A week ago tonight, I had a belly full of New York pizza and feet tired from a day spent walking – exploring Central Park, walking miles to and around the park. Exhausted from our full day and an early morning flight, my mom and I were probably hanging out in our hotel room at this time, winding down and preparing to start all over again on Saturday morning.
I have said before how much I love big cities – and NYC is no different. The love I have for New York is similar to the love I have for Chicago is similar to the love I have for San Francisco. All three cities are vibrant and radiate with a lovely chaos. The architecture, the landscape, the motion. But New York is different than Chicago which is different than San Francisco. And those three are probably in many ways similar to other cities across the country, and just as different.
(You with me so far: Things are alike but different)
I could have spent another four, eight, twelve, whatever days in New York and still not finished exploring all I wanted to see. We wandered through the Village, eating brunch in some random restaurant (waffles! yummy!). We found the Washington Square arch, and I took a picture of the Waverly Place sign for my daughter.
I love like a fountain
And it left me with nothing
Just the memories of walking through Washington Square
I took far more pictures of the Flatiron Building than seemed reasonable, but the shape and the unexpectedness of it, looming so high above just somehow pleased me and I couldn’t stop with the pictures.
Battery Park looking over the Statue of Liberty as the sunset, the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building lit up like Christmas out my hotel room at night, the crowded heat of a subway station on a Saturday afternoon as trains were cancelled, rerouted and who knows what (probably old hat for the residents of NYC – but all new to the touristy folks trying to get back to Manhattan from Queens when all the trains we were “supposed to” take were cancelled).
For all my fear of flying, I am a surprisingly relaxed traveler. I don’t necessarily always need to know where I’m going. Subway switcheroo? No problem. We’ll get there eventually. My mom, she looked so upset with the uncertainty – but that never hit me that day. Maybe because I just figured, Worst case scenario, we get a cab. No big deal. WE CAN DO THIS. And you know what? We did. Sure, it took a little longer than we’d anticipated but… where else did we have to go? We’d get there when we got there.
The noise – the sirens, the rush of crowds? All of that. I love all. of. that.
And I was sad to leave.
This trip made me realize that I want my children to travel. When I was younger, my family never went on vacations – we just couldn’t afford it. That’s always the way it was and I never really realized I was missing out. Sure, my brother and I would fly to visit our grandparents in the summers but I started to learn the ropes of travel later, after college, during my first job when I would travel often for trade shows. My first trip for work was to Vegas and I arrived hours before my coworkers – I was so freaked out – because now, instead of meeting them all at the airport, I had to pick up the rental car on my own, drive in a strange city, and find the hotel somewhere on the Strip. I was a wreck.
It’s taken awhile to get a bit more at ease with travel. I don’t want it to take my kids that long. While our adventures may not be fully global (alas, that money tree JUST WON’T GROW), I want them to feel at ease traveling and not be intimidated by it.
I don’t want them to be upset by a rerouted subway schedule on a Saturday afternoon.
I was a tourist and I explored and then I put on my fancy dress, went to a wedding in what appeared to be an abandoned warehouse in Queens and I danced until I felt my feet were on fire and the next morning said goodbye to a beautiful city to come back home to Michigan.
But I think I’ll be back.