Two months ago I wrote my monthly preview post while sitting inside a cozy cafe in Notting Hill, London.
I had just flown in from Mexico, was knee-deep in fun research for a massive UK travel article (1 year in the making and still in progress) and was in the throes of a budding romance that was about to be continued during a megayacht show in Palm Beach, Florida.
I was in my element. High on travel and doing what I love most – roving from one place to the next.
Flash forward to the present and I’m back where I started – sitting in a cafe writing yet another monthly preview post. The motion remains unchanged but the sentiment is different. I haven’t left New York City in 8 weeks, all UK research is on hold until I return to London later this year, my romance fizzled, and it’ll be another 10 weeks before my travels resume.
For someone who’s not built for this kind of stillness, its stifling. I haven’t spent 18 weeks in one place in more than 6 years and my psyche is bearing the brunt of the associated melancholia and anxiousness. This is the most eyeroll-inducing thing I will ever say on this site and I hate that something so stupid-sounding is the only phrase that expresses exactly how I feel, but here goes – for me, traveling is breathing. And right now a pressing weight is constricting my chest.
I’m self-aware enough to know I need to get a grip. After all, no matter how heavy and real this dispiriting feeling is, I know it’s only temporary.
I’m just stuck in limbo. A place I’ve never had enough free time to visit until now.
Why I’m in Limbo, Briefly.
- I’m choosing not to travel this summer in order to travel more later this year and on into 2018.
- I’m launching a huge new travel project in November related to this blog.
- I can’t discuss any details associated to points number 1 and 2 yet.
See why limbo frustrates me so much? Not only am I so prepared for the above that I’ve hit all my deadlines leaving me with nothing to do but wait for the next round of due dates coming in August; but I’m also too far from having enough firmed up details to be able to divulge anything to you guys.
So, I just have to wait and hope you guys are patient enough to wait along with me and deal with my annoying vagueness for the time being.
I can tease that once August hits, there will be travel involving places such as California, Monaco, Panama, Colombia, and more.
I mentioned in my last monthly preview that I held a plane ticket to Barcelona for the end of April but wasn’t sure if I was going to use it. After much internal deliberation I made the tough decision not to go. There were a variety of factors involved in this decision and as hard as it was to clip my own wings, I made the right choice, in part for the same vague reasons mentioned above.
Therefore the past two months were mostly spent exploring New York City, with the first few days in April reserved for Memphis, Tennessee.
April and May Highlights
1.) I bid adieu to my twenties in Memphis, Tennessee. I was apprehensive about turning 30 and sat there as the clock struck midnight waiting to feel something. Like wise or old or depressed. At the very least I expected my biological clock to chime in with its opinion on my lack of desire to have children. Truth is nothing ever happened. Turning 30 feels the same as turning 29 did. And I’m cool with that. I rang in the I-feel-exactly-the-same-as-last-night celebrations with my childhood bestie who lent me a sparkly dress, treated me to dinner, bought me cake, and took me dancing at Raiford’s – one of the coolest, weirdest, and indescribable nightclub experiences ever.
2.) I officially became a real New Yorker. There are many theories as to what makes someone a “true” New Yorker, most coming from episodes of Friends, Sex in the City, and How I Met Your Mother. A few examples are stealing a cab, crying on the subway, and living in the city for at least 5 years. I’ve done all three but there’s another, less talked about initiation ceremony – getting mowed over by a bike messenger. This happened last Friday while crossing Broadway St. Thanks for adding me to the ranks NYC. My fresh scabs and I won’t let you down.
3.) Crossing off the first item on my New York City Summer Bucket List. I’ve been using Manhattan as a home base for the past 6 years and recently realized I haven’t done s***. Well, that’s not entirely accurate. I’ve experienced the local side of the city but never tuned in to the iconic sites and experiences that put NYC on the map. I haven’t been to the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island; I’ve yet to walk the galleries of the Guggenheim or see the landmarks of Harlem’s Hamilton Heights Historic District; and I haven’t met Tom Hanks atop the Empire State Building despite my numerous tweets trying to arrange a mutually agreeable date and time.
