What better way to start a new decade than traveling? This time around, the experience was completely different - I did something with my family that we had not done at all... we went on a road trip from Miami all the way to New York! It took us about three days to get to Manhattan, the hours were long but it was worth it. Some tips when going on a road trip that will take approximately 24 hours of driving: bring snacks, download movies, have playlists ready, bring a book, and making key stops along the way is always important. But most importantly, enjoy each other's company with whomever you are embarking on this adventure.
Our first stop was Miami, where we did not do much since we wanted to rest up and be prepared for the long road ahead of us. So we did very minimal shopping at one of the nearby malls. The next day, the adventure began. We drove from Miami and stopped at Orlando and stayed the night. Since we were in a time crunch (we really wanted to get to NYC as soon as possible to have more time there), we only went to Disney Springs. But, no matter how short the visit is, I will always have a blast in Orlando! Something we did not take into consideration... the weather. It was FREEZING! Always check the weather people... always.
Before heading out on the road, we decided to take full advantage of all the deals in the Orlando Premium Outlets - a definite must! I was on the hunt for a new backpack and anything else that caught my eye and would make an interesting addition to my travels. I was able to find a great deal on a Coach backpack and a Prada keychain that resembles Khaleesi!
Our next stop was in Savannah, Georgia. We decided that we needed to stop by a Cracker Barrel for some much needed refueling. If you have never been to a Cracker Barrel, I highly recommend it! It is a store with very peculiar merchandise and a homemade-style restaurant that serves breakfast all day round. My personal favorite is their apple cinnamon oatmeal with a side of their homemade blueberry muffin... a real treat! Once our bellies were satisfied, we drove for a few more hours and decided to stay the night at a hotel somewhere in North Carolina.
We powered through our third day on the road, completely determined to reach New York by 7pm. We only stopped for gas, bathroom breaks, and for a quick photo-op in Virginia. And guess what? WE MADE IT TO NEW YORK IN TIME!
Finally, I was back in my beloved city. I missed everything about NYC: the people, the atmosphere, and even the subway. But before I could enjoy being back, I had to deal with some unfinished business... cleaning out my storage unit. Before leaving, I stored all of my stuff that I had accumulated for YEARS in a storage unit. But, given that it did not make sense for me to keep paying for a unit if I was not planning on moving back anytime soon, it was time to get rid of EVERYTHING. I threw out most of my stuff, shipped some back to Guatemala, and sold what I could. I was beyond stressed trying to get this done as fast as possible, but in the end it all worked out. Now, I could enjoy my city.
I wanted to fall back in love with NYC, so my first stops had to be my favorite spots - as touristy as they are. I walked fifth avenue, stopping at St. Patrick's to give thanks for all my blessings, I was still able to see the Rockefeller Christmas Tree, and do some window shopping at my favorite designer stores.
There was no way I was skipping a visit to The Met, being that it is my favorite museum in NYC. I absolutely love spending hours in there, appreciating all the art and culture from all over the world. There were a lot of exhibitions that were closed, mainly my favorite one, but I got to see some new ones, so that made up for it. A quick tip about the museum, never eat there... you will spend a fortune. Make sure to eat well beforehand!
I also wanted to focus this trip on seeing all of my best friends, it had been months since I last saw them. My friends are my family that took care of me while I was in NYC, and I owed it to them to see them if only for a moment. So, we traveled all the way to Staten Island to meet up with some of them! And, since I was there... why not make my grand return to Wagner College? I was able to visit people that are dear to me at Wagner, and enjoy the nostalgic feeling of being back at my alma matter.
A spot I never venture too much in Manhattan is World Trade Center, despite how beautiful it is. Maybe it's because it was very out of the way for my usual commute, but stopping by there after visiting Staten Island was perfect. The area was almost empty and made it easy to take great pictures! So, if you want to visit the Oculus, make sure to go at night.
Given my love for the Upper East Side, it was only natural for me to visit it several times during my trip. I stopped by my old apartment, went to the Barnes & Noble in the area, and even had multiple slices of my favorite pizza spot in ALL of Manhattan, Arturo's Pizza. Trust me, these slices are worth the commute.
Even though I am trying to stay away from musicals I have seen several times, I simply HAD to go see one of my favorite shows, Phantom of the Opera! This musical never disappoints, the talent is exquisite and the production always blows me away. If you are visiting NYC for the first time, I would recommend Phantom or Lion King as your first shows, then try to see a rare one!
Dumbo is one of the hidden gems of NYC, takes a while to get there but once you see the view... you fall in love! This area in Brooklyn is incredibly cute and filled with great shops and locations to eat. But mainly, it's the view of the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges that attracts most of the tourists. I recommend going during the week and in the middle of the day. This way, you avoid big crowds and you are able to take the perfect picture.
One of the things you must do when going to NYC, is seeing the beautiful sunset from the High Line. If you have enough time, you can walk all of the High Line - stopping at all the cool activations, art installations, and food vendors along the way while appreciating the new architecture, and end the walk with one unforgettable sunset. Once the sun is down, head over to the Chelsea Market for some delicious treats!
Truly an incredible trip, and I was able to spend it with people I love. Every moment I spent with all of you, I will cherish forever! Thank you for welcoming me back to NYC for these days. I promise to be back soon!
Special shoutout to my love, Maggie, for having hosted us during our stay. Your hospitality will not be forgotten and has increased my love for you tenfold. I cannot wait to see you again soon... in Europe! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
Until next time. See you soon, NYC.