Why I left NYC

No one ever told us that some of the hardest decisions we make are going to be the ones that are good for us in the long run.

Life is funny like that though.

Something you’ve dreamed of since you were 16 could finally become true only for you to realize it’s not at all how you dreamed it’d be.

Funny how a job you thought was a waste of time and energy could turn out to be one you miss not because of how it made you feel, but because of how you made others feel.

This post is harder to write than I ever thought it would be…

I know it’s been awhile, but I have good reasons.

As you read this I am officially no longer living in Brooklyn. Actually, I haven’t been living there for about 5 months now, just my stuff has been.

I’ve just moved to a town north of Albany, NY which is where I also work now.

I came to the harsh realization that the big city life just isn’t for me or who I’ve become in recent years.

I have loved New York since the minute we met, 6 years ago in late May 2012.

And since then I have visited more times than I can count on my hands, lived there for a semester while attending school in 2014, and lived in Brooklyn for 6 months.

I will always love this city; it’s energy and the way it seems to constantly pull me back in.

But for the time being, we have had to part ways once again.

The main reason I left New York is because I changed jobs. It was just time to move onto something else, and the something else that came along happened to be back upstate.

And trust me, it wasn’t for a lack of trying to find a job in the city that I would love. Everything happens (or doesn’t happen) for a reason. And a job just didn’t happen for me there.

I guess the other underlying reason that I left the city is because I just wasn’t happy there.  And if there’s one piece of advice I give to you here, it will be this:

If you are not happy with your job and you are not happy with where you live, then something’s gotta give. One of the two has to change.

(Shoutout to my lovely Aunt for giving me this advice when I needed it most.)

In my case, both things weren’t going well. And because of the nature of the situation, changing my job also forced a change in where I lived.

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Until next time…

I hope that clears up why I’ve been absent for so long, and I hope you all will still continue to follow me on this wild journey. I have no idea what the future holds, but I’m excited for right now.

Thanks for reading.

Follow me for more posts, I promise it won’t take 5 months for the next one.

What I wish people knew about Anxiety

I’ve recently been more open about my mental illness and how I deal with depression and anxiety.

If you follow this blog or my social media you will know that I actually wrote a post talking about that which you could read here:

The Blue Chair

I wanted to write this post because I think people are quick to judge when someone says they have anxiety. Oftentimes anxiety is mocked and criticized for not having substance as a real illness when for the people suffering it is very real. Hopefully this post can help eliminate some of the untruths.

Also, I just want my friends and family who are supporting my mental health journey to have a better understanding of what it is I’m going through sometimes. So here are a few things I wish people knew about my anxiety.


  1. There are different levels of anxiety

I think first and foremost it’s worth mentioning that everyone suffers from a different level of anxiety. Every human gets anxious once in awhile, it’s a normal emotion. But we also need to be considerate of the fact that there is a spectrum, a scale. Just because someone else might have it worse than me doesn’t mean that my anxiety isn’t real or worth seeking help for.

Personally, I think I’m on the lower end of this ‘spectrum’. I don’t need medication to control my anxiety at the moment and I am grateful for that. It doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t still have to overcome it some other way on a daily basis.

  1. When we say we’re anxious, it’s not only an emotional thing

If someone tells you they are feeling anxious the worst thing you can say is something like, “oh stop worrying, it’s going to be fine” or “don’t overthink it, it’s not that big a deal”.

We know you’re trying to help but please understand that anxiety also causes a physical response that can’t be turned on and off by a switch.

When I’m super anxious I find that I sweat a lot more than usual and my hands will get shaky. My breathing is also labored and sometimes it feels like I’m sucking air through a straw (yeah, not so effective).

On days where it’s more controlled I’ll just pick at my nails or wiggle my feet a lot. Just know though that it lives with me everyday in some capacity, emotionally and physically.

  1. We’re not antisocial, we just have anxiety

I have a memory of my mom, sister and I being at a store together, things had gone slightly awry (we had to wait super long, or something was said by the person working there) and I started literally freaking out in front of everyone. Afterwards, my sister and mom laughed at how ridiculous I was being and it made me so angry and upset.

