Posted in Traveling Adventures

Out of my comfort zone and into New York City

I consider myself a native San Diegan. Although not born here, I have basically been raised here my entire life. With the exception of a trip here and there to Vietnam and Orange County to visit relatives, I never really traveled outside of San Diego, let alone California. I was 23 the first time I even went to Northern California. Therefore, change has never really been that easy for me.

Living inside my comfort zone was really all I knew how to do and only until recently did I decide that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in this so called comfort zone. Although this zone was routine and safe, I also didn’t risk anything in this zone and therefore, didn’t gain anything. I was tired of waiting for the perfect time to do something and I came to the realization that sometimes, there really isn’t a perfect time to do something. You just build up the courage to take the leap and hope for the best.

This is how I ended up in New York last month…on vacation. Visiting NYC has always been on my bucket list, but I’ve always been scared of traveling alone. It gives me a lot of anxiety having to figure out transportation and I fear I’ll get lost and never be able to find my way back.

I had this silly notion growing up that once I’d start dating, I would travel the world with that someone. After coming out of a long term relationship with someone who didn’t really take initiative on that aspect, I realized that if I really wanted to travel, I’d have to do it myself. Money also played a factor, but that’s for another post. So when my boss emailed me about  a conference in New York, I decided to go for it.

I booked my flights. Researched the transportation system there. Asked a few friends if they’d be interested in meeting me in NYC after my conference. (After all, it is more fun traveling with people to share the experiences with.) And off I went.

And guess what? I had a BLAST.

I visited museums.

One of Van Gogh's sunflower paintings.
One of Van Gogh’s sunflower paintings.
Van Gogh's Starry Night at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Van Gogh’s Starry Night at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

I saw musicals.

Off to see The Lion King
Off to see The Lion King
Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder
Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Participated in immersive theater.

After our amazing time at Sleep No More at the McKittrick Hotel
After our amazing time at Sleep No More at the McKittrick Hotel – An absolute must for anyone visiting NYC

Did quite a bit of sight seeing.

Beautiful view at Central Park
Beautiful view at Central Park
View from Top of the Rock
 View from Top of the Rock
In the middle of Times Square
In the middle of Times Square

And ate a TON of food.

From street food to Michelin star restaurants,
You could say we tried eating our way through NYC.

I even broke off with my two main travel companions to explore the subway system and meet up with a friend in the city. I must admit though that this particular success was in HUGE success to google maps. I don’t know what I would have done without you.

So what are YOU waiting for? I had a blast on my traveling adventures.  Will you?

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Author:

My name is Mai and I am a graduate student pursuing a PhD in biology. When not hard at work, I can be found training for a race, traveling the world, or talking about Disneyland.

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