I know I shouldn’t be too hard on myself – after all I do travel 8 months out of the year – but these are all places I’d like to experience. So, I put together a bucket list of 30 iconic and touristy things to do in New York City. I’ll be working my way through the list this summer and will keep you updated here in the Monthly Recap/Preview posts. First completed on the list:
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden: a 52-acre garden just a quick ride from Manhattan on the 2/3 subway line, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden was founded in 1910 as a way to preserve green spaces in a rapidly developing concrete jungle. A sampling of their gardens include Lily Pond Terrace, Cherry Esplanade (home to the popular cherry blossom trees), various rose gardens, an herb garden and a Japanese pond garden. Its also home to many conservatories which include flora and fauna from tropical, desert, and temperate environments. Bonus: admission is free on Saturday’s if you arrive before noon. It’s a lovely escape and worth checking out if you a have a free hour or two.
1 site down and 29 more to go before earning the coveted I Heart New York t-shirt.
4.) I ran. Like on purpose. I know, right? WHO EVEN AM I?? Let me explain – you know when people tell you the camera adds 10 pounds? Well apparently this happens off-screen in your 30’s when your traitorous body starts gaining double the weight at a quicker pace than it used to. Basically you’re gaining two pounds for the price of one. So, yeah. I went for a run in Central Park on purpose.
5.) I also went spinning at FlyWheel. *Cue my friend Michelle yelling and cursing at the screen while reading this.* Michelle has been trying to get me to go to Soul Cycle with her for years. Her invitation is usually met with a hearty HELL NO, a maniacal laugh, or I’m-gonna-pretend-like-I-didn’t-hear-you-silence. I even skipped out on her Birthday Ride and her I-Beat-Stage-IV-Cancer-Charity-Ride (ok so I legit couldn’t make it to the latter, Im not a completely awful human being). But last month another friend of mine caught me at a vulnerable moment – naked in front of the bathroom mirror staring at 15 extra pounds of devoured bagel bites and ice cream sandwiches – and convinced me to attend a FlyWheel class with her. She also promised me brunch after so there was that. The verdict? I still hate spinning and will never go again (unless there’s a promise of food. Or alcohol).
Convo at @Flywheel this morning
FW: Welcome! This your first time here?
Me: yep. I don’t exercise.
My friend: I promised her brunch after
— Kristen Sarra (@NotouristISwear) April 22, 2017
Here, There, and Everywhere in Liverpool: the latest addition to my nonfiction travel narrative series, On Arrivals. Spoiler Alert: I basically wind up here, there, and everywhere in the Beatles’s hometown due in part to hatching a drunken escape from London, showing up with zero plans (or hotel bookings), and getting hopelessly lost in a time before smartphones and Google Maps. They always say it’s about the journey and this was definitely that.
The Port Wine Tradition of Portugal’s Douro Valley: this is an article I wrote for Coastal Lifestyle Magazine a couple years ago on the Douro Valley – my favorite wine region, I describe it best in the opening paragraph: “Rivaling the beautiful sophistication of the rolling hills of Burgundy and with hints of the refinement found in Napa Valley, this historic and lesser-known wine region rests upon a dramatic landscape wrought with sloping valleys, slanting hills, and pared by the Douro River that sinuously drifts between them.”
About Me: I updated my terribly staid and personality-free “About Me” page into something more, well…me. It’s a concise account of how this blog got started (hint: tequila and a sexy stranger play starring roles) and chronicles what content you can expect to find on this site now and in the future. Regular readers, this will be nothing new for you so feel free to skip it unless you want to see a pic of me stuffing my face with a sandwich. If you stumbled on this page by accident – firstly, sorry for subjecting you to my ramblings, and secondly, my about me page may be worth giving a quick read.
What’s Coming Up in June and July?
New York, New York
If you slept through the first half of this post – I’m not traveling anywhere until August.
I may do a few quick trips around NYC (think Greenwich or the Hamptons) but that’s it. Boring, I know – but I have a wonderful reason for it (one I’ll divulge the full extent of in the fall) and once August hits, the travel will be nonstop and full on. So bare with me while I spend the summer in the city catching up on various articles and guides. I swear there will be plenty of adventure and I have a full backlog of travel stories from around the world still to come. While physically I may be in one place over the next 2 months, the tales on this site will not be.
Not only will I be working my way through my NYC bucket list, I’ll also be using this time to explore (and write about) unique neighborhoods in the other 4 boroughs of the city – Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.
What are you getting up to this month? Let me know in the comments below!
Why Suffer From FOMO When You Don’t Have To?
The current Travel Dispatch journey kicked off in Panama on Nov 15 and is showcasing a classic “round the world” loop as I weave my way from Latin America to The Balkans, Eastern Europe to the Middle East, and Southeast Asia back to the US over a period of 12 months and with a budget of $25,000. Finally along live by subscribing below!