Erstwhile Expeditions is where I reflect on my past travel experiences. Thus far, I’ve described my early travels and my first trip overseas.
After returning from my study abroad experience in the fall of 2005, I was fortunate to find myself immediately occupied with sorority activities. These distracted me for a while, but I was soon eager to escape from small-town Texas once again.
Because of my intention to graduate within four years, a second study-abroad wasn’t a possibility; the programs offered didn’t include the classes that I needed. I explored other options and discovered a special program offered only to students in the communication department: a semester in New York City. I applied — and was accepted!
The program consisted of an internship, an independent study, and two courses that would cover various communication topics including cinema. Unlike my study abroad program, I would now be traveling with a group of 15 students from my department, some of whom I already knew from class.
As in London, I spent a lot of time sightseeing. I visited the Chrysler Building, Grand Central Station, 30 Rock, and Central Park. I ate dinner at Tavern on the Green, tried sushi and soup dumplings for the first time, and fell in love with the hot & sour soup at the Chinese food restaurant down the street. I devoured tons of excellent pizza.
I saw Chicago, RENT, Les Miserables, and Evil Dead: The Musical. I attended tapings of The Late Show with David Letterman and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. I frequented incredible theatres and saw a great deal of movies.
I rode the Ferris wheel at Toys R Us and the carousel in Central Park. I watched the animals sleep through the afternoon at the Bronx Zoo. I visited the Guggenheim Museum, the National History Museum and the Museum of Modern Art. I went shopping at Macy’s (yes, that Macy’s). I experienced snow for the first time (that I can remember).
I sampled as many cupcakes as my stomach could handle (my personal favorite — Tonnie’s Minis). I participated in my first karaoke night. I stayed out at bars into the wee hours of the morning. I got my belly button pierced. I dyed my hair brown.
When I think about my semester in New York, I realize how much I grew as a person in those few short months. For me, the experience was all about trying new things, stepping outside of my comfort zone, and being spontaneous. This wasn’t my original goal, but a result of being in a place that made me feel alive and surrounded by people that inspired me to come of out my shell. I learned a little more about what makes me happy in life, and have carried this knowledge with me ever since.
Be sure to read the next chapter of my travel series, in which I graduate from college and decide where to travel next!