Traveling for work is a bit of a roller coaster ride, a fine line between working and playing, ballin’ and budgeting. I’m fortunate to have many opportunities to travel for my job, and often for really cool reasons: I get to meet and spend time with interesting people that I otherwise would never talk to, I get the pleasure of visiting my friends and I get to experience new-to-me cities. This last bit, exploring a city, is the most subtly interesting and challenging aspects of traveling for me. When I’m on my own in a city, new or familiar, I don’t crave routine and I don’t try to do all of the touristy things in a day. I like to walk a city and get to know its streets – only then do I feel like my feet have truly hit the ground.
I just got back from two weeks in New York City, working on a fast project in SoHo. It was the longest I’d ever been in New York and I didn’t know what to expect, like, I only packed sandals and it rained really hard for at least five days. And I rented an apartment thinking I’d cook a bit for myself but I definitely ate out every night (and had some of the best food the city, and my friends, had to offer!). So it wasn’t quite what I imagined. But this visit to the big apple opened my eyes in other ways that I didn’t expect and the last two weeks of traveling have become one of the most memorable trips to a city, ever.
Here are the three things I did in New York that widened my eyes, expanded my mind and opened my heart…
Walking the High Line
I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know about the High Line – a huge raised park project that’s being built on top of old railway lines in Chelsea. It’s a stunning place to be, and feels almost otherworldly. Above the traffic amongst wild flowers, grasses and trees I strolled at sunset and it was nothing short of a phenomenal experience. Parts of the trail that have been complete for a few years have full-grown trees that hang out over the sides and shade the path from the glare of the city. Other sections are bursting with waist-high wild onions and conical flowers I’d never seen before. Along the way you can stop and watch the city like a play from funny built-in amphitheaters and it’s just pure bliss.
Sleep No More
Speaking of plays, I finally went to Sleep No More. Twice. I won’t give anything away because I know a lot of people haven’t seen it, but I will say a few words that may convince you to go. This was the most incredible production of theater I have ever experienced, in my life, hands down. The experience I had with the story, the characters and the set was mind boggling in the best possible ways, in ways I previously hadn’t imagined possible – I was moved to many tears, my assumptions were torn apart and my heart broke over and over again only to be rebuilt stronger and fuller. I don’t expect to ever see anything like it again, and if I do I will probably die of happiness. Please go see it so we can talk about your experience. Tickets aren’t as hard to get as you think.
Biking up Broadway
In between work, eating, drinking, sleeping, and repeating those steps, I rode a lot of bikes. New York is intense but getting uptown and across town on a bike is almost the perfect way to go – fast, open air, exhilarating. We rode up to Central Park for the first time then back through Times Square at dusk and I couldn’t ask for a better vantage point. I think I’ll rent or bring my bike on all subsequent trips to the city just because it’s so darn easy to get around. And Brooklyn is just a bridge away.
I keep thinking my schedule is going to slow down to an evenly galloping pace but that doesn’t seem to be in store for me this year…It’s just non-stop projects, travel, ideas, growth. Sometimes I have to remind myself that this whirlwind isn’t a bad thing. It’s a challenge, like finding your way in an unknown place. I feel like I’m really beginning to find my way in life, accepting opportunities as they pop up, not forcing things that aren’t a natural fit, waiting for timing to kick in and making room for surprise and spontaneity. One adventure subsequently leads to the next and I’m already elbows deep planning my next trip.