Destination Unknown

Destination Unknown

I remember the first time I encountered Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken”. I was in 6th grade and Miss Clark had given us the poem to memorize. When I shared this news with my dad, he instantly perked up (let’s face it, elementary school homework doesn’t often elicit parental joy). But this time? Here was his favorite poem — something he could share with his daughter in the form of homework disguised as life lesson. He sat with me as I attempted to commit each line to memory, reciting the verses ad nauseam.

” I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

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I Came, I Saw, I BlogHERed

I think I may have started this blog post 5 different ways. I mean, how else could I fully capture the BlogHER ’12 experience? After all, prior to attending I wasn’t a part of the BlogHER community.  As a PR gal I’d heard of the conference as the perfect avenue to reach women bloggers, but it never occurred to me to actually go. I have a small, travel-centric blog; a blog that really serves as a place for me to share my writing with others instead of keeping it tucked away into my trusty Moleskine. So the possibility of joining the ranks of fellow bloggers was slightly intimidating.

But as luck (and my new job would have it), the opportunity presented itself…a week before the conference began.

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A Twinge of Nostalgia

Confession: I miss New York. Or to be more precise, I miss living in New York.

It’s been a little over a year and a half since I said good-bye to the frenetic city streets, concrete and high rises to follow my heart to New Jersey. To be fair, I feel perfectly at home and content in a town 15 minutes from the beach, where, on a quiet and clear Friday night the light of the full moon blankets my bedroom in a luminescent glow. But lately, when I travel to the city for my weekly NYC work day, I find myself falling back into my old rhythm, taking up that brisk-paced walk, weaving through throngs of tourists and motoring to my destination with a longing in my heart for this loud, dirty city. It’s a comfort, a place I know well, even though it’s constantly changing – small bodegas being gobbled up by Starbucks and now (gasp) Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. It is always New York — vibrant and alive, diverse and eclectic.

It’s the distinct New York-ness that kept me there, longer than I thought and made it hard to say good-bye. But this new feeling of “missing” my old place of residence has me wondering, why?

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The People You Meet Along the Way

The other night on the train I sat next to an older woman, obviously not your typical NJ Transit commuter as she was nice when I asked to sit next to her and proceeded to engage me in  conversation (a rarity). Barbara from Avon, was in her seventies, with short curly hair and creased skin that told of summers spent down the shore. During the course of our ride, I found out she 6 kids, 17 grandchildren and had been in the city for a show at the Javits Center.

She was mesmerized and saddened at how much New York had changed in the 40+ years she had traveled up to the city. “Fifth Avenue is depressing,” she said. “In the 50’s and 60’s, it used to be the place to shop. Each store was so glamorous and enticing – you could window shop all day. Now it’s all the same, Gap, H&M, Victoria Secret. It makes me wonder, what happened?”

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Finding Home

Sitting down to write today’s blog post and it dawned on me that as of today, I will have written for two weeks consecutively. That’s Monday – Sunday (x2), an accomplishment in and of itself. Seeing today’s 30 Days of Indie Travel Project email, I smiled. A part of every journey is coming home. Whether it’s returning to someplace familiar or setting off in a new direction — it’s more a feeling and a sense of contentment than any physical address.

Day 13: Home

For some people, no matter how much they love traveling, there’s always no place like home. Other travelers make their homes wherever they happen to be. Tell us about your home – where is it and why do you consider it your home? 

Until I moved to New York, I never really had a settle down type of life. I always craved the next job or city — the prospect of moving to a new place, starting a new job and meeting new people held a certain allure. When the prospect of first moving to New York presented itself, I questioned it. Could I live to New York? My time in Boston for grad school had me questioning whether Nor’easters were worth the fall foliage and proximity to Fenway Park. New York was an entirely different beast.

Fast forward seven years and after six on the isle of Manhattan, I’ve moved yet again, this time across the Hudson over to New Jersey. A place I swore I would never live,* is a place I now call home. It’s here I find my respite from the daily grind, where I can hole up with a good book, write a story, spend time with friends and loved ones.

Until now, I had always eschewed a permanent residence, always treating my apartments as temporary dwellings. No need to invest in furniture or nice art, after all, it was never meant to be my actual home. Our place is an eclectic mix of our personalities and artifacts from our travels. The buddha head Marc bought in India, the cedar box with Mandarin carvings from the flea market I went to in Beijing are just two mementos that are sprinkled throughout our home that bring a smile to my face when I pass them. Marc and I sometimes wax wanderlust about places we could move to — at this stage, what the future will bring is anyone’s guess. But wherever we go, the relics from our past travels will come with us.

This post actually fits with a new favorite song, which reminds me of Marc. The aptly named, “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes is poetically beautiful, captures the feeling of love and damn, it’s catchy. The chorus is simple and I think best summarizes what domestic bliss means to me, “home is wherever I’m with you.”

*Note: my preconceived notions of New Jersey were formed by relatively few trips in/around the Newark area. I couldn’t understand why it was called “The Garden State” until friends moved to Middletown, NJ. They helped me see the light and in fact, thanks to their daughter’s first birthday, introduced me to my boyfriend and current roommate.