As I am currently holed up at home with a brutal cold/flu type thing and basically bored out of my (clogged) head, I think I will take this time to reflect on a much more enjoyable pass-time, sight-seeing.
Once again, my post will be NYC-centric. What can I say, I loved my trip. Though it may have been exhaustion from the hours of walking that stemmed my immune-system fail, it was undoubtably worth it to see the big city. For a long time, travelling has topped my list of desirable activities. I caught the travel bug long ago, after spending a year in France when I was 11. I had the unique opportunity to see architecture so beautiful it could make you cry at a very young age. Since then, I’ve had an insatiable need to visit as many places as I can- to drink in the sights and sounds of a different country, a different culture. It’s not only the architecture that intrigues me, though for a long time I thought of being an architect in order to create such majesty. Once that career-bubble burst (I realized physics was involved and bolted) I still appreciated a gorgeous archway, a beautiful mosaic, a monument to some moment in history.
The point of travelling, in my opinion, is to experience as much of a new place as possible. The antithesis of my normally rigid schedule, travelling relies much on spontaneity. To really travel, to really experience a new place, I find myself needing to get lost as much as I need to find my way. I have to lose myself in the city streets to feel the pulse of the city, I have to really pound the pavement in my orthopedic sandals to see the sights with a fresh eye.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good museum within which much of the exploration is laid out, where explanations of history are readily available. But for me, much of the joy of traveling is in looking at houses, apartments, office-buildings, and picturing what life would be like for those who dwell within. I say this not in a creepy, stalker-esque way, but in a reverie of a life completely unlike my own. Staying in an apartment on the Upper East Side was illuminating. Instead of the hotel experience, I really felt like a (very lost) New Yorker for a few days. I love a good hotel, but there was something about having a place to call “home”, at least temporarily.
It didn’t hurt that our apartment was a mere six blocks from Central Park. The beauty of a lush green space in the midst of a bustling city was unparalleled by any other sight I saw on my travels. Picnicking in the midst of greenery and wildlife, knowing that the city surrounded me was a fascinating experience. A place to relax and escape the hectic pace is such a good idea that it is beyond me why every big city doesn’t have a Central Park. Well, besides the logistics of placing a huge green space in the midst of an already built-up city, I suppose. But in my dream world, we’d all be able to walk a few blocks to a haven of trees and waterways.
For four days, I explored. For four days, I was spontaneous. For four days, I ate some of the best food of my life. In some ways, my first trip in recovery was difficult, stressful. In others, it was freeing. More than anything, by the end of the trip I was able to be really, truly proud of myself. Proud of myself for exploring the city in my own way. Proud of myself for letting go of rules besides those that kept me healthy. Proud of myself for erasing “should” from the dictionary, at least for a little while.
Proud of myself for being true to myself.
Proud of myself for sight-seeing.
Proud of myself for not taking it all for granted.