A plane ticket. One bag. And 300 dollars. Standing outside JFK freezing because I decided a $10 paper-thin turtleneck would suffice for NYC in December (not practical but anything for a look). As I sat outside waiting for my car to pick me up it hit me, ‘I’m in New York by myself with no plans. What the hell was I thinking? Did I have a slight mental break? Did I overestimate how spontaneous I actually was? Or had I watched too much Sex and the City and developed Carrie Bradshaw syndrome?’ Either way I was there and that’s all that mattered.
By Kennedy Woodard
Photography by Kennedy Woodard
Over the course of my weekend stay with a close friend, I learned more about myself and life than I have in the past 19 years of my life. For example, while in Murray’s Bagels (best bagels ever) I realized that bagels should only be made by the Jewish people of America and not by some chain named after a scientist. When I was drinking my cold brew from Stumptown Coffee Roasters (the best coffee ever made), I learned that I would rather risk actual hypothermia than order a hot latte. After stumbling into Allouche Gallery and wandering around for a bit, I discovered that some of the most beautiful things can be found in the small corners of the world. I walked and walked alone letting the smell of falafel and subway smoke envelope me and opened up my ears to the sound of music and angry business calls from men in stuffy suits. I was invisible. And it was terrifyingly exciting.
When we are little, we have so much imagination because we are born with that right. Anything is possible and magic is real, but as we grow up that goes away. Things happen to us and we change. Our experiences shape us into who we are, how we think, and what we do. So why can’t we use experiences to bring back some of that magic we had as children? There is nothing more wondrous than traveling solo. Everything you experience is with yourself and belongs to only you. Book that flight. Go and go alone. Be a kid again and go on the adventures you dreamt and read about in the books. Fight the dragons and explore far away lands. The world is twisted and scary, but there is so much beauty, art and people just waiting to be seen. Go find it and while you’re at it, discover yourself.
NYC Playlist- Songs that encompass my trip and played while I wandered East Village at 2 a.m.