Whether you take a trip to a neighboring city or abroad, travelling broadens so much of your perspective on life. Travelling exposes you to cultures that you couldn’t possibly experience by simply watching television. Not to say that you can’t learn about cultures right in your own backyard but it is a magnificent experience once you venture out.
I’ve always found aspects of myself in others while travelling. Like attracts like, right? Connecting, listening to stories and observing have always made me feel alive. On this trip to New York, I was able to run into quite a few amazing individuals who made my trip worthwhile. Thank you Channing, Daphne, Cindy, Taniel, Irveline, Christiana, Derrel, Krystal, Cynthia, Monisha, Aisha and Ulysses for showing me a good time.
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” — Augustine of Hippo
Maybe I packed for this trip in my sleep because I clearly didn’t get the memo that Spring in New York does not begin until May. Needless to say, the clothes that I packed were not worn.
Before you think anything crazy, I would like to remind you that I eat out. A lot. The following pictures of food should not be held against me in a judgmental light.
A friend suggested that I visit Cafe Habana in Downtown Manhattan. Of course, I got what the restaurant was known for: Mexican-style corn on the cobb and a Cuban sandwich. Neither of which are sexy to eat. I was sinking my teeth into the cobb, getting powdered cheese all over my face when I noticed a foreign man posted outside, staring at me. It finally dawned on me that he, a White man, was waiting for me. Had I really been pressed about him, maybe I would have cared. When I exited the establishment he said to me, “Your lipstick, it makes your lips look like strawberry.” As in just one strawberry. And apparently a purple one, wherever those are grown.
In the South, it is very rare to see the elderly working. Yes, they take up our highways, moving at a snails pace in their brand new automobiles but rarely will you see an 80+ person doing manual labor. This woman appeared to thoroughly enjoy her job. Everyone in the cafe called her “mami” and greeted her warmly. She smiled but barely spoke English. Seeing her kinda tore at my heart but made me proud at the same time. Seeing her reminded me that you’re never too old to get to work. And also, if you’re still breathing and able, there is always something that needs to be done. I commend her.
In a series I dubbed #SubwaySelfie, I shared brief snippets of my train rides with my Facebook readers. On that day, I was the only person in neon, drowning in a sea of dull colors.
A man on the train asked for money. He kept saying, “I know this is embarrassment. I’m 49 years old and I don’t have a job. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink.” No one would acknowledge him. I was later informed that most homeless people in NYC read from the same script. Still, it’s heartbreaking.
Visiting Conde Nast has to be top of the list for every writer interested in publishing. Randomly, I contacted a friend about some unrelated thing and casually mentioned my trip to New York. She asked me to visit with her daughter at Allure magazine. There’s no walking into Conde Nast without a connect so I was grateful for a door opening.
I knew I was out of my league when I got to Spice Market and our server offered us a lemon grass scented hot towel before we ate. Too rich for my blood.
I’ve followed Cynthia’s blog from my early blogging years. Whenever I sent a web designer an idea of what I want my blog to look like, I always sent hers as an example. So I was ESTATIC when she agreed to meet me (and Krystal) for dinner at Stanton Social.
By Friday, I was so drained from travelling from east to west and on and off trains. I really longed for the comfort of home, which became my cousin’s two bedroom apartment in “Morningside Heights” aka, Harlem. My friend in Atlanta put me in touch with her friends in New York. They took me to a place called Dizzy’s at the Lincoln Center to see their friend Ulysses Owens play the drums. Dizzy’s is a club where patrons are entertained by the soothing sounds of live jazz music. We were serenaded by the Victor Goines Quartet.
I rose early the next morning for my 50 minute trek to Brooklyn for breakfast and church. I am forever indebted to Google for Google maps. Without it, I would have cried in the middle of every street in the city.
Who gets into a fender-bender leaving church? We do. Thanks NYPD for taking 1.5 hours to acknowledge us! Guess there isn’t much crime in Park Slope.
I’m so grateful to my cousin for housing me and spending time with me.
I’ve always been a wanderer. Never belonging anywhere or to anyone. So naturally, I’m a firm believer that “not all who wander are lost”. Wandering may lead to the exact place you need to be. Wandering may lead to new opportunities and experiences if you allow it.
What I know is this: there will never be a moment like this again. When I have reached wherever I deem my place of success, all of these experiences will be mere memories. My advice, never stop wandering, never stop wondering. Revel in the present moment. It’s all you’ve got.