Wanderlust

I’ve wanted to travel for as long as I can remember.

Even just taking family trips as a child, I knew it would be something I would keep doing as I got older. Of course, as I grew up, my dreams grew with me. Going across the state, or making short trips into the bordering states of New York eventually wasn’t enough for me. I craved more. I wanted to see so much more.

When I was in elementary school my parents took my siblings and I to Florida and it was the first time I ever flew on a plane. It wasn’t until I was 22 years old that I flew again when my sister and went with my dad to myrtle beach for a long weekend.

It wasn’t just the flying that gave me wanderlust. It was the whole experience. Being in a new place and seeing all the sights, the people and the way they dressed made me excited and lively.

As I finished college, I considered the prospect of traveling the world and seeing all the places I had yet to see. But of course, straight out of college I had no money, a dead end job and loan payments on the horizon. So I put my travel dreams on the back burner and tried to live a happy, meaningful life anyway.

Fast forward and I’m 24, not so fresh out of college, living in Brooklyn and working (another!) dead end job as I transition to the city. The loan payments knock at my door every month, along with my outrageous New York City rent making my bank account grumble as the life is drained from it.

But my visceral need to travel is still there, poking away at me everyday, waiting to be brought to fruition. And the realization I’ve come to in these last few years…

If not now, when?

I’ve always felt (and forgive me if not everyone thinks this way, it’s just my opinion) that there is this whole world out there for us to explore and we would be doing ourselves a disservice if we didn’t try to see as much of it as we could in the little time we have on this earth. I don’t believe we were meant to see a tiny sliver of what life has to offer, but that we are supposed to embrace how others live, what they create and how they love. Only in doing so can we finally learn what our purpose is in this life.

That’s just my outlook on the subject. Roast me in the comments or tell me why you agree or disagree.

So where do I go from here?

I don’t have any concrete plans just yet, but there are some definitely in the works. I’m doing my research and reading lots of blogs about solo travel, tips for first-time travelers and the best destinations to go.

If you or anyone you know has done some traveling (or maybe writes a travel blog!) and has tips to share, comment on this post or send me a message using my contact page.

Contact Me page

Thanks for reading!

How Not To Die On The NYC Subway

Ok, ok. I know the title of this sounds a little dramatic, but let me explain.

The New York City subway can be a dangerous place, or as we New Yorkers prefer to call it, “the train”. In 2017 there were 181 incidents involving people coming in contact with trains, 44 were deaths. But I’m not just talking about this kind of death involving the subway, despite it being important. I’m mainly talking about the everyday hustle and bustle of riding the MTA. Whether you live in New York or you’re just visiting the city, here are some of the ways you can make your subway experience super fun more tolerable.

Since we already touched on the serious stuff, let’s just wrap it up here. Watch the damn gap, ok? The last you want to happen is to get jammed in that little area between the train and the platform. Did I create a horrific image there for you? Well sorry, but it’s no joke. I know too many people who know someone who has gotten injured from not paying attention to that gap. Or people who have witnessed someone fall in there. So just be careful ok. And do what the warning labels say. They’re there for a reason. Watch the gap, Stand clear of the platform edge, Do not hold doors, all that good stuff.

One thing I learned very early on while taking the subway was that if a car is suspiciously empty during a busy time of the day, you most likely want to follow your instincts and avoid it. If you make the same mistake I did, you’ll end up in a car that combines all the worst smells on earth in one; dirt, body odor, rotten food, feces maybe? Homeless people sleep on the subway all the time so do yourself a favor and try not to get stuck in a car they’ve made their home. And if you do, jump off at the next stop and switch cars. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Speaking of the homeless, (yes it’s sad to see all the time) some of them are straight up douchebags. Watch out for those ones. No one should ever be forcing you to cough up change if you don’t want to. If you feel compelled to give something, then be my guest. But remember that there’s tons of people turning them down everyday. Ignore the beggars and panhandlers who try to make everyone on the train feel like shit for not helping them. You can’t save the world with your coin purse. The only people I ever truly feel like donating to are the performers or ones that try to at least give you something in return. And let me tell you, there are some true talents out there. Violin players, singers, dancers, magicians, you name it and I’ve probably seen it on the subway.

Headphones are your lifeline in New York, if I haven’t made that clear already. If you wanna avoid being talked to by strangers, or worse, then pop those babies in. I wear mine all the time, whether I’m listening to music or not. It keeps the crazies away, ’cause you know we got plenty of those. Mostly I just do it for my own safety not because I think those people are nuts and not worthy of being listened to. I just don’t know what some of them are capable of and I avoid confrontation anyway so I’m not exactly inclined to get into a fight with someone on the train.

