Guess who’s leaving the country for the first time ever at 26? THIS GUY. This fall the trip will take me through multiple countries within about 10 days.
Booking my tickets was an adventure in itself. It takes some level of bravery and wanderlust to just hand over hundreds of dollars to go someplace you’ve never been before. It feels so freeing knowing that I have the ability to take part in this trip. We’re not chained to our hometowns or circumstances. There’s an entire WORLD out there to explore and not just in the physical sense and I think it’s time to expand my horizons on all fronts. Humans are funny like that, we’re always trying to push limits even when it terrorizes us. A trip like this puts things in perspective to what’s really important. Taking yourself out of your daily cycle to see life for what it is and could be will widen the tunnel vision that’s structured from familiar experiences. That’s the idea right? Every step we take is a step to becoming a better us.
I used to never want to leave NYC. I know zero languages. I’m not rich. Still, I’m about to embark on this journey and I’m more excited than ever.
Now or never. Let nothing hold you down.
So the purge begins. It took me a while to get to this point. As much as I desired to get rid of my belongings I just had this weird attachment to it all. That ends today. I pulled out a bin full of action figure props and poured it over my floor and organized it in groups for sale. It wasn’t even the actual figures, just a bin FULL of background pieces and effects. This is going to take such a long time to take photos, post online and ship but it has to get done. It should all be worth it in the end.
I’ll keep y’all posted.
A few weeks back my girlfriend visited from California and we went to a place very close to her heart, Chicago. I’ve been before but it was always just a trip to a specific location in the city. This time I had a guide and got to experience the richness of the city through someone who appreciates Chi-city. I met dope people. rode the train, ate amazing food, and visited the (Willis) Sears Tower. My girlfriend even got me to stand on the all glass balconies of the SkyDeck. I’m going to keep this post short, I just wanted to write it all down. Back to LA I go in a few weeks and I just want to keep traveling to new places.
My second day on the West Coast was a dope Friday. My host drove around a bit on a search for food and much to our chagrin everything was closed for New Year’s Day. Assuredly we found a place and got a bite to eat at cool place called “Sharky’s”. They were cool but from there things ramped up and we headed to Universal Studios! I had no idea Universal Studios was so close, you couldn’t tell me I wasn’t 7 again. I went to the one in Florida as a kid and it’s still one of my most fondest memories. Before we checked to see how much it was to get in we went to the Universal Citywalk outside to get some popcorn from a place called Popcornopolis. In short, it was delicious. So after making our way through the Citywalk which was like part Times Square part Mall we peeped the prices for Universal Studios. It was about a hundred dollars for the day and it was already afternoon so we had to pass. Next time though!! Later that night we drove to my host’s friends house and had a good ol’ time talking and playing UNO. It’s always great meeting new people. No matter where you go on this planet the people will always be a highlight of your travels. After we left we decided to get some good authentic California tacos. Not just good tacos but the best in the area..and where I made an awful mistake. Guisados was a nice little place with a concise menu with fresh ingredients and legit prices so I got everything I could off the list, including the Chiles Toreados.
I woke up and decided that I should have the Chiles Toreados taco, the only taco I didn’t eat from the night prior. It’s a decision I regret to this day. Not only was it spicy but it was relentless and I was stupid enough to try and finish it. The taco beat me and I had to throw out the last of it. I will always respect California spice. On a lighter note today was beach day and my host, her friends, and I drove to the famous Santa Monica beach. I lived most of my life as resident of Coney Island enjoying the Atlantic ocean but that day I got to touch the Pacific. I reached a new level in life and it reminded there’s still so much more to see and do. Being at the pier and at the amusement park I had to partake in a few rides. The coaster was cool though the ferris wheel was magical. I’m a sucker for ferris wheels.
In my short time on the West Coast I saw a lot. Hollywood Blvd, Sunset Blvd, comic book shop, Nickelodeon Studios, Klasky-Csupo, and more. I did so much I forget which days I saw what but Sunday night was memorable.
D O W N T O W N . L A
It’s funny, the whole time here all I could see was the frosting on this Cali cake but a trip to the downtown area gave me a good taste of that real. There were such an overflow of in your face homelessness. It was such a stark contrast from NYC where it’s damn near illegal to just sleep on the streets and they sweep folks under the rug. In LA there were blocks full of tents erected side by side. People pushed carts, chilled out on corners, etc. Still, Downtown LA has beautiful architecture and some of the coolest shops I’ve seen since I lived in NY. We arrived at Little Tokyo (Parking took quite a while) and that place definitely deserves another visit. I had the best bubble tea I’ve ever had in my life there plus I got to keep the cup also as a souvenir. We ubered (Homey had the stankest car. Two words. Car Freshener) to a bookstore aptly titled, “The Last Bookstore”. It was artsy, weird, grandiose, and hella interesting. A quick walk upstairs led to a maze of books then surprisingly to an art gallery. If you have time to visit one place in LA try to make it here. We walked around a bit more and got some gelato and me being the weird one got Rye flavor though they had a great selection of other totally normal and delicious flavors. We capped the night off in an uber back (Way nicer car and driver this time)
to little Tokyo where we planned to get Ramen but wanted to go home too. On the block where we going to get food there were about 5 Ramen shops and only ONE let us order to go. San Sui Tei, 313 E. 1st street, you got the juice. Do I even have to say it? THE RAMEN WAS THE BOMB DIGGETY. 5 stars. I ate mine and my host’s.
