I had originally wanted to post this earlier in the week, but due to a busy schedule…a week later will have to suffice.
This past weekend (last weekend) I had so many “firsts” crossed off my life to-do list. However, so much has happened that I can’t possibly fit everything into one blog post–it would be insanity. So, I decided to write two separate blog posts, one for Saturday and one for Sunday. Here it goes.
Rewind to three weeks ago. A friend of mine, Emily, messaged me asking if I wanted to go with her to an all day affair on a Sunday in New York City called Her Conference, an event through Her Campus. I’m not one to pass up an opportunity that gets me out of my comfort zone, so I accepted. I bought my conference ticket and was ready to go weeks in advance. I was thrilled to be given this opportunity because throughout the day we would listen to accomplished magazine editors and inspiring keynote speakers. Plus, meet girls not only from around the country but also around the world who share the same ambitious qualities as myself.
I booked my train tickets, connected with my aunt who lives in Manhattan (who thankfully let me stay with her) and spent my Friday night packing. Due to excitement and fear of missing my alarm, I only slept a few hours and woke up bright and early Saturday morning to make it to the train. I made sure to book the same train as Emily so I wasn’t completely alone. But, let me tell you, my first train ride was a great experience and I seriously wish I took the train sooner in life! Something about seeing so many professional-dressed people in one car made me feel rather important–like I too was on my way to a business meeting.
We got to Penn Station around 10:45 am where I met with my aunt and said goodbye to Emily until the conference. From there, I hauled my luggage to my aunt’s apartment and continued on around the city. I’ve been to NYC before, the first was the typical Times Square excursion and the second was a day trip to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. However, I had never been to Central Park or walked around the city in day light! So, this was my chance to see more of the cities treasures.
The first part of my Saturday was walking around the Central Park Conservatory Garden, not too far from the apartment. Although it was blazing hot outside, the shade from the trees allowed me to fully appreciate the gorgeous greenery.
Then we grabbed lunch at a cute little restaurant called The Barking Dog Luncheonette. What was interesting about this restaurant was that they allowed dogs (with leashes on of course) to sit with their owners on the outside deck.
After lunch, we made our way to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Currently they have a huge Vincent Van Gogh exhibit displaying his Irises and Roses. Unfortunately, I was unable to get pictures of the paintings due to their age and fragility. However, I was able to snap a few shots of The Met’s costume exhibit which featured China: Through the Looking Glass–which was absolutely breathtaking.
Eventually we made our way up to the roof of The Met, which had great views of the Manhattan skyscrapers. Honestly, they made my heart pound. Nothing more beautiful than a breezy afternoon overlooking one of the greatest cities–in my opinion.
Once the rooftop became crowded we decided it was time for a seriously needed coffee break. We could go to Starbucks–or an original coffee shop in Central Park. Obviously, we chose the latter. After exiting The Met, we turned right and meandered through the park. I was able to see the Belvedere Castle and walk through The Ramble–which was no easy feat and, seriously, not for the faint of heart. With winding stone walk ways and paths, it’s easy to get lost in the lush surroundings and stumble down The Ramble’s trail.
We finally made it to our coffee stop, The Boathouse. It was a cute little restaurant overlooking a lake in which people could row boats back and forth. Our next stop in Central Park was the Model Boat Pond, which was arguably my favorite part of Central Park. It had a secluded feeling to it, even though the gorgeous buildings peeked through the trees in the distance.
After our time in Central Park, we built up an appetite which led us into a quaint little Thai restaurant called Enthaice. I opted for pad thai (the usual) and ordered some interesting appetizers. I love little shops and restaurants in cities because if you were to take a tour bus or follow a tourist-y itinerary…you would completely miss these unmarked gems. Which in my opinion, makes them more unique and original.
After dinner, we got fro-yo and headed uptown to my aunt’s apartment. I spent the rest of my Saturday night reflecting on the past 24-hours, as well as preparing for the next busy 24-hours. I’m so thankful to have been given the opportunity to travel into New York *by myself* on the train and to explore the lesser known parts of the city.
There is nothing more exhilarating than learning through new life experiences. As a natural creature of comfort, I actively look for ways to expand past my comfort level and mentally, intellectually and emotionally grow as a person. I truly believe the best way to do so is to step out of the comfort bubble and find things that scare us, accept new opportunities and make experiences out of them.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built”. Well, Eleanor, I couldn’t agree more.
P.S.– Stay tuned for my post about my day at Her Campus’s Her Conference event!