With my South American exploits safely behind me, it’s time to focus on the next destination in my location independent adventures: my former haunt, New York City.
Once upon a time, in a world that now seems far, far away, I called Manhattan home. I did not have a love affair for the ages with the city, in fact, some might describe my relationship with Gotham as … strained.
And so it has come to the surprise of, well, everyone who knows and loves me, that I’ve chosen — willfully — to return to the scene of my despair.
“Why, oh why are you returning?” The question keeps being asked.
The answer, quite simply: Because I want to.
Mysterious things indeed are our desires. Last fall, while happily ensconced in a highrise in the Florida Panhandle, I found myself missing New York City on a gutting, emotional level.
I would turn on the telly, see scenes from a movie, TV show, or commercial filmed in the city and start to grow misty-eyed. I know, right? ME growing misty-eyed!
I itched to return to this town that so tormented me, only this time it would be on my own terms. Where once I moved to Manhattan because it seemed the logical step after my RTW journey with Ayaz — himself a Manhattan native — I hadn’t really wanted to be there in my soul. My heart wasn’t in it. At all. I missed my hometown, Philadelphia.
Eventually, after months of inner struggle, of trying to understand my place in and relationship with this town, I left. I had packed up my apartment with Ayaz and we were taking off to be location independent.
But what I had only just begun to understand at the time was that I was no longer quite so unhappy in the Big City. I no longer cried at random on the subway, or felt anxiety creeping in when I pondered my new home.
In fact, I had made friends of my own; I even started to know my way around the subway without looking at a map. I had dinner suggestions for visiting friends, and I started to have a list of favorite spots for a drink or a stroll.
Quietly, without fanfare, New York City had begun to creep into my heart. The transition was so slight, it passed mostly unnoticed.
Until the ache in my heart began last fall.
I suddenly wanted to explore the city again, only this time with an open heart, an open spirit. All the little things I once could only enjoy with half a heart — because I had one foot so firmly planted outside my new home, just waiting to dart away — I now want to experience with my full attention and mindfulness.
I get a do over, you guys. Here’s to hot times, summer in New York City 2014. Stay posted!