beautiful this city was. While it may not have been my most favourite stop on tour, it was definitely one of my favourite cities on tour as far as scenery goes. It’s a charming old city with history and heritage, and I definitely recommend it to those who are both into and not into partying.


As this would be the off night, the bulk of us stayed at the hotel while some went to go watch a free circus in town. While it may have been an off night, the drinks were still flowing, and soon one thing led to another, and I was getting my hair dyed blond in Bree’s Hair Salon. And so did Micko… except he chose to dye the front and back parts of his hair and not the entire thing.


After an alcohol-fuelled hotel corridor slash room slash pool party, bags were at the coach the following morning so we could head to our next Canadian destination: Montreal, Quebec. And again, before you get your hopes up… no, I did not see neither Maryse nor Kevin Owens there.

The views here were beautiful, and we went up to the most perfect lookout of this French speaking city. Our first night out in Montreal actually played host to one of my favourite bars called the Winston Churchill Bar, which had cheap af drinks, and a ton of friendly locals in the area. We also crossed paths with another Contiki tour here, and it was great to hear some more Aussie accents.

Oh, and innocent not-so-innocent Ashley and I were dragged to a strip club. It was an experience I’m glad I had, but I would be happy not to see another naked woman saying “shake shake shake shake shake” as her breasts wobbled in my face ever again.


The following day, we were free to do whatever we wanted in Montreal, which for me was a trip to the ice skating rink in town. When in Canada, right? Well, no one told me that the ice skates in Montreal were a tad different to the ones I was used to at ye olde Norwest Ice Skating Rink, and my ankles and shins ended up bruised and scratched after my efforts on the rink. Our night was capped off with a big group visit to the laser tag joint in Montreal, and our journey from Maryseville was finished.


Our final Canadian stop – and the last city we would be in with our Contiki Grand Canadian friends – was Toronto, Ontario. Now, not to mislead you or anything, but where we stayed in the heart of Toronto city was unfortunately no where near Trish Stratus’ Stratusphere yoga studio. Epic sadface.

After our included dinner at the Pickle Barrel, the squad and I headed off to a bar called the Madison Avenue Pub. This pub was quite crowded for a rather quiet night, and it was awfully hot and humid in there, so I didn’t particularly enjoy my night there. I did participate in a Bud Light Fan Draft competition (and I am still waiting for my prize for clearly winning), but after that, I headed on home for an early night.


The following day, Kate and I were lined up to have a Steamwhistle Brewery tour, which required us to be at the brewery at 11am, but then we accidentally slept in… so no brewery tour for us. We decided to walk around Toronto town by ourselves and see what this city had to offer besides Trish Stratus. And maple syrup.

Being the night off – and everyone else had gone to a Blue Jays vs Red Sox game – I stayed in the room and watched the most confusing movie ever called Triangle. Still to this day, I don’t understand what happened in that movie, but yolo.

The following day, we got to visit one of the world’s most beautiful treasures… which has been unfortunately tainted by the man. Niagara Falls baybay! In theory, it sounds weird that people will flock to see a waterfall… but then I saw Niagara Falls, and I understood why people were so captivated by it. It was a sight to behold… and what better way to celebrate it by twerking in front of the falls on a boat. Or taking peace selfies in front of it.

166What’s so hideous about Niagara Falls though, is the man-made “come drop all your money at our feet” gift shops, arcades, bars, haunted houses, and everything else under the sun, area that’s literally across the road from the falls. Speaking of haunted houses, though… let’s talk about that time Hadleigh, Sasha and I went into a haunted house for the lolz and long story short, my awkward knee-jerk reactions to being scared resulted in me kicking the actor in there. Like foot-hitting-his-midsection kick. Oops.

After our adventure around the Falls, we returned back to our hotel where we got changed for our included dinner at Spring Rolls, which featured one of the most delicious vegetarian pad Thai’s I’ve ever had. Since it was our last night with our Grand Canadian friends, the crew went out to the bar across the road.


So this is where I should mention that I was absolutely blotto this night, and don’t remember much from this. I remember snippets of the night, including falling down the stairs at the bar, attempting to sleep in front of an elevator, and professing my love to Jacob… or Esther. Either one.

This was the night, though, that everyone really felt the love. With the Grand Canadian friends leaving, we all took the time to bond and appreciate each other, and with a huge chunk of our group leaving to go to the other side of Canada, there would be a huge void in the group without them.


This would end the portion of mine and Kate’s holiday entitled “Cray Cray in Canada”, as we would venture back into the land of free soda refills after this. Stay tuned for more of my #NKinNA16 blog, where I will eventually get to the story of how I threw up outside a bar and screamed at everyone to stop looking at me… all at the same time.

– by The Black Widow

#NKinNA16: Part 1 – Just Us Two

You knew another holiday post was coming… I couldn’t be contained to one continent.

Ever since my last trip to the US of A, I have been itching to get back onto those heinous, long plane trips to explore something different. Meeting her on my last trip on Contiki, Kate and I began planning our next holiday, having been bitten by the travel bug badly. One would think that after exploring the southern half of USA that we would head off to do something different, like Europe or South America. But as we looked into our European options, something told me that I had to do the rest of the USA that I didn’t touch with my previous trip.

