Just very quickly a big thank you to everyone who has been reading the blog or been in touch to chat. 700 hits in just 2 weeks is awesome. I have had some very positive feedback via Instagram and on the Facebook page and I hope the momentum continues.
It’s actually quite nice to be typing this because my gigantic false nails were preventing me from typing my thoughts down at any sort of pace. They did last ages though but going that big definitely isn’t practical for lifting or for typing! Two of the things I do the most.
When I embarked on the blog, posts on here were meant to be structured and of certain themes each time and although I have a few which are ongoing and a work in progress which are like this, I figured I may as well continue with journal style entries for now since I have been having such an interesting, eye opening and thought provoking experience in New York City. Plus, a few of you have mentioned that you quite liked reading about the Irishman in my last diary style entry so for now, we will roll with it!
Today has been a very tricky day for me mentally.
I said from the start that this project was born from a very low point and that it would be driven by honesty and transparency. I can see that it’s the honesty and transparency behind the posts which touches others who are reading. I also said from the start that I would use this project as my outlet to share how I’m feeling and as my escape from the down days and negative thoughts.
This morning, I woke up and just wondered what I was doing here. I felt a lump in my throat and a desire to be waking up in my own bed.
What was meant to be something empowering I’d done for myself, has left me feeling a tad homesick, a little empty and with some big uncertainties and with a lack of direction for the future.
Believe me, It’s a scary way to feel, especially on another continent.
Anyway, I managed to get a gym session done at the nearby New York Sports Club and just reminded myself to be thankful and grateful for the opportunity to be in the city I love.
I do adore this city. Everything about it.
Ever since I first visited back in 2012, I get butterflies every time I think about it and for me, there is inspiration and fresh energy on every street corner. It is a fast paced city but there is so much to see and so many unique people to meet, you have to just embrace it and become part of it or you will be swallowed up and spat right back out! I’ve spent days binge watching Gossip Girl or Sex and the City just to feel close to my favourite place.
I arrived on Sunday night which was very easily done alone indeed compared to how I had pictured it. I highly recommend the Norwegian Air budget flight from Edinburgh – Stewart because once you come off the plane, you can see it’s a tiny airport meaning you don’t have to search very far for the shuttle bus which takes you into Manhattan, nor do you have to wait very long for everyone to collect bags.
The bus takes one hour and a half and drops you in the heart of Manhattan near 42nd Street and Broadway. So although on paper it seems more convenient to fly to JFK or Newark, you probably avoid all of the congestion leaving these airports by flying into lesser known Stewart. Anyway I will go into more detail on all of the logistics in my upcoming post about travelling alone.
After a long and decent sleep when I arrived, I took to the streets with my wee “New York City” book to explore the city I love on Monday.
Firstly, as a piece of advice, if you are in a new place alone, wherever that may be, don’t be afraid to take yourself out. If you are friendly, confident and personable, doing it provides a great opportunity to meet new and interesting people.
Monday I took a wander down to Greenwich Village.
I truly feel like I belong in New York City. I don’t know what that feeling is exactly, but I have felt it each time I have visited and it’s probably why I don’t stop chasing it and I think I can see myself living here one day. Don’t ask me how or when, but I truly do.
On first arriving into the Greenwich Village area, I stopped a man and asked for some directions. He was a super sassy gay man with the cutest ear muffs on and when we got chatting, it turns out he is a real estate developer based in the local area.
He had just come from shooting some images of a new studio apartment he will be putting on the market. I’m not saying it’s fate but it’s a very strange coincidence that while wandering around imagining what it would be like to live there, I met a real estate developer. Anyway his name was Michael and he gave me his card. The only reason I even know what that job title means is because I used to love watching Million Dollar Listing which is a show featuring a handful of guys doing his same job in New York City showing the hustle and grind these guys go through from shaking on one big deal to the next (another way to temporarily cure my intrigue about New York and feel closer!). He explained to me that a tiny tiny box room with kitchen appliances and your bed etc in one space could cost you between $2,500 and $3,000 per month.
With Michael’s card now in my purse and tucked away, I stumbled upon a little bar/diner called Knickerbocker Bar and Grill and decided to pop in and sit at the bar for a few coffees to soak up the local atmosphere. In doing so, I met some very interesting characters indeed.
I found myself sat beside a man in probably his 60’s (sorry Jim if you are reading this and you’re late 50’s or even 40’s!) who has lived in that part of town and been drinking at that bar for many, many years. He is retired and spends his days in that bar and in the local area eating salads, drinking wine and reading books. We chatted about all manner of things, from the fact Americans also don’t agree with Trump and his policies to the beautiful wine regions in South Africa to my project and everything in between. We also discussed a mutual love for New York and he told me his children had left the city in search of a different pace of life. It’s interesting that while the grit and sheer sexy of the New York City streets appeals to me, it’s not the life for everyone. He did however say he could see me living here and really enjoying it.
Meanwhile, the lovely man Steve behind the bar who Jim says is like part of the furniture in there and a well known and loved character kept me entertained with magic tricks all afternoon. Every time I glanced up from my coffee or there was a lull in Jim and I’s conversation, he’d pull receipts from under towers of glasses and even crunched a dime for my entertainment! The only negative was I couldn’t afford to keep tipping him!
To the other side of me at the bar was a man who I’d more confidently say was in his late 60’s who sat hunched over and had a flat cap on. He had dazzling white teeth and was sinking a few red wines but not saying too much, just listening in to Jim and I chatting. When he nipped to the toilet, Steve the bar man told me that he also lived in the local area and that he used to direct music videos and had worked with people like Madonna back in the day! I find it amazing that I was meeting so many people with such unique stories to tell.
When he returned from the toilet, we had a lengthy chat about my love for New York City and his days of choreographing and directing in the 80’s and 90’s. Known to me only as Mr Hayes, we discussed the card I had been given by the real estate developer. Mr Hayes told me it’s a sign, that I belong here and that I need to follow the fire. He said that it doesn’t matter if you don’t know how right now, just go for it and give him a call. His words really stuck with me and made me wonder, do we really need to have it all figured out?
I’m still asking myself each morning I wake up if I am doing the right thing just being here and chasing the fire or if I’m simply too much of a dreamer. I think it’s OK to be a dreamer. New York seems to be full of them.
I think I will leave Tuesday and today’s antics for the next entry otherwise it’s going to be too much to read!
Another 1500 words and feel like I’ve just sat down…
These sessions really do help me.
There will probably be another diary entry with some of my stories and characters from the last couple of days (yesterday I met the most interesting lady who used to work for the BBC…) but I also have two specific posts coming up too. One will be chatting about travelling alone and the other about how to deal with someone who’s just “not that into you” which will certainly be an interesting read as I’ve been journaling as I’ve been going!
I truly adore writing here and if there’s anything you’d like to see discussed, just let me know on the Facebook or Instagram pages. You will see I put a picture on my Instagram yesterday explaining that, as part of the project, I will be available to chat to about anything and everything with absolute empathy and zero judgement. Please, as individuals, know that it is a genuine offer of support and don’t suffer through anything on your own. Being a woman in this day and age is hard, no two ways about it. We must stand together and seek empowerment.
Thank you again and until the next time,