It was a cold November night and I was wandering through Times Square, having just sobbed my eyes out at a spectacular performance of the hit Broadway show Dear Evan Hansen…
I stopped, twirled around in a circle and took in my surroundings. Still feeling emotional after my sobfest and raw in a way I hadn’t been for years , I had a profound realization.
I was home. Home once again and I was impossibly, utterly, deeply in love with New York City.
For the third time.
This trip, my first one to New York shared with someone I loved, your godmom Leonie, was hands down my best. I loved solo travel, and I would soon venture off on another trip by myself, but a shared experience brought with it a sense of happiness, comedic moments of getting lost, frustation at losing each other at busy events, transcendent moments at a magical theatre show unlike any other we’d seen, discovering new places and showing each other our favourite spots.
Sharing New York with someone who adored it as much as I do, possibly even more so, made me love it on a deeper level.
Even if I never returned to the Big Apple in my life (Gods, I hope not! I still wanted to live my best upcoming writer and Brooklyn-living mom life there!), I was content to have loved this beautiful city and be a part of it at least thrice in my life.
Kids, in 2016, New York City was stalking me like my all-time favourite musical character, The Phantom of the Opera…
“In sleep he sang to me In dreams he came That voice which calls to me and speaks my name “
Yes, yes, I know, being in love with a dark, mysterious man and hoping he’ll lure me to his underground lair indicates a seriously weird view of love but I was six when I fell in love with the Phantom, ok? You can’t undo a lifelong passion for Erik ( not coincidentally the name of my other forbidden love Alexander Skarsgard‘s character in True Blood!) …
As I toiled through a seriously f***ked up year with my dying grandfather, losing friends and general adulting f***ery, the Big Apple was appearing in my dreams on a regular basis – showing me visions of hosting my baby shower in a hipster-styled warehouse in downtown Manhattan, with the Backstreet Boys performing as special guests ( don’t ask!) and walking beneath Brooklyn Bridge with that jackass.
I didn’t have to be a shrink or a psychic to figure out that my dreams were wish-fulfillment, fantasies of wanting to escape my current situation and longing to have you but damn, did New York look enticing in my slumber!
In September of 2016, I unexpectedly received an invitation to accompany a friend and her family to the Big Apple for Christmas and I was totally floored – my secret wish to return to the concrete jungle was coming true… OMG!
Three months of planning and making arrangements for my daily life followed and by the first week of December, I was SO excited, I couldn’t wait to jet off to my dream city.
My travelling companion cancelled at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances and it devastated me. I felt like the same rejected kid I had been my entire life – always chosen last by friends, family, colleagues for everything.
It totally threw my life balance out of whack and I turned into this scared Moaning Myrtle who was suddenly too afraid to travel solo …who was this insecure person and what had happened to the fearless adventurer I had been before?!
After a few days of indecision and agonizing, I decided f*** it, I was still travelling to New York City … I was stronger and braver than I knew, I could do this.
Solo travel had always helped me discover myself before and helped me fall back in love with the independent, free-spirit I knew myself to be.
After a year of putting my family’s needs, my clients’projects and my friends’dreams before my own, I needed a time-out to just be me – to break out of the constraints I’d put on myself, to live, to breathe, to be me.
And that, Kids, is how I re-met New York.
Follow my Big Apple adventures on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook from Thursday 22 December, 2016 to Tuesday 3 January, 2017!