A few discussions later, and Kate and I had decided that it was time for us to explore the northern half of USA. Squeezing in small visits to Salt Lake City (solely to visit my grandad and other family members) and Nashville (because it’s my damn favourite city in the world), Kate and I decided to do Contiki’s Grand Northern tour – the opposite of the Grand Southern that we did last year.


What began as a discussion in early January of this year recently turned into reality, and on August 26, 2016, Kate and I flew out of Sydney and touched down in Los Angeles to begin our trip – #NKinNA16 (Nikki and Kate in North America).

On our plane trip, we were sat next to a handsome man returning home from an Australian trip to go back to work as a physical education teacher. We were quick to befriend the friendly chap, and this would set the tone for the next six weeks.

Our first stop in USA was Salt Lake City, Utah, which would serve as our jetlag stop after getting absolutely no sleep whatsoever on the plane. As mentioned in my travel posts from last year, I have family here which is the only reason why I would come back here because it’s the most boring city in the world, so it was nice to be back. We spent our first night napping, eating, and sleeping some more, all the while fighting the crippling jet lag that had hit us.


On our second day, we were graciously shown around by my cousins Aidan and Elle, and her husband Nate. Our first stop of interest? Cheesecake Factory, of course. And while Salt Lake doesn’t have much to offer in the form of sightseeing attractions (unless you consider Temple Square a sight…), it does have some great shopping. However, this was our first stop, and I wasn’t about to blow all my money on my first city.


After exploring this boring city – and catching some pretty damn cool Pokemon along the way – Kate and I bid farewell to my cousins and the next day, caught up with my uncle, aunt, grandad and his wife. As my sole surviving grandparent, I have a special bond with him, and was happy to sit there and listen to all of the stories in his life. With a lunch-time flight, we left Salt Lake and moved onto our next stop – Nashville, Tennessee.

This city is my favourite city in the world, and one of the reasons behind this would be Two Bit, a bar that encourages you to play free-to-play video games while you eat, drink, and be otherwise social with the people there. With friendly staff, good food, and Nintendo 64 on tap, this is probably my most favourite bar in the world, or at least in North America.


A quick visit to the Johnny Cash Museum and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, it was night time, and I had the privilege of catching up with a long time friend Emma, whom I hadn’t seen in almost eight years. Isn’t it amazing how small the world is, and how great long-lasting friendships are? I can’t expand on how great both of the aforementioned museums are. It doesn’t matter how many times I visit the Johnny Cash Museum, I will cry every time. And I thoroughly enjoyed the new Blake Shelton exhibition at the Hall of Fame and Museum.


The following day – after another mournful visit to Two Bit – we flew to our last destination as a duo before starting our Contiki tour… the infamous New York City, New York. Now, I had never been to NYC before, so this was my first time. As per usual, I was expecting great things from this city since everyone goes on about how bloody fantastic it is.

And boy it was.


With three nights and two days in NYC, we had a lot of touristy stuff to accomplish. The first on everyone’s NYC list should obviously be Central Park, so with the help of a very informative hotel receptionist, we boarded a hop-on-hop-off and saw what NYC had to offer. After visiting a couple of museums and quite literally chucking a spreadie in front of someone’s tomb, Kate and I explored Central Park the only way one should: via horse carriage.


The horse’s name was Snow White and she was a friendly girl, albeit a bit scary when her big chompers were out to play. The carriage rider showed us all the celebrity hot spots around Central Park, and where certain films were filmed throughout the park, and we sat in this carriage for a full 50 minutes looking around this beautiful landmark.

Our Central Park visit was followed by the most important New York City attraction of all: visiting the Tiffany’s. So many floors of diamonds and jewelery and more diamonds and more silvery goodness. Urrrrrgh. With a quick visit to the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center, our first day in NYC was done.


Next up: Times Square. In my sweet and humble opinion, Times Square is its own world in a world. Words cannot explain just how fascinating Times Square is, so I hope this expertly taken panoramic shot can do the trick.


Another personal check off on my bucket list was to recreate the Sleepless in Seattle scene at the top of the Empire State Building, but when I got to the top, it looked a lot more different than I had expected… so I had no idea what I was doing. At least I go to stand at the same place as the legend himself Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan the uber babe.


After some much needed sustenance, a random visit to the Museum of Sex ensued. Yes. You read that right. There is an actual thing called a Museum of Sex. I don’t really have to explain what was in the Museum of Sex, but I should say that if you’re expecting a watered-down version of a sex museum, then you would be wrong. The first thing you walk into is an old-school style painting of vaginal penetration. Yep.

It’s tradition that the day before your Contiki tour starts, you meet the night before for a “Kickstart” meeting. Basically the tour manager just gives you the 411 of what you’re doing, gets you to sign these emergency forms, and Bobsurbloodyuncle. Finishing our time in NYC off at the kickstart meeting, Kate and I bid farewell to the beautiful city of NYC with some mediocre af Thai food and bed.

This was just the beginning of my adventures, so stay tuned for more #NKinNA16 travel spam, as Nikki and Kate take North America.

– by The Black Widow