My bucket list had a Big Apple in it and I picked it over Memorial weekend with my guy Chris for some big adventure. Maybe like me, you’ve heard all of your life how amazing New York is and you MUST GO yet you were a little apprehensive because you think of the sheer size and traffic and busy people. You may have even heard New Yorkers are rude (in fact, NY was cleaner, greener and friendlier than I expected). Now that I’ve experienced it in person, I have to echo, ‘YOU MUST GO TO NEW YORK’.
Instead of a list of the best places to see like a jillion tourist sites out there, I’d like to share some meditations on New York because it’s true that travel shows you who you are and where you want to be in life; that adventure makes you grow and bonds you with those you travel with; that as you look back on the years you’ll remember things you DID, not things you BOUGHT. Adventure enriches our lives and that’s why I made “every day, adventure” my motto this year.
1. New York can make you feel a little worldlier and grounded at the same time. Worldlier in all the big learning experiences: from seeing dinosaur bones to medieval spears to European sculptures to a Sphinx to Van Gogh. New York has something for you to think about and feel. We visited the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art – both highly recommended, but don’t try to see them both in one day. Grounded in that you see what a speck you are in the grand scheme of things. NY knocks you down and lifts you up at the same time. It’s trippy. It says, “you are one of many” but it also says, “look at what’s out there for you. Anything is possible.” It fills you up and yet leaves you wanting more.
2. Explore with all five senses. Make that six. The city itself is one large canvas painted with a million hands. You and I could have completely different tastes and both find things to love about this creative city that houses priceless art and artifacts going back thousands of years, towers teeming above us and the bustle of the subway below. Get the most of the experience (any experience) by staying fully in the moment and taking it in with as many senses as you can. Hear the birds in Central Park. Touch the tomb inscriptions. Smell the wine and food to enjoy it even more. See the little things – the signs and architectural details. Lastly, feel the energy of the spaces. What does the energy of Broadway and Times Square feel like in contrast to walking through the hotel or museum or park? You are walking in historical spaces and making your own history at the same time.
3. Let yourself go and live in wonder. All too often we vacation based on a to-do list and stick to a regimented calendar. We, too, had a big list of places to visit as you see from the pictures, but mentally give yourself permission (and encourage yourself) to try new things and “go with the flow” sometimes. Go off the beaten path. Order shellfish if you ordinarily wouldn’t. Be like a kid and let yourself be amazed at what’s in front of you. For me, living without wonder isn’t really living and NYC is full of wonder.
4. Connect the past to the present and connect with each other. Travel gives us the opportunity to connect with something old and new and helps us make sense of the present. We learn more about ourselves. A shift happens. From the plane ride to the wait times in line to the actual big ticket events, it’s an opportunity to learn more about each other and truly listen. Be giving with each other and you’ll all be rewarded. Adventure is a natural bonding experience, but it still requires staying in tune and getting out of our heads to enjoy the moment and each other. New York has all the right ingredients for big adventure and bonding. You just have to do it.
What’s on your summer adventure list? Who would you like to go with? How can you make it happen?
Happy Summer, readers!
For a video (with no sound) of my trip:
New cover reveal for Dating da Vinci since I got my rights back from the publisher. I love it and can’t wait to share it with readers in June. Launch date coming soon. I’m also working on a non-fiction book I hope to share with you later this summer.