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A Weekend in NYC
Impressions of the city, highlights from the trip, and lessons learned along the way
In May, we spent a weekend in New York City and it was AMAZING.
Travelling is beautiful and difficult, composed of so many layers that all melt into each other.
The technical, factual layer- We did this and that and ate here.
The emotional level- Seeing this made me feel that.
And then there all the factors at play that affect how you process both the technical and emotional layers- like your energy level, the clothes you’re wearing, how thirsty you are, etc.
I’m tempted to try to address every single possible nuance from our trip because I love to analyze how all the pieces fit together, but that would just be too much. (Ain’t nobody here who wants to hear about what a good thing it was for me to wake up at least an hour before leaving our AirBNB each morning so that I had time to 1) drink my first two cups of water of the day and 2) properly use the bathroom before we left for the day. Ahem. Let’s just say that I have a hard time drinking enough water while traveling, and that results in my body getting a little… confused. AHEM. Why am I still talking about this?)
Although we’re not going to get into all the details, I am going to share my impressions of NYC, highlights from our trip, and lessons that I learned along the way.
Impressions of the City
So much has been written about New York City. Is there anything more to be added to the conversation? Hardly.
A city, tall and diverse. Beautiful, ugly, smelly, uncomfortable, and then beautiful again. A put-you-in-your-place kind of city, while it simultaneously whispers “You can do anything! Yes, you!” to the secret soul within you.
The question that I often feel in my soul when I’m visiting a new place is “Could I live here?” In the first twenty-four hours of our trip, I was surprised by how many times I felt like I would not want to live in NYC. Not only did I not want to live there, I was pretty sure that the city would eat me alive if I let my guard down (and that maybe it would even if I tried to keep my guard up.) NYC is the kind of city that gives you a whole lot to process, while also requiring quick decisions and movement from you. On day one of our explorations, that felt overwhelming. But by day two, it felt energizing and exciting. By that point, I had also experienced some lovely restful moments in the midst of the busyness and had a better understanding of the diversity that NYC offers.
I doubt that I will ever have the chance to actually live there, but I certainly plan on visiting again. Multiple times, ideally. It feels a little possessive and premature to declare that I love NYC, so I shall settle for simply expressing that I feel a deep, deep fondness for it.
One thing that I enjoyed about this trip was the fact that we got to travel with our friends Trent and Kristen!
Besides just being excellent humans in general, Trent and Kristen had been to NYC before and were generous with their knowledge of “how things work” there. I felt like I learned a lot from traveling with them- the way they confidently navigated the city, found ways to be more efficient, and communicated and made decisions in an effective and considerate way were all inspiring to me. The four of us have some things in common, including similar walking speeds, food tastes, and willingness to stop to take photos or videos, which made it feel quite natural to explore the city together.
As far as places in NYC that I enjoyed visiting…
First of all, let’s talk about Central Park. At the top of my NYC bucket list was Read in Central Park. And I got to do that!
Larger and more rectangular than I previously pictured it to be, Central Park provided a lovely place for us to rest our weary feet after a morning and afternoon of walking. Later in the trip, we had a bagel breakfast picnic in Central Park. It was such a lovely experience that I’m considering moving into the Plaza and making Sunday morning bagels in Central Park a tradition. (I’m not joking.)
Another favourite place was The Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art)! We went there on a rainy day, and a lot of other people also had the idea that it would a good rainy-day activity. The line to get into the building felt almost impossibly long (even though we did consistently inch forward), and Trent headed off to see if there was a faster way to get inside. He did, indeed, find a significantly shorter line for us to wait in! It was a good reminder to me to not assume that the most obvious option is the only option.
We enjoyed viewing the city from the top of the Rockefeller at sunset. Yes, the sunset tickets are more expensive, but it seemed worth it to me. The evening dusk and setting sun provided an engaging view of the city. We happily spent a good chunk of time up there, even though it did get chilly.
Also, have you ever been to the Brooklyn Bridge on a cloudy night? The buildings disappear into the clouds in the most mysterious way.
I didn’t do a good job taking photos of Little Italy and China Town, but it was a delight to explore that area too!
I felt that our trip achieved a good balance of “seeing the sights” while also allowing for time to stop and experience lovely ordinary moments.
Here are some of those lovely ordinary moments:
Lessons I Learned
I feel like a fake writer whenever I break out the bullet points, but it feels like the most cohesive way to organize a lot of thoughts. Here we go…
I learned that I’ve been packing too much when I travel. I packed everything for this trip in a backpack (and then also used a tote bag to carry some “random” items like my camera, jacket, and purse). The minimalist in me took great satisfaction in this, and I’m excited to experiment with packing light on future trips!
I learned how much I love vegetables! I love eating out, and it’s definitely possible to make sure you’re eating healthy food while traveling. But it’s not the same as having 24/7 access to a bag of delicious snap peas in your very own refrigerator, you know? Man, I missed my snap peas.
I learned that the thing about traveling is that you just will sometimes feel uncomfortable. You might feel a little bit cold sometimes, a little hot other times. Sometimes you’ll be glad you brought the backpack, other times you might find yourself wishing for your cute tiny green suitcase. You can expect to have moments of discomfort. It doesn’t mean that you packed wrong. It just means that you’re on a trip.
Tell me why it makes me so happy to be practically invisible. Along with moody photography, I may choose to lean into incognito mode.
And perhaps the most important take-away for me…
I became aware that I get super bumbly while traveling. Being out of my familiar locations and routines gets me all clumsy and jumpy. I knock things over, I speak more quietly than usual, decisions feel impossible, and I panic extra fast if it feels like things aren’t going well. I would say that over the past couple years I have learned a lot about being confident, and so I was caught off-guard by how uncomfortable in my own skin I felt (especially at the beginning of the trip). On our next trip, I want to be better prepared to work on keeping my mind and body calm right from the beginning.
It was such a beautiful trip.
I was sad to leave NYC and also so happy to get home. Travelling always makes me want to do more travelling, while somehow also enhancing my appreciation for home and the simple tasks of daily life.
We don’t know when exactly we’ll travel next, but for our next “big” trip I’d like to go to Italy or Greece.
I’m already excited about that.
Have you ever been to New York City? What did you think of it?
Where do you dream of travelling to next?
Do you spell the word travelling with one l or two l’s? It has been a struggle within me while writing this post.