My only (so far) trip to New York City was for a work convention. The convention was two days and before the trip, I had requested an extra two days of vacation time to explore the city.
When I reached the JFK Airport, after an eight hour flight, on five hours of sleep, without having eaten since breakfast, I took a quick Lyft that turned into more than an hour of fighting traffic before finally reaching my hotel. Somewhere along that Lyft ride, I decided I hated the city.
But the day wasn’t over yet, I had to leave immediately for the meet-and-greet that further delayed food by another two hours. I started my way back to my hotel close to nine o’clock, and proceeded to get lost on the metro system. At least another hour spent before I reached my hotel again.
At this point in time, I really hated that city. That hatred wasn’t helped by my work convention starting at seven o’clock the next morning.
The convention turned into two days of frustration and by the end of it, I absolutely hated myself for those two extra vacation days when all I wanted to do was go home. The loathing continued as I moved out of my hotel to stay in an Airbnb in a less than savory part of Brooklyn.
The fear of being somewhere both unknown and where I thought I hated, was enough for me to start looking at any way I could back out and just go home early.
Luckily for me…
I wasn’t going to get my money back from Airbnb, and I hate wasting money even more than I hated NYC. Being stuck in the city turned out to be a blessing. (Though with some downsides. Namely catching the flu and being stuck in Detroit on my way back. But that’s another story.)
With two days of nothing to do and an Airbnb that was fine, for the most part, but not a place I wanted to spend any time in, I decided to make the most of my time. I spent the next two days just walking around Manhattan. (Seriously, my step tracker said I averaged 10 miles per day, both days. That’s my idea of a vacation.) And I loved it! I could never see myself living in NYC, but I’d love another trip to the area.
New York City still isn’t my favorite city to visit, but I’d love to go back and explore more. Not being able to back out of the visit, while scary at first, turned out to be a great experience. The highlight being that I found what must be one of my favorite Italian restaurant. (And I’ve been to Italy!) The restaurant, Becco on W 46th St., was one of the highlights of my trip.
(I know, there are probably hundreds of other great Italian restaurants, this one wasn’t even in Little Italy. Every other restaurant on that street also smelled amazing, but this is the one I tried, and it was great.)
Since this trip last year, I’ve tried to create a policy to not make a decision based on fear. Whenever I consider backing out of something, I ask myself if I’m basing that decision on rational or because I’m afraid of the unknown and change. More often than not, it’s fear.
(Ignoring fear within reason, of course. Gavin de Becker has a great book, The Gift of Fear, for when you should listen to your gut. I’m talking about all those other times when your fear is senseless.)