I felt kind of silly for it too, but I also wondered for a long time why I had gotten so upset about something so insignificant.

It’s not that we don’t like being around people but being in certain social situations makes our anxiety worse. If we don’t feel comfortable with the people we are around, our minds start swirling with crazy thoughts that make the time less enjoyable.

I personally avoid doing things alone because I have an extreme fear of being judged by other people. It sounds irrational but I always feel like everyone is watching me and I hate to think about what other people think about me being all by myself.

Please understand that if we turn down a social outing, it’s probably nothing to do with you and more to do with how anxious we feel that day.

  1. We often feel anxious for no particular reason

Some days we wake up feeling extremely anxious. There really isn’t anything particularly thing worrying us. We also have no idea why a certain situation might make us feel anxious, so please don’t feel bad if we don’t have an answer.

  1. We know that our anxieties are irrational

We worry about things that don’t matter, or we immediately go to the worst-case scenario in any situation. We know that we get anxious for things that aren’t happening for days or weeks and that it makes no sense.

I find myself lying awake most nights worrying about stuff that holds no substance (for example: the other night I was worrying about what kind of insurance plan I need to get… when I turn 26. IM 24 YEARS OLD GUYS). I lay there, my feet writhing under the sheets and my mind racing, wishing sleep would come. Anxiety, like any other mental illness can greatly affect sleeping patterns as well.

So I am sorry if I am ever rude or grumpy because I haven’t gotten enough sleep. And I’m sorry if I ramble about my worries and they make no sense to you. It’s just my anxiety talking and I appreciate if you always listen anyway.


I hope this post helped if you know someone who suffers from anxiety and are trying to better understand how to support them. If you’re like me and have some people in your life that you wish knew these things about your mental illness, feel free to share this post with them. Get a conversation started.

Here are some resources if you need more information:

ADAA.org

betterhelp.com

nami.org

Let me know in the comments if you’d like to see more posts like this or some tips and tricks on how I manage my anxiety.

Thanks for reading!

Pros and Cons of City Living

Living in a big city like New York can be fun and exciting. But I think sometimes we get caught up in the fantasy of it all that we forget city life has its shortcomings too.

Here are some major pros and cons of living in New York (or any big city) to think about if you are considering relocating.


Pros:

  1. Everything is quite literally right at your fingertips

Any kind of food you could want is most likely no more than a block away. There’s a coffee shop every 300 feet, no joke (which is helpful if you’re a New Yorker and run on caffeine).

Photo Credit: Haley Shatrau
Latte from Citizens of Chelsea, Manhattan, NY

You basically live in a gigantic mall too. Every store imaginable is somewhere in the city and there’s probably one uptown and one downtown for convenience. Shop till you drop is not just a saying here, it’s a lifestyle.

There are bars and clubs everywhere that you never have to worry about driving to or having a DD from. You just hop the train home or grab an uber.

And let’s not even get started on the amount of things to do in the city. There’s always a museum or art exhibit to visit, a show, a concert, a new restaurant. The options are unlimited.

  1. The Energy

One of the things that first drew me to New York was the energy here. It makes you feel something you can’t get anywhere else. It’s a sense of invincibility. Like you could do anything you wanted no matter how crazy it seemed. You can follow your dreams, be who you always wanted to be, and the city would help you manifest that.

It’s an inspiring place to say the least. There is always a talented person on a street corner playing music, performing a dance, or selling their art. Being around other people that are pursuing their dreams always gives me a sense of belonging. I never feel alone in following my dreams either; we’re all in it together.

  1. Always a stunning view

New York is beautiful; there is no doubt about that. Most big cities are. There are so many pretty sights that you never get bored of for some reason.

Of course the NYC skyline is famous for it’s stunning view, but here are some of my favorite little spots that are just as gorgeous in my opinion.

