Around the time that I decided that I would not return to university this year, I committed to a decision to, when possible, no longer delay my current happiness for the sake of potential financial stability later on. I decided to reject the mundane, and, with the knowledge that I wouldn’t be spending my fall in a lecture theatre, booked a solo trip that I had been considering for a long time. Three months later, I find myself writing this post from a hostel in Queens, New York City.
I will be going to a small concert tomorrow night via an online service called Sofar. On Thursday, I’ll be having a tattoo added to my arm by a man who’s work I have admired through Instagram for a long time. There is a climbing gym a five minute walk from my hostel, and a coffee shop on site. The hostel has a guitar that I’ve already been playing, even though it only has five strings. I had amazing ramen tonight at a restaurant that I came across by accident, that didn’t have a sign, and barely had a full sized door. I could easily stay within this neighbourhood for my entire trip, or make it my mission to explore as much of the city as possible. I don’t have many concrete plans for my week here, and, to me, that’s the best plan of all.
I can cultivate this experience to be whatever I wish. My extroverted self can thrive here; constantly surrounded by a wide variety of people. My creative self can flourish here, should I choose to nurture it with new artistic experiences as I fully intend to. In this city, in planning this trip as I go, I feel more in control of my destiny than I have in a very long time. Here, life isn’t simply happening to and around me as it did at school, I am choosing it over and over again. This level of independence, this complete freedom, makes me feel that I am not a passive participant in my fate. To a girl who has spent years choosing little to no major events in her life, doing what she has to survive and fight for function while missing many “normal” young adult milestones, solo travel is absolute bliss. To be honest, I’m a bit giddy with possibility right now.
There are people living in this city who, through hard work and determination, have accomplished the unimaginable. It’s an incredibly strange yet encouraging feeling to be, in a way, among those people right now. Maybe it’s a naive mentality to have, but this place makes me feel like anything is possible. Then again, the very fact that I am alive and here writing this is somewhat miraculous; who’s to say what the future can or cannot hold.