My absence on here has been due in large part to my recent trip to New York City with a group of friends. Although we returned a week ago yesterday, I’m still finding myself totally exhausted by the end of each day. Before you call me a pansy, I want to point out that we mostly maneuvered our way around Manhattan by foot, only taking the subway or taxis maybe a dozen times. One of the days there, we hired a private tour guide who told us we probably walked 11 miles on that day alone. I consider myself to be in shape as I work out five days a week, but the big city seriously kicked my ass. And I loved every minute of it.
Growing up in a town of less than 5,000, it was my dream as a teen to move to Chicago (the only big city I had been to at the time). There was something about the convenience of big city life and new people to meet on a daily basis that had me intrigued. And it still does. But I fell in love with a farmer, and moved to an acreage where our nearest neighbor is literally a mile away, and we have to drive 15 minutes for literally anything. Still, I don’t consider myself a country girl, and crave big city life even more than Oreos, so our vacations to exciting places are what literally keep me going.
This was my second time staying in New York, and I can honestly say I’ve never felt more at home on a vacation than I did in our brownstone in Murray Hill. By the end of our stay, we were all literally referring to the rental as “home”. I knew my way around the island almost immediately, giving me a confidence that took me by surprise. I even ventured out on my own to get a quick peek of the famous New York Library, but “twisted my ankle” (turns out I actually strained my Achilles tendon, kind of an old person’s injury from overuse…maybe a sign that I was becoming over-confident). Upon returning to our small community in Minnesota, I fell into a bit of the post-New York blues. All the excitement and options of big city life were no longer available, and I was driving half an hour to run kids and get groceries. I think in another life I would’ve been completely content moving to New York right out of high school.
Here’s just a really short list of the reasons why NYC stole this farm girl’s heart:
1. The convenience of everything. It was literally half a block to a bar, half a dozen restaurants, a deli, convenience stores, and, most importantly, booze. Not having to drive a half hour round trip for the basics was liberating.
2. The ease of getting around. By the end of the week we were pros at hailing a free taxi cab, and finding our way around the subway system. I would love not owning a car and simply relying on public transportation. Sure beats buying a vehicle, paying for gas, car insurance. I’d do anything to shorten the 2 hour drive it takes to catch a concert, plus I hate driving at night and in bad weather.
3. All the people. I loved constantly meeting new people and hearing their stories. A majority of those we met (especially in the bars where we met the most interesting people) were open to starting up a conversation with a bunch of strangers. While there are days I would probably sit home and avoid the crowd, I would love the option of mingling with people I’ve never met. Learning about someone’s life that’s completely different than my own will never grow old.
4. Variety. There are new options available to you every day when in New York, whether it’s where to shop, what to do, what bar to stop in, or what to eat, etc. There’s so much to see and do I’m not even sure it could be covered in an entire month’s stay. My nearest hometown has less than a dozen restaurants, one grocery store, a small handful of downtown shops, and a Walmart. I yearn for that level of newness in my life, so I guess that’s why I love to travel.
As much as I’ve fallen in love with New York, I decided to get another tattoo while there. Luckily our amazing guide Mindy (of Real New York Tours) knew Wooster St Social Club (from the reality show New York Ink) was right around the corner when I asked if she could recommend a place. Now I can always be reminded of my visit, and have a part of the city with me wherever I go. But I promise you, dear New York—you big, beautiful concrete jungle—this certainly won’t be the last time you see me.