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Grand Army Plaza near Prospect Park in Brooklyn

Photo credit: Haley Shatrau
View from piers on the Westside Highway

And I can’t forget to mention not only the beauty of the city, but also the entertainment of the other sights. It wouldn’t be New York without the crazy man offering hugs in Union Square dressed in all tie-dye. There’s always something interesting to look at. Big cities are the best for people watching in general.

Cons:

  1. The Job situation

The one good thing about New York is that there are always jobs out there.

Just not always the jobs you want. Actually, rarely the job you want.

Tons of retailers and restaurants are hiring constantly, but be prepared to only make minimum wage. Sure, New York is a city full of opportunity. But you have to be willing to fight for those opportunities.

There is competition in almost every industry because the city is so densely populated with educated, talented individuals. And finding the ways you stand out from the rest isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to do.

  1. Loneliness is real

I know, I know. 8.6 million people, how could you possibly feel lonely?

Well, it’s the truth. In a city full of people, I oftentimes find myself feeling extremely alone.

Everyone here is super busy. We honestly just don’t have much spare time to hang out with people. And if we do, it’s not much. Or we’re sacrificing doing other things like grocery shopping, laundry, and sleeping.

Take the subway once or walk down a crowded street and count how many people have headphones in their ears. The culture in New York that makes us feel alone is one we have created ourselves. We shove our headphones in and tune out the world. Therefore, tuning out human-to-human interactions.

In the end, I guess it’s our own fault that we’re all lonely af.

  1. The Daily Grind

The major con for me at least, is that New York life is a grind on a day-to-day basis.

Everyone lives on a very tight schedule because if we didn’t we wouldn’t have enough hours in the day to get everything done.

We spend so much time waiting, in lines, for trains, for our laundry to be done.

To give you an idea, here is a little breakdown of how long things take me personally:

Train to and from work: 37 minutes each way (without delays)
Laundry: Minimum of 45 minutes, Max of 1 hour 15 minutes
Time I waited in line at Whole Foods on a Thursday night: 25 minutes
Picking up a mobile order at Starbucks: 15 minutes

Don’t even get me going on the Starbucks thing, I love them and their chai tea lattes but, c’mon.

You see my point though. If your time is precious, maybe consider your other options as opposed to a big city.


City life can be extremely fulfilling for some and frustrating for others. Hopefully this little Pro/Con list helps someone out there trying to deicide whether to move to the city or not. I love making lists so share some of your Pro’s and Con’s about city living in the comments below, I’d be interested to see what you guys think.

Thanks for reading!

The Blue Chair

My palms are sweating, but who am I kidding, they always sweat like this. My heart is racing and I feel it beating hard in my chest. I pace the hall, checking my phone to make sure I am on the right floor, in front of the right room. I have no idea who will be on the other side of this door but I reach for the doorknob anyway and push it open knowing there’s no turning back now.

And then I am there, situated awkwardly in a low blue fabric-covered chair. It’s the kind of chair I was expecting, I guess. Typical. Normal. I am sitting on the edge of it, my back miles from the actual back of the chair. My feet are firmly planted on the floor, hoping that will keep me from floating outside of my body.

Then I do what you are supposed to do here, I just start talking…


I’ve finally been honest with myself, so I think it’s time I’m honest with the rest of the world.

I struggle with depression and anxiety.

Sitting across from a therapist was quite possibly the last place I thought I would find myself. But there I was, after months of fighting myself over it. I almost cancelled the appointment more than once and let’s not even get started with how many times I dialed the office number and hung up before someone answered.

I spent so long not seeking help because I didn’t know how to talk about it. And part of me was so afraid of what people would think, so ashamed of what I felt.

I reached a point where trying to handle it on my own was starting to get overwhelming.

So I decided to ask for help.


That blue chair eventually became more and more familiar. I didn’t sit so awkwardly in it after a while. It started to feel comfortable even.

Unfortunately my therapist moved her office and the blue chair turned into this really modern looking red chair. But it was just as comfortable because it wasn’t actually about the chair at all. It was that I finally had someone to listen to me and validate the things that I was feeling.


