New York City, round two

Published 8:00 am Thursday, December 8, 2022

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Okay, this time, I give you permission to roll your eyes at me. . . I’m traveling again.
Next week, I’m flying to New York City to see the Christmas lights and the tree at Rockefeller. Hopefully, I’ll go ice skating in Central Park. Remember when I went last year? Allow me to refresh your memory.
Picture it: June 2021. It was my Year of New Things, when I was pushing myself to shed my old skin and do the things that scare me, the things I’d never do, the things I was too afraid to not do. In my Year of New Things, I was twenty-two years old and in a season of finding myself. (Don’t worry, I located her early that fall, and she was ready to be reborn into my new life and state of mind.)
This story starts kind of funny. As I said, it was my Year of New Things, so no one could stop me from going to New York. Not even my livid parents who were terrified of their youngest daughter flying to a big city with another girl they had never met.
I had thrown the idea around in front of them for a while about going there. Each time, they’d given me a big fat “No.” So what did I do? I booked a flight to LaGuardia and told my parents that I was flying to NYC twelve days before I hopped on the plane.
Were they upset? Absolutely. Was it an uncool thing for me to do? Most certainly. But I needed that growth. I needed the trip.
Picture it: I’m lugging my suitcase and my sweaty self through the subway. In Brooklyn, the train had sped into an underground tunnel, and a half-hour later, my world-traveling friend told me we were at our stop in Manhattan. I pulled my suitcase off the subway, up the stairs, and before me, at the top of the staircase, the light poured in, the trees becoming visible. I stepped into the light, onto the last stair, and suddenly, I found myself in the center of New York City. The Park was at my back, the skyscrapers on every corner, and a food vendor right in front of me. My smile was bigger than it had been in months.
It was a moment that made sleeping in the airport overnight worth it, and feeling homesick that day worth it, and my shin splints and swollen ankle worth it.
Now I’m booking the ticket for my next flight to NYC. Don’t worry, my parents are well aware of my intentions, and were quite envious that I get to stuff my face with the best pizza and bread in the world.
This year isn’t about getting out of my comfort zone. It’s about traveling within it.

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