I’m spatially challenged. That’s why I decided to lead a trip to New York City this summer.
No, but seriously.
It only takes hanging around me for at least 12 hours to realize how bad I am with simple directions, or my inability to tell my left from my right instinctively. I once took driving lessons from an older gentleman who was frequently frustrated with me, after discovering this. One day, slightly ticked off that I had once again made a right turn when he told me to turn left, he took a black ribbon and wrapped it around my left wrist. “THAT is your left. THIS is your right.” Yeah, not one of my proudest moments. Coupled with the fact that I am terrible under pressure, I do myself and others the favor of never playing co-pilot on a road trip.
This time, however, I had no choice but to say yes. My aunt had promised a trip to New York City to my cousins visiting from France. This was a dream trip for them and they were looking forward to like little kids look forward to Christmas. However, about a week before the trip, we learned that my grand-mother had passed away unexpectedly. My aunt’s focus had now shifted to preparing for the trip to say good-bye to her mother. Not wanting, however, to renege on her promise to her nephews, she looked to me for help.
I tried to explain my limitations, but alas, the baton was already handed to me and I had to run with it. Since we only had a few hours to spend in the city, we narrowed our visit to one location: Times Square, a place in New York City I had only heard of, but never been to. I believe that people fall into 2 categories when facing something they’ve never done before: there are those who get excited at the chance to prove themselves and learn something new, and there are those who hesitate, nervous at the thought of doing something they might potentially fail at doing. I fit into the latter camp.
It would be accurate to say that the “holycrapiveneverdonethisbeforewhatifsomethinggoeswrong” feeling never left me that whole week as I prepared for the day trip, bought tickets, checked maps, NYC tourist apps and talked to anyone who could give me advice.
Two days before the trip, I text-ed a friend who lived just outside of New York City: “I’m on “Mission: Get the French cousins to New York City”. HELP! Which train should we take?” I text-ed her our bus location and told her about some of the things the boys were interested in doing. She text-ed me back with the necessary information, as well as suggestions for places to visit and restaurants to check out.
We finally arrived in New York City on a very rainy day. I randomly picked a direction for us to start walking. Thankfully, the train station was only about half a block away. I made sure to have plenty of $1 bills because it took a while to get everyone train tickets (what are they called?). When we finally got on the train, I looked up and realized that Times Square was only one stop away. Yes!
Though it was raining, we were determined to have fun. We visited stores of interest to teenage boys, took plenty of pictures in the rain and bought souvenirs for friends and family.
The sun came out as we started to leave the city.
Despite the 10-hour bus ride (to and from), it was a great day and an experience that made me more confident in myself and my ability to take on projects.
It was an experiment in label-peeling: The Spatially Challenged leads a trip to the big city.
What else can I do? What else could you do?
I was in New York City with a few friends, last week, exploring as much as we could. From Chinatown to the Village, from Brooklyn to the Lower East Side, we tried to fit as much as possible in 3 days. Because we were trying to cram as much as we could in 3 days, there were times when I was just physically exhausted and didn’t want to keep going. Yet, their enthusiasm and the prospect of a good time and experience kept me going…and going…and going.
Here were some of my goals for the weekend:
- See the Brooklyn Bridge
- Eat good food (include plantains if possible)
- Go to a modern art museum and see an exhibition that makes the hair on the back of my head stand up
- Go to a spoken word/music event
We ended up doing it all and more, and meeting a few people along the way.
The day I got back from my trip, I read the post on Joel Runyon’s Blog of Impossible Things on how to make better choices. His main point was to say yes more often, yes to impromptu adventures and yes to seeking out more impromptu adventures. For a highly impulsive person like me, it’s easy to see it as, “don’t plan, just do”. However, as I read more closely, I realized what he was saying was more along the lines of “Plan…then leave room for adventure”.
Now, that my trip is over, I’m trying to see how this would work in my daily life. How do I take more adventures? How do I make more space to recognize and to say yes to the better choice, the better story, the impromptu adventure?