We live in an unfortunate world where there is a stigma about mental illness and it is greatly underrepresented in the health industry.

I’ve come to realize recently that my voice does matter in all this. I may be just one person, but I am one of many who are fighting everyday to live a happier and fuller life.

I started this blog not really knowing where it would go or what kind of content I would post. I think if I am to do it any justice, I need to use this platform to talk about things that matter, things that people are afraid to talk about. So I hope you will continue to read all my posts, not just the funny, helpful or quirky ones but also the ones that involve mental health.

I am not going to pretend for one minute that it was a simple choice to ask for help. It was hard, almost impossible. And every single day is hard. I will never regret asking for help, though.

One of the things my therapist said to me on that very first day was, “You are brave. Don’t ever forget that.”

I no longer feel ashamed talking about my mental health and neither should anyone out there who is struggling. Despite how hard it may be to get the words out the first time, I hope you find a way to say them.

And when you do, just know:

You are brave. Don’t ever forget that.

Thanks for reading.

Here are some helpful resources if you or someone you love is dealing with depression or anxiety. And please remember that you are not alone. There is always someone who will listen, including me.

My Contact Page

Depression Resources

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: Call or text 1-800-273-8255  Or visit

Anxiety Resources

Link to BetterHelp- an online counseling service

Autumn.

It’s taken me almost my whole life to decide which season I like best, but I think I’ve finally come to the conclusion that Fall is my favorite time of year. Living in New York State has given me a pretty good taste of each season and the different things they offer us.

Here are the reasons I like Fall best that might just make you fall for it too.

  1. The Colors/ Weather

I’ve never been a fan of sweating profusely, as I imagine not many people are. I prefer to be a little chilly, but not shivering. So Fall is the perfect happy medium for me.

I always loved watching the trees change color in my front yard as a child. Something about those burnt oranges and vibrant reds gave me a sort of comfort that change could still be good and beautiful. Fall reminds us how lovely it can be to let go of dead things.

  1. Clothes

Fashion really isn’t my thing, but I always feel the most fashionable in Fall. I think the kind of clothes that are popular this time of the year are just effortless and easy to wear so even the most mediocre stylist can pull together a great outfit.

You can’t go wrong with a great pair of tall boots or cute ankle booties. And let’s not forget that Fall marks the start of sweater season (the coziest of all clothes).

Jackets are also one of my favorite things. This is just a great time for layering, honestly, and who doesn’t love a good, layered look.

Here’s me in an apple orchard looking content amidst the blossoming fruit wearing a corduroy jacket (yes, corduroy is back kids. Go raid your moms closet).

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  1. Foods

One of the best things about Fall is the foods that you get to spoil your taste buds with. Nothing is better than a crisp apple on a windy day. And of course there’s apple cider (spiked or not, it’s still good), apple pie and homemade applesauce. In case you can’t tell, I’m a fan of apples.

And then we have pumpkin season (you didn’t think I was gonna write a whole post about Fall and not mention PSL’s did you?). Starbucks brings back their classic pumpkin spice lattes and white girls around the country go crazy. I won’t lie, I’ve succumbed to it’s deliciousness on a few occasions.

But it’s worth mentioning that pumpkin plays a role in other delicious dishes like pie and soup and even as a topping for oatmeal. I love mixing some pumpkin puree with cinnamon, maple syrup and other spices to make a topping you can throw on almost anything.

Actually, here’s a link to really simple and yummy sounding pumpkin oatmeal recipe just so you get the idea.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal By damndelicious.net

4.Things To Do

And most of all, I love Fall because of all the Fall-type shit you get to do. Plus, no one can judge you because they’re all doing it too. Lol.

https://fitt.co/pittsburgh/apple-picking-pittsburgh/

Some of my favorite things apple picking with my family or friends, getting pumpkins from a patch to carve for Halloween, and going for long walks on a brisk day bundled up in jackets and scarves.

