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Selfie from Central Park - New York.

28 Days, 5 States, More Luggage, and Lots of Food. 

Katy Miller

After a big year it was amazing and extremely generous of Firebrand to allow me an extended Holiday. I had the privilege of heading to the States from Dunedin to New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Miami, Everglade National Park, Houston and Austin.  

To avoid boring you all with a slideshow of images that mean very little to you or telling you about all the usual suspects (I basically saw all of them). I have a put together my top 5 Highlights and if you ever get there, the must-dos.

5. Get on television the easy way

Sign up to be an audience member. If you want to see the big guns like Jimmy Fallon and SNL - you need to be willing to plan months in advance and be quick on the keyboard in the very early hours of a kiwi morning. Sadly I did not get to these shows, but I was front row (#notugly) on ‘The Chew’ and 'The View’ Live tapping. For a morning of fun, laughs, interesting conversations with locals and release an untapped source of excessive energy and enthusiasm, do it!

4. Ride the Wonder Wheel at Coney Island 

A 96-year-old 200-ton steel structure is a true New York icon. Enjoy the ice cold air from 45.7-metre up in a rickety Ferris Wheel cage. It may not sound like fun but it was a to do. When hearing of Hurricane sandy back in 2012  I thought that was it, I would never see the iconic coney island in all its glory. But the determination of the Vourderis family and the coney island community have ensured that Coney Island lives on. Just visiting Coney Island in winter is a real treat, you get to avoid the crowds and listen to the closed amusement rides clatter and swing.  It is a desolate and ever so creepy place. But on New years ever they open up some of the rides and provide live music and fireworks - just be prepared, it's COLD. I did not beat the cold and headed back to Manhatten for the Countdown and see the new year in.

3. The Guggenheim

Explore the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, see some of the masters (From Kandinsky, Picasso to van Gogh and Renoir), an architectural spectacle, a robotic arm with a need to clean and personally become one of the 1% to enjoy Maurizio Cattelan: “America”. If visiting art galleries and museums is your thing, come and chat I explored 18 or so (lost count, could be more).

2. DRIVE, Drive anywhere!

Don’t let the fear of driving on the opposite side deter you. Trust me, it's not difficult - unless you are the passenger. If you are a passenger you may find yourself adjusting the mirrors to suit you or using a non-existent brake. Driving on the other hand is simple - everything is already wrong so the brain just gets to work, the roads are big and the traffic is all going in the direction you need to go and we are exposed to enough American television and movies that the brain has a head start - Have your phone charged, playlist set and thank god for GPS. Driving 8 lane interstates at 75mph/120kph can play on the nerves, and perception of distance is all messed up (1.6km for every mile) hitting the open road and seeing life outside of the big cities is well worth it.

1. A town called Katy

Visit Katy, Texas - From a mall with a scary close name Katy Mills Mall that has an indoor carousel and train, outlet stores and don’t forget the free samples in the food court to a quaint rail museum (smaller than my house) and heritage museum in the heart of old town. I’m not saying you have to visit Katy Texas, although you should - but if there is a place out there named after you, it is great fun. I even managed to get a few souvenirs and copies of the local papers.

Check out my Instagram for more holiday snaps.

Ps. If you like fence construction, scaffolding and want to see the world's supply of portapotties get to Washing DC Days before any presidential inauguration ceremony, the Lincoln Memorial and national mall never looked so Good.