So like many, I have always wanted to visit New York City. This was one of the easier goals at the top o’ my list of things to do in this lifetime. Finally, this year I decided to go for it-make it happen! Don’t let anyone hold you back! I had just finished my BSN and needed a plan to celebrate this accomplishment (I also needed to propel myself forward as I attempted to accept the ending of a relationship). So I talked with friends who also wanted to go, but in the end could not, and figured I still had to make it happen. Have you ever heard of AirBnB? What a cool concept! Especially for a woman traveling alone, one can stay in a home for far less than they can stay in a big city hotel and if lucky make a new friend! I contacted this cool New Yorker named Robert in Manhattan and made my reservations. I was having “reservations” of another kind, but was determined to push thru my fears of tackling the Big Apple alone.
Looking back at my September trip now, I can say it was a great experience. Most New Yorkers were friendly and helpful. I got to do all the things I wanted to do, see all the sites. I only stayed a few days, touring up and down and all around. I was doing pretty well with the subway system until about the second day, when I would somehow end up on the wrong train. You know you’re not a New Yorker when you find yourself in awe at just how many people can squeeze themselves onto the subway-surely not one more person can fit-or would want to! Here’s a funny moment. I found myself on the wrong train again on a Saturday night. I had just gotten off, was tired and wishing I was back at the room and trying not to get overwhelmed. I am standing alone on this empty platform, when a woman walked up to me and asked me for directions! Here we are, two women lost in the Big Apple! Well, helping her find her way helped to alleviate my anxiety, as I tried to find my way. In the end, we both got on the right train together. She tells me she is from Uzbekistan, and shares her struggles as a physician in her country trying to find work as a nanny in this country. Eventually, we got back on the right train, chatting and watching for our stops when she said, “Here is your stop!” Without checking, I thanked her, telling her how nice it was to meet her, and got off the train. Problem was, it wasn’t my stop! smile.
By the third day, I was ready to come home. I was desperate to get back home! I was telling a friend about the trip later and about how difficult the trip became, and he said “Sightseeing can only take you so far…” As much as I want to see the world, it is difficult to forget you’re by yourself when surrounded by all these tourists traveling with family and loved ones. You have no one to wander the halls of the Metropolitan with, no one to try New York style pizza with, and no one to get lost with on the subway. For me, I had lost my Mom to breast cancer in the Spring, I had no one to celebrate my graduation with, and was trying to get over a lost love. Emotionally fragile, yet determined to move forward. I see I set myself up, should have waited awhile. I took too big of a jump when I should have just planned an easier trip to San Diego!
So, now what? Do I give up all of my dreams of travel? What if I get to Italy, and want to come back after three days? What if I can’t handle the long, long flight? (Even five hours is too long when you are sitting next to a guy with halitosis and the air isn’t working in your cabin as it was for my NYC flight home). It has been a few months since that trip and now I am able to look at my photos and even be thankful for how great my Airbnb host Robert was, he treated me like an old friend. I have since learned that people drink or take Valium to relax on long flights!
Aha, there is hope still! I tell myself that if I wanted to tackle another trip, I could always join a tour group like “Women Traveling Solo” or even “Elder Hostel”. I am not an “elder,” but those educational trips sound like fun! In the meantime, I will enjoy the photos and stories of the many adventures you all share, hoping I can get to a place where I can take another leap and have a great time doing so.