I remember loving to play outside when I was young and run through piles of leaves and explore the woods behind my house during autumn. Something about this time of year made it more fun to play outdoors. Maybe it was the acorns falling from the trees, or the leaves changing color and falling to the ground. Or maybe it was just the inevitable truth that the days would soon get shorter and being outside would come to an end.

I hope this post has given you some ideas of fun things you can do this Fall. I know I’ll be doing as many of them as I can and indulging in all the flavors Autumn has to offer.

Comment below some other fun things to do when the leaves change color or other great recipes you make this time of year.

Thanks for reading!

The In-Between

When I moved to New York I didn’t have a job waiting for me. I had a plan, and I had an opportunity that would make me some cash until that plan could be brought to fruition.

But basically I moved here jobless.

For about a week I sat in my apartment alone, bored and completely regretting my choice. Eventually, I got a part time job that made the days pass. Yet it wasn’t something I wanted to last long. Just a couple weeks until I could work out the kinks of my plan.

But a couple weeks turned into a month, two months, and now it’s five months later and still it drags on. I feel stuck in this “in-between” job. A job that was never supposed to be Plan A.

So in order to keep myself going, to see the light at the end of this dreary tunnel, I’ve compiled a list of things to remember in this type of situation.

If you’re stuck in a kind of “in-between” job situation, hopefully this is hopeful to you as well.

  1. Don’t stop looking for new opportunities

I get it, it get’s disheartening applying to countless amounts of jobs and hearing nothing back or worse, getting a rejection. Those emails are going to keep coming. The ones that say “we regret to inform you…” But that’s ok. Keep sending in those applications because it’s a lot like the lottery; you can’t win if you don’t platy. You increase your odds of getting an interview if you apply to more positions. So set aside a time maybe once or twice a week to just pound out a few dozen apps and you’ll see results. The law of probability guarantees it.

  1. Keep in contact with all contacts

It’s so important to keep in touch with the hiring managers or point of contacts for the positions you are super interested in. They like to see people taking initiative and that might set you apart from every other resume sitting on their desk. So follow up with emails, or phone calls, whichever suits the situation. And don’t forget about the people you know who knows someone, or might know someone. Keep in touch with them as well as they could be the difference between you and another candidate if references play a huge role.

  1. Learn to manage your anxiety about it

If you’re anything like me, I let myself get worked up and anxious over everything. Especially when it comes to jobs. I have learned though, that there is only so much I can control. As long as I am doing everything I can, I have to let what happens happen. So fill out your applications, make your phone calls and send follow up emails and then wash your hands of it. If it is meant to be, it will be. Don’t let your daily life be stressful and anxiety ridden over things you cannot change.

  1. Don’t lose hope

Super cliché, I know. But I have to remind myself everyday to keep being grateful for the things I have and be hopeful for what is to come. If you find yourself at a low point, lean on your friends and family for support. My mom has been an amazing force in all this for me. She reminds me daily that I can do the things I set my mind to and inspires me to keep going. Find the people in your life that do that for you, and reach out to them in hard times. It will make all the difference trust me.

And if you don’t have someone like that, I’m always here if you need to talk! The Internet is a great place to meet people going through similar things.

 

I think there comes a point where we all find ourselves in some sort of “in-between”. It may be in a job, in a relationship, in a certain living situation, or maybe just in life. We feel sort of lost, but that’s ok. Because the important part is that it is only temporary. And we have to begin to let the word temporary take on a different meaning. It doesn’t have a specific time frame, so why do we always put so much emphasis on it being short lived?

All good things come to those who wait, right?

So let’s at least enjoy the wait and stay excited for all that is to come.

Thanks for reading!

How to Survive Long Trips

The only shitty part about living so far away from where I grew up is that the trip home is a real journey.It usually involves a subway ride (or two), a train ride and sometimes a few hours in the passenger seat of a car. Most times it rounds out at about 6 hours, sometimes more or less depending on how much time I spend waiting or being delayed. But I’ve become somewhat of a “professional traveler” based on the amount of times I’ve taken this trip.

