Travel Makes NYC Feel Like Land

I have a list of blog topics that I jot down when ideas strike me but I don’t have time to write an entire OMG post. When I go through this list weeks or months later, a funny thing happens. Old ideas don’t always make sense to me anymore. I forget where my head was at when I made the note. I literally have hundreds of these random topic notes. For example, I have one item labeled “a small concession in your 30s.” I assume this was to be the title of a post, and it’s maybe sorta catchy now, but for the life of me I’m not sure exactly what I was conceding at the time. I have some ideas now of what this could have been, but none of them necessarily sound familiar. There has not been an “ah ha!” moment. 

One of my topic notes is “Travel Makes NYC feel like land.” When I saw it again after what must have been at least a month, I thought I must have meant “travel makes NYC feel like home”..or even, “traveling for work makes NYC feel like home.” Because I feel like I usually enjoy traveling for fun, and less so for work. But even with pleasure travel, I always end up taking myself with me, so if I had any worries before traveling, being away doesn’t necessarily solve them. Being away makes me aware of other things, which in turn does help a lot, but it’s different…if that makes any sense.

But maybe travel does make NYC feel like land. NYC is my place- I was born and raised here. I know the crazies on the subway well. I know the familiar must-do sensation of pushing gently but hardily to get into a crowded train car. I know what it feels like to know my stop has arisen on the subway, even when I’m asleep. I know the feeling of walking along Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side, even in winter, and feeling the warm comfort of staring at $4,000 dresses through crystal glass. I have funny memories of trying to sell rocks in Central Park as a kid and dreamy memories of listening to concerts on the park’s grass while wondering about life. 

I guess sometimes I feel adrift when I travel away from my place, and NYC really does feel like land. My familiarity with New York in addition to getting to be here for awhile helps me feel centered lately. Especially after I’d been traveling for months straight without more than 4 day breaks and suddenly am able stay home for awhile- at least 3 weeks at a time. It takes awhile to clear out the imbalance from all the travel or to even realize it’s there. But I think waking up in my own bed day after day has helped me feel centered when I hadn’t completely recognized that I was off-centered. Having a similar schedule that I can control is similarly appealing. Seeing friends and family when I want to instead of being physically separated from them is very nice. 

I never would have realized that NYC felt like land if I hadn’t traveled away from it so much. I might have been one of the many people who gets tired of the big, bustling city and takes it for granted…its easy to be that way. I get that way with other things and have to manually bring myself back to appreciation. But I was adrift in the open sea and then I finally was able to get back to my land, New York, and grab ahold for a second and say yessssssss… thank you beautiful city!!!! And New York feels like a refuge.

What can I give you guys from this experience? I don’t know- I’m still figuring out the lesson. I’m resting and enjoying for now. Perhaps that there’s a centering you can only find if you go elsewhere and finally return. That’s when you really appreciate your way back to where you began.  

IMG_4598

Advertisements

Expensive Things Can Be Bought Cheaply in Your Thirties

I was laying on a loungechair at an Onsen in Japan the other day- an Onsen is a Japanese hotspring. It was a beautiful day out and I’d just come out of the Himalayan salt sauna next to me. I could feel the salt between my toes and the sun on my skin. My breathing came easily and deeply. I was about to jump into the open air hotspring in front of me. And I felt rich. And I thought “this is an amazingly expensive experience.” It was a funny thought to have because this particular beautiful onsen experience had cost me a grand total of 7 whole dollars.

Yep, the Onsen entry fee was a paltry 700 yen, which actually equates to a little less than 7 US dollars. And as I was laying there in the sun and basking in the spa-like experience, I kept thinking about how people want to have tons of money so that they could have experiences such as this, but this had cost me nearly nothing.

And this happens all the time. I sometimes have an amazing, brilliant meal somewhere that blows me away, and the whole thing has cost me a grand total of 10 dollars.

image.jpeg

Or I’m at a beautiful lake somewhere and the whole experience costs me a grand total of zero dollars plus $2.50 train fare.

image

This isn’t just a Japan thing. Sometimes in America I’ll have a great super filling brunch for less than $15 complete with Bloody Mary and coffee.

image

Sometimes I’ll be at an amazing five dollar yoga class in Bryant Park, or I’ll get a cheap massage in Queens that’s less than forty dollars for a whole hour- not hundreds.

image

I’m not saying that having money isn’t important and that you don’t need a comfortable degree of money to live a happy life. Being worried about money is terrible- I know firsthand what that feels like and the stress that causes.

However, I don’t think you need to have tons of money to live the rich life you’d live if you did have tons of money. You can live it anyway at any income level- don’t equate expensive with value. Many things you’re waiting for the money to do aren’t as expensive as you think. The saying isn’t true- lots of things in life are free! Or at least pretty cheap. And they’re all around- just look for them.

image

Would You Live In A Cave Far Away From Everyone?

A lot of people have asked me if I would ever leave New York. My answer is usually ‘no’ but that’s a lie.

My family is here. My friends are here. My stories are here. I travel away from the city all the time, and I only truly feel at home once I’m back in NYC. Because New York City is and has always been my home.

And yet…what if…

I feel like I could possibly be happy living somewhere else. Who knows? Perhaps I just don’t know yet because I haven’t experienced it. Not once in my thirty years have I ever moved anywhere but New York permanently. I’ve studied abroad, and travel more than half of the year, but it’s not the same as truly living in another location.

My really good friend is going through a breakup right now. We’ve been talking about it a lot. We’ve also been talking about being single and all types of challenging experiences that have happened recently. Yesterday, he texted me saying: ” The biggest takeaway for me from this week is that we should go live in a cave far away from everyone.”

It’s a humorous thing to say, and somewhat melancholy, but I think the best humor has both truth and melancholy in it.

“A place to call home” has been a recurring conversation topic for me in the past few weeks. Jane, my amazing co-blogger, has been debating leaving LA for months (years?) and only now has decided that she’s likely going to return to New York this summer. Another one of my friends just moved to San Diego, and is quickly moving back to New York again. I wrote an article on this blog a few months back about my coworker who paid off her whole condo by the time she turned 30! And I recently read an article about a woman in China who has lived in a cave for 3 years surviving on rainwater and rice! (That last article is very strange and also quite melancholy- just a warning.)

And then there’s the just as bizarre tiny home… Have you heard of these? Lately they’ve come up a lot in conversations I’ve had. And I recently read an article about Dee Williams, who lives in a tiny gingerbread house on wheels  (really!) and pays only $8 a month for a single propane heater. She only paid $10,000 for the initial construction of the place. Her mini home is 84 square feet and no larger than a parking spot!

Are you guys happy with where you live? Have you lived in the same city/state/country your whole life or have you moved a lot? Do you feel like the thirties are more of a time to settle down …or is this perhaps a time to spice it up and try somewhere new?

Strangely enough, both Dee Williams with her tiny house and the cave dwelling woman in China say that even with their bizarre living situations, they actually rely on their communities more than ever. Finding a home that’s not in a big city truly doesn’t necessarily equate to being isolated. The cave dweller’s neighbors from local villages frequently bring her offerings to help her out- such as rice to eat, as well as their used coats. Dee Williams said about her tiny home, “”I thought I would be so contained in this little house with no running water. The big surprise, of course, is the smaller you go, the more you absolutely have to lean into your community. It gets smaller and bigger. It gets to be this big, tiny thing, you know?”

tiny house

%d bloggers like this: