I woke up so easily at 7AM on a New York Saturday. Last night was already a dream, a wickedly fantastic dream. Wanting to further my relationship with New York, I got ready so fast to go and head out to my first stop: The Statue of Liberty. The subway required me to be on for like 11 stops from Harlem towards Brooklyn and I got off at Fulton Street. I made my way to a coffee shop called Aroma after being lost with my phone not working- where I had a cheese croissant and sipped on some hot coffee.
Right around the corner of the coffee shop I took a right and there stood right in front of me, to my surprise, was the One Trade Center. A wave of emotions took over me. I was in sixth grade when 9-11 happened. I definitely never truly understood the weight of that situation as it was happening being too young. Growing up, remembering, you do understand how awful that day was for Americans. Today, standing in those very streets where you saw the panicked people stamped through and the tsunami of debris gaining on the fragile people running. Tears filled my eyes and emotion choked my throat. I stood there for a while taking it in, respecting all those who lost their lives that day, and the first responders. As chills ran through my body, I closed my eyes to remember and honor all those people.
Instead of the Subway all the way to Battery Park to the Statue of Liberty decided to walk up the edge of the water to take in the crisp New York air and snap any pictures of my inspiring surroundings.
The journey to Battery Park was so peaceful and so visually stimulating! I was wide-eyed and couldn’t stop observing everything around me! I was so happy that I chose the earliest time to visit Lady Liberty, as the line was very impressive! In line, I overheard so many different accents from all countries. The European accents are what kept my ear. Even how they said the word, “fuck,” was so heart-meltingly sexy. European men, let me tell you, you do not need to try at all when it comes to an American woman, or at least this one. Those accents made me weak in my knees and I could barely take it.
The ferry started to take off and the skyline started growing smaller behind us allowing me to capture a full image of the entire skyline. Everyone had their phones are trying to snap a great photo. Once I got one, I looked at it, some people see this view every day I thought. I also thought, how lucky they are and wondered if they take such luxury for granted. I then thought back to my home and made a mental note to never take my home for granted. I reflected back to when I lived in Texas just 5 months ago. I didn’t even know I was leaving, if I had I would have done things a little differently the last year I was in Texas. Seen more, ate more, looked at it a little more. Let’s be clear, I learn from my past and I try not to live in the past!
We got closer to the Statue of Liberty and she was growing closer to her true size. She is absolutely magnificent. I couldn’t believe how impactful she was on me. I noticed her biceps, this lady is strong, and she is what watches over us and has been the most constant thing out country probably has ever possessed or been lucky to have. There was a protecting strength about her. She was still graceful while commanding such a presence. I decided she was my role model, regardless how real she never was. The feeling she gave me was real and it empowered me. The ferry docked and I made my way off to circle around the island. Up close and personal, Lady Liberty was even more beautiful and I will never forget these moments:
Feeling so inspired, so full of life, I made my way to my next stop, the Brooklyn Bridge. On the ferry ride back to New York, two girls approached me and asked if I was there by myself. I told them, yes and they raved about my bravery and how they want to do that for themselves one day. I encouraged them to, and explained why I was there on my own:
Focus on school, yes, but don’t lose sight of what you want. If travelling is that, do it! The perfect time to do it is right then! College will always be there waiting for you to return! My biggest regret is that I never made time for myself and waht I really and truly wanted out of life. I want memories, culture, travel experiences and to meet as many good people in the world and to hopefully make their lives better just by having known me. After reaching the professional position I have been striving so hard for, I still wasn’t “happy.” YES, professionally, I have what I want- BUT- what I realized I have not been honoring myself and what I want our of life. As a result, it literaly has plagued the last ten years of my life with depression and feeling like I was chasing happiness as if it was something you arrive at. Finally taking control of your life, your happiness, is so liberating. I started a blog to document my travel experiences and to hold me accountable to myself and to never let myself down again.
The girls were so positively uplifting and just reinforcing my decisions for myself. It is crazy when you are doing what is right, how RIGHT it really does feel for you. It was as if the stars were aligning for me, for my life and for me to feel and experience everything in that very moment. I felt lucky and still do. The girls had to leave and get off at Ellis Island. A few moments later, another girl ran up to me with her mom in toe.
My friends told me what you are doing, and I am want to do that for myself! I want to be just like you!
I was taken-a-back at this point. I am doing what is right for me, could it be that I am also helping others too by just being happy for me? It was. I told the girl,
Don’t wait for people to show you how to live life, because then you will always be waiting. Take control and live and experience life the way you want to!
Her mom nodded and agreed and they ran off to their next sight to see.
I sat back down on the ferry and continued my self-reflection. I chose affirmations for myself I wanted to emulate.
I am powerful.
I am strong
I can do anything
I will never sell myself short
I will never settle in life
I will fight for what I deserve
I will always live and never just go through life with mundane routines
I will always strive for better and to be better
I don’t want to sound conceited, but an overwhelming feeling of love- for myself rushed all over me. I truly, deeply, and madly- love myself. If you haven’t experienced such an incredible emotion for yourself, I highly recommend you move those mountains to find it. Life really makes sense when you tap into that emotion that is directed towards yourself.
I took the Subway to get to the Brooklyn Bridge and then walked up to it. The Brooklyn Bridge gave me a perspective of the city I had yet to see. It is crazy how you can see the same buildings in so many different ways and still see them so differently and all still magnificent and beautiful. The sun was shining, the air crisp- it was gorgeous out. Artists were set up to sell their pieces. Fruit Stands were selling their pineapple, strawberries, and cream. I continued to walk. The right side was for walking, the left for biking; however, nobody followed those rules making for some interesting and stressful moments thinking you were going to collide with a fast moving bike. They were not stopping for anyone. You knew which riders were locals and who wasn’t. The locals were ringing their bike bell as if they were flipping you the bird on the highway in a car as they were trying to get around you. I finally arrived to the center of the bridge and captured some memories:
I decided that my next stop would have to be Little Italy for some Lunch. Again, like a true New Yorker, I took the Subway like a pro and got off and made my way to Mulberry Street. You absolutely knew when you arrived in Little Italy.
How? Lady and the Tramp music seemed to be playing on in the background and you could hear Italian being spoken along with the boisterous hand gestures and the Italian restaurants everywhere. It literally felt as if I had been transported to the country of Italy itself. I kept walking on for a while until a man in a black suit and black sunglasses stopped me to inform me of something very important: M&M’s is releasing three new flavors and they needed me to vote which one was the best. How could I say no?
Inside, each flavor had a room dedicated for your selfies. A guy manned each station. I asked each to be my boyfriend and take the best photos of me. Here is what we ended up with:
Leaving the M&M world in Little Italy, so random, I found myself a place to stop for Lunch in Little Italy. It was absolutely the perfect location. It looked out to the corner of the heart of Little Italy My waiter called me Bella and kissed my hand. I mean I could absolutely get used to such a romantic culture and would gladly drop everything to do so! I ordered a Chianti red wine and gnocchi. It was absolutely mouth-watering delicious! The table next to me, a lady also sat by herself. I asked her if she was also traveling alone. She was, and she was from Greece. She shared with me some really cool stories of where she had been and at the end of our conversation, we were Facebook friends. I truly wish I could pronounce her name, but even her FB is in Greek, and I can’t read that language- just yet.
I wandered through Little Italy and then Chinatown after Lunch, floating towards Uptown to make it easier to head back for the night out the was approaching very fast. I saw so many great street art murals:
Grand Central Station was my next stop. Grand doesn’t even begin to do it justice. I got off my subway stop and instantly I knew where I was. It was unlike every single other subway station I had been at. It was absolutely magnificent and awe-inspiring. I had some Gossip Girl flashbacks of when Serena returns in the first season. I slowly waded through that station slowly turning my head to every corner to see what detail perfected the artistic visionary that laid before me. At the Statue of Liberty, I really couldn’t imagine being any happier, but every sight added to the growing and glowing feeling I had.
I eventually coerced myself out of the station and onto the street and found my way down Fifth Avenue.
And then, eventually…
I stumbled onto the Empire State Buiding. *mind blown*
I accidentally went through the side doors and the doorman said that he wanted to let me up for free to explore. How did I get so lucky in a city where people were warning me to be so careful? New York loved me and welcomed me with open arms. The Empire State Building definitely gives you a New York State of Mind that is hard to shake! The building was straight out of the Great Gatsby with its decor! My phone was dying and I wanted to make sure that I would make it home for New York Night out that I had planned!
With my phone dead on the way back on the train station, I noted that I had to get off at the 103 station and decided to get off one stop sooner to walk through central park and then back to my Air BnB. Central Park reminded me of Piedmont Park in Atlanta- on steroids. There are extravagant gardens with fountains looking straight out of Paris and Versaille and then pathways for walkers, runners, and bikers alike. So much life happened everywhere in New York and all kinds of it at all times. The City that Never Sleeps was truly living up to the name.
Finally, back at the apartment, I pulled out my sequinned Dress the Population dress. I was ready to impress. I was also super nervous knowing I had to walk to the Subway looking like a million bucks. I used a wand to perfect the perfect waves in my hair and did my make up. I was ready in under an hour with how excited I was.
18 stops to get to the next subway train is how long I was on the rush hour subway train. I certainly was the only one wearing a sequin, low-back, mini dress on the subway. I could only laugh at the image of me and chose not to be anxious. Overdressing is always better than underdressing was a standard I set for myself back in high school ten years ago.
Finally, in the Chelsea District of New York, I started seeing nightclubs and grew excited with the partying that I felt was about to unravel before me. I had purchased and “experience” off of Air BnB so I can have a safe and fun night out. We were to meet at PH-D Dream Lounge and then go off to the hottest nightclubs that night. Dream Lounge was rightfully named, it was an absolute dreamland with the neon lights and amazing and beautiful decor.
While waiting for my escort to our VIP table, I was swept away by a group of men from London.
Don’t Miss Out On What Happens Next!