The day I left it rained. The first time I saw a hint of bad weather and it was on my way out from this awesome place.
Being raised in NYC gave me this naive idea that I had all the best that the world had to offer in one place. I mean, we have the most diverse city in this country, plus everybody comes here so that had to mean there’s nothing else worth seeing elsewhere. Of course I was wrong, there is no “end all, be all” place on this planet so in the spirit of this blog I ventured out. This time I visited the furthest place from NYC I’ve ever been, Los Angeles, California.
In the past I mostly traveled up and down the East Coast. Most of the Southern states were more of the same and the North was just as familiar. Moving to the midwest opened my eyes to a new experience. It was still America but a different flavor. If the Midwest was strawberry in the neapolitan ice cream box that is America, the East Coast is vanilla, and the West Coast is chocolate. It’s that different, first off let me explain this expedition. Flying from Milwaukee to Brooklyn you get to see cities, some trees, bodies of water, in short, civilization. The trip from Milwaukee to LA was like some new educational Universal Studios ride, “The Oregon Trail: Desolation”. I finally got to see the “purple mountains majesty above the fruited plains” I learned about in grade school. It was National Geographic all in my face. There were little to no buildings, just expansive beautiful landscapes that switched up from forests, to mountain, to desert, to plains and all within a two hour trip. I followed rivers, canyons, and whatever in between while on my flight looking out my window patiently for any signs of city life. For a while I thought my plane’s captain was lost and he was kidnapping us because I couldn’t fathom the famous glitzy Hollywood was at the end of this trek.
Of course I made it to my destination in one piece astonished at the weather. I’m not dense, I know the weather isn’t the same everywhere but still it’s an amazing feeling to know you just escaped the wintery hell of the Midwest and you’re now among warm sunshine and palm trees. I was euphoric, it could’ve been the lack of sleep, the long layover, the excitement, but in all I was up. The less than stellar traffic situation was quickly noticeable. LA traffic is just the fact of life but I was with it. The views along the highway were mesmerizing. If I wasn’t looking at mountains and palm trees, it was the Hollywood studios that create the shows and movies we all love. As an artist and lover of media it felt surreal, this was THE place to be. My gracious host continued to point out landmarks in the city, feeding my curiosity on the drive home. We stopped at Whole Foods on the way and even the Whole Foods seemed to have that Cali brightness. We pulled up to North Hollywood where I was to reside for the next 5 days and I couldn’t have been happier with my decision to make the trip. One thing I experienced firsthand, the temperature drop. Just like anywhere else, when the sun dips so does the temperature. Even with that it was a much better option than the negative temperatures of Wisconsin. My trip just started and it already was on a high note.
Haven’t abandoned this blog/goal yet.
I recently did the first round of selling my beloved belongings, yet I still have a long way to go. That exercise alone was worth a blog post. Soon after I mailed out the last packages it was time for me to leave on my first trip since I created this blog. This time I started off with what I knew, my hometown, New York City, to attend the 2015 New York Comic Con and visit friends and family. This trip was a test run of sorts.
Everything I sold online weeks prior funded the trip (except the plane tickets, I bought those months in advance) and I was able to continue projects while away. Because of the extra income I hit up every restaurant I could, seen the sights and met up with people I enjoyed being around. I hope my future trips are as fruitful. Let’s not get it twisted though, there was room for improvement. First off, I really need to invest in better traveling equipment. I brought my laptop bag and a backpack for a 2 week trip. It was filled to the max with my clothes, my tech, art supplies and I packed just a few hours before my flight left. Not the best idea but I made it work. Pro-tip, if it’s cold dress in layers. It’s a great way to bring extra clothes without having to figure out how to pack it.
NYC was fun but I doubt I will be revisiting there anytime soon. It was cool to see it with new eyes but my next trips won’t be on the East coast. I’m considering either Los Angeles, California or New Orleans, LA. I’m already planning since I have to see more of the US before that huge leap out of the country. And of course, I’ll let y’all know how that goes.
Just came across this article by Gloria Atanmo, a 25 year old black female who’s doing what I plan to do. Honestly, I backed up from the challenge of just leaving it all behind a bit in this last week. I’m growing roots here and this article, “7 Privileges I Was Made Aware of By Traveling” just cut them off. She’s out there by herself and I’m here slightly afraid of losing everything. I can’t believe I believe that. What really is losing is not at least trying. The world is terrifying and unsafe if we go off what we see in the news but then again I come from one of the grimiest hoods in Brooklyn, and I made it out. Well, I just made this post because Gloria Atanmo just inspired me a bit to continue the journey. When do I leave? I don’t know yet, keep reading and I’ll come up with a date. Right now though, the dream is a live and pretty soon I won’t be typing from my desktop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA.
Her website: TheBlogAbroad.com
Long journeys start with a single step, this blog is that step. I went over my options after a lot of research into traveling (there are a LOT of travel resources out there) and just myself. I’m not the nomad type so leaving and country hopping won’t be my story (yet). Instead I’ll have my place and travel in spurts for the coming year. Question is, where to first?