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!

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 City That Never Sleeps?

There’s something oddly comforting about being alone in the darkness. It’s more like a feeling of serenity, when the rest of the world is still asleep.

8.5 million people and I am alone on the street in the early hours of a Sunday morning. For a city that never sleeps, New York is eerily quiet on this morning.

There are no sirens wailing in my ears.

There are no honking cars.

And the car wash down the street isn’t open yet. No men rushing around washing tires. No water running off the sidewalk and onto the street.

The bagel place on my way to the train station still reads “closed” and the lights are off, the building dark.

I can hear everything better this way, though. The crisp morning air whooshing around, the streetlights clicking to a new color, and the trains rumbling on the tracks above me, all sounds so much louder.

There’s also something nice about having the streets all to myself. I don’t have to move over for someone passing, or watch out for dogs or children running down the sidewalk. And I don’t really have to pay attention to the “walk” symbol because there are no cars on the streets either.

I can feel things better too. I feel my lungs filling with air, pumping my body as I walk purposefully. I feel my feet hitting the crumbling sidewalk with every step forward.

And I feel my own heart beating, reminding me I am alive.

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.

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

Thanks for reading!