So, I figured I would share my tips for surviving long (and boring) trips back home or to wherever you want to go.

Tip #1: Luggage

Carrying heavy bags through the subway and up and down stairs in any station while you’re traveling can be absolute misery. So do your best to pack light, especially when you’re only spending a few days somewhere and not attending any special events. I get it; once in a while we need to pack extra because we have a wedding or a party to attend. And that’s perfectly fine. I find that picking out an outfit for the event in advance (shoes, accessories and all) and trying it on helps ensure you’re not over packing.

I recommend a backpack or some sort of large tote bag as a “carry-on”. Something you can jam your smaller handbag in but still have room for things you’ll want for the trip. It’s much easier to have one bag while trying to maneuver through isles of a train car or bus. Also be sure to check the limits for your specific type of transportation. Some have weight limits or bag limits for luggage depending on what you choose.

Tip #2: Getting the best seat

Ok, this is probably the most important tip I’m gonna give you. If you’re anything like me and like to have your choice of seat and are also mad awkward about asking complete strangers if you can sit with them, then listen up. Get there earlier than you think you need to be.I’m serious. If your ticket or reservation says “passengers should arrive 20 minutes prior to departure for boarding”, cool, so get there 30 or 45 minutes in advance. Trust me, you’ll beat everyone there and most likely be the front of the line, if not the first person (I have been first before lol it’s great). This is also important because most buses and trains do not have assigned seats. It’s a first come first serve basis.

*Pro-tip: If you wanna cop a seat alone, get there early, grab a window seat and jam all your shit in the seat next to you. Then pop in some headphones and look longingly out the window. Most people will be way too considerate to interrupt you to ask if they can sit there. (Only time this doesn’t work is when there’s a full train/bus and every seat hasto be used.)

Tip #3: What to bring for the journey

When it comes to packing things for a long trip, here are some essentials. These also come in handy when there are delays (yes, they are inevitable sometimes) and you need to pass some time while you wait.

  1. A good book- I love packing a book, whether I’ve read it 3 times already, just started it yesterday, or its been sitting on my shelf for months. There is no better time to get into a book than on a long, quiet train ride with nothing else to do.
  2. My laptop- It’s always with me for numerous reasons. One being the fact that I write this blog and I never know when inspiration may strike or if I need to get a post up while traveling. I also love being able to watch Netflix or YouTube or browsing online when the onboard Wi-Fi works.
  3. Headphones- These are essential for me anytime I set foot outside my house, but especially on a long trip because I find that listening to music passes the time just as much as reading a book does. It’s also the perfect time to find new music or explore different playlists.
  4. Snacks- Buying food on a train is soooo expensive, so don’t waste your money on that. And obviously on a bus there is no café car so I prefer to bring my own snacks and usually water (lately sparkling, or a seltzer because I’m obsessed with them). Bring easy things like nuts, chips, or fruit that doesn’t make a mess. Don’t go whipping out your moms homemade lasagna. Trains rides are usually smooth but not thatsmooth.

Tip #4: How to deal with people

We know it’s going to happen once in a while; that noisy kid that won’t stop screaming in the seat behind you or that guy that’s talking mad loud on his phone the entire ride. The thing I’ve learned while doing all this traveling is that you can’t control other people. You can just be a good human and hope that others will follow your lead. I try my best to help anyone who hasn’t traveled much and is confused or lost, and I always act respectful of others personal space and the public spaces I’m sharing. If someone is doing something super annoying, don’t be afraid to talk to the staff on the train or bus because you paid for your ticket just like they did and you deserve to enjoy your trip as well. Or if you’re gutsy enough, stand up to the person yourself and express your opinion about their rude actions. It just may save you and the other passengers some headache.

 

I hope these tips will help make your next trek a little easier. Comment below if you have any other useful tips to share, I’d love to hear them! Follow this blog for future travel posts.

Thanks for reading!

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.

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Thanks for reading!