*Just a quick note: If you wear headphones, don’t forget to stay aware of your surroundings and pay attention to the people around you. Plus, you might need to listen to the train conductors announcements once in a while so be wary of that too.

There are oftentimes announcements that run across the screen on the train giving you warnings from the NYC police department just reminding everyone to keep their belongings with them at all times and watch for suspicious activity. The thing most tourists worry about with riding the subway is getting their shit stolen. Despite how rare that is, it is a reality. Be smart, keep your stuff close to you, and always in your sight, especially when it comes to carrying groceries or other shopping acquisitions home with you. Open bags are an easy target for pick-pocketers too, just as a general note. Don’t go all “clutching your bag for dear life” on people because that’s another way to direct attention to yourself. Act natural, but be mindful.

Most things about the subway, we just cannot control. The delays, the skipped stops, the smells and more importantly, the temperature. The train cars are all air conditioned, nice right? Yeah, sure. But the stations are hot as hell. Like unbearably hot sometimes. In the summer its terrible because you’ve already walked to the station in the heat and then once you get underground it just kicks up another 5 degrees. In the colder months it the opposite. You walk round on the street level with your fall jacket or your winter parka. But once again, you get down into that station and its a goddamn sauna. You really can’t win here, I’m just gonna be honest with you. So mentally prepare yourself for profuse sweating and uncomfortable stickiness.

Comment below if you have a good public transport story and share this post to save a life!

Thanks for reading!

The Mono Chronicles, Part 1: The Infection

While laid up in bed for days with mono, I joked to my mom that I should keep a diary of the experience and call it the Mono Chronicles. Of course, I said it then as some comic relief when I was feeling like shit. But now looking back, I should have taken some notes. Hopefully what I remember about the experience can help someone out there maybe going through the same thing or something similar.

So here it is, Part 1 of what I’m calling The Mono Chronicles. Enjoy.

Most of the time, when I get sick, I turn to Google to diagnose me. Of course, most of the time, it turns out Google is very wrong and I’m not going to die in 3 days.

So in April of 2018 when I got a sore throat, I figured it was just a symptom of a seasonal cold that would go away in a few days.

Boy was I wrong.

This sore throat was unlike any other I’ve had before. I had weird white bumps all over my tonsils, and it was so swollen that I could barely get food down my throat. Then I woke up one Sunday morning with puffy eyelids that I couldn’t explain. This then happened again on Monday and I felt like a monster so even going to work was a feat. I figured it was probably worth getting checked out by a doctor so I left work that Tuesday morning on April 24th to go to my local Urgent Care.

There they ruled out just allergies being the cause of this eye puffiness and sore throat. The doctor decided to test me for strep throat, a common illness indicated by a sore throat. My rapid strep test came back negative, but they informed me they would send it to the lab for a full workup and call me in 48 hours with the results. In the meantime, I was diagnosed with viral pharyngitis (basically just a fancy name for inflammation in the throat).

The doctor advised me to take Tylenol for the physical pain, suck on cough drops, and drink tea and lots of fluids in order to soothe my symptoms. These were all typical remedies for a sore throat that I’d used a million times in my life.

For the next 48 hours I prayed that I had strep so I could be prescribed antibiotics and get rid of this sickness real quick. I had already missed some days of work and I was feeling worse by the day. Finally, I got the call I had been waiting for. And the test came back negative again.

I was immediately disheartened and quite frankly annoyed with my diagnosis. There was still something very wrong with me and no one could figure it out. I called my mom freaking out, worrying that there was something we were missing. After she calmed me down, we decided it best to see another doctor. Instead of just another ER, my mom called up the primary care physician that my dad went to and I got an appointment for that Thursday the 26th of April.

I showed to my appointment that day in immense pain, exhausted and not myself at all. I explained to this doctor all the symptoms I was having, wincing with pain at every word (at this point it hurt to even talk), and after being tested another time for strep, she wanted to run a test for one last thing. Mono.

The word was already familiar to me. I had a childhood friend who got mono as a young girl. And a friend at work joked that I had mono when I told him how sick I was. But hearing my doctor saying it could be the cause of my symptoms was dreadful. I knew mono was not good.

Before I left the office my blood was drawn and after almost passing out, (I’m not good with needles y’all) I was sent home to rest and continue my regime of throat care. My doctor also prescribed me some mouthwash that was meant to numb my throat so I could at least get some food down.

A day later my blood work came back and my mom got the call from my doctor that I had been waiting for.

And it was both good and bad news.

What do you prefer to hear first? I usually always choose the bad, but that’s just me.

I had mono.

And the good news? At least I had a real diagnosis finally.

To be continued…

Thanks for reading!

Check back soon for Part 2.