In a New York State Of Mind
I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember. For years, I would write in journals and scrapbooks and keep them hidden. See – my parents were both writers, and who wants to go into the family business?
Being a writer means you often do weird things – like collect interesting words or phrases or quotes. And one of my favorite quotes (ever!) comes from Mark Twain. In his book, Innocents Abroad, he writes “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
Isn’t that the truth, though?
I’ve long adored this quote. My favorite part of travel is not the architecture, landscape, or (surprisingly) the food. While I love experiencing each of those things, I’m most excited about meeting new people and learning about their unique perspectives.
What I love most about traveling is the way that it changes me.
On a trip to New York City, I watched my three-year-old challenge the notion that New Yorkers are rude, impatient, unpleasant, and unapproachable. While wandering around this amazing city, we constantly ran into wonderful people. The lady in Chinatown who insisted on holding her parasol over her to protect her from the hot summer sun. The bus drivers who all smiled and joked around with her as she exclaimed how much she loved riding buses! The other passengers who let her pull the yellow cord for their stops.
Everywhere we went – restaurants, cafes, Central Park, she made friends with strangers through easy conversations. Not once did someone shrug her off. She never encountered any rudeness.
At three-years-old, my daughter has a favorite city. As pure an extrovert as one can be, she’s exhilarated by the people all around her. She’s energized by the hustle bustle of the city – that constant movement all around. Things to see and discover on every corner. “Mommy, it’s not boring here.”
If you were to tell her the stereotype that New Yorkers are rude and impatient, unpleasant and unapproachable, she’d quickly set you straight.
Without visiting this part of the country, so different from our home, she never would have had this perspective.
When we travel, we open up our minds.