To travel is to learn. This is what I believe. Either we learn about where we go, about ourselves, or about how to navigate new, unseen situations.
These are good things, it’s safe to admit. And when one travels in a condensed period of time, all of these lessons are learned in more shortened time frame, often rubbing up against other lessons, and making reflection upon these episodes difficult. Not impossible, mind you, but difficult.
I have arrived home from New York City, having gone non-stop from Seattle early Thursday afternoon, and the schedule was chock full. There was no down time other than sleep, and I walk away from the trip exhausted, but sated.
Thursday evening, after landing? Drinking.
Friday? Bagels, The American Museum of Natural History, a quick signing of books over at the Downtown Barnes & Noble, and a celebratory dinner at Delmonico’s, where we talked about the “Eh, it doesn’t suck” review of Sweet Tooth from the Wall Street Journal (By the way WSJ? I’m so using ” ‘Kate Hopkins’ is looking for Mr. Goodbar with a vengeance.” as a blurb).
Saturday? A walk through Central Park, shopping around Union Square, dinner at an average Italian place that I had apparently ate at back when I visited Manhattan in 2000, the Lion King on Broadway, and then partying with my friends at a “club” until 2am.
Sunday? Deli for brunch, and then The Metropolitan Museum of Art for the day, followed by dinner at Adrienne’s Pizzabar, and we closed out the weekend with a passionate discussion about modern art (more on that later).
Today? Today was a travel day.
See? There was no down time. I say this, not to brag, as much as to reflect upon what we accomplished. My compatriots and I played tourist, full-on, annoying swagger, stare-at-the buildings, tourist. And it was ambrosia.
I realize that I had completed a rudimentary overview of New York’s history before heading to the Big Apple, and that, perhaps, it was supposed to influence how I approached the city. Perhaps I thought I was going to provide journalistic answers to journalistic questions about the city. Or perhaps I believed that I was going to treat the visit with a more academic perspective.
Instead? Instead I took the lesson I alluded to the other day: People go to New York to do stuff.
So I did. And it was glorious.
If I happened to learn a bit about the place in the process? That is what Bob Ross used to call “A happy little accident”.