In a New York State Of Mind

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.

 

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17 thoughts on “In a New York State Of Mind”

  • Lovely read! It always amazes me what we can learn from children! It’s sad that we expect an entire group of people to behave a certain way, when I’m fact they are all unique people with different hearts. Congrats to your kiddo for challenging stereotypes! Thanks for sharing!

  • This is so nice! This is what I love about travelling as well. Haha, I have been in New York this May for the first time ever (actually first time ever outside Europe) and was expecting to meet those rude New Yorkers. But no, everybody was so kind, positive and helpful!

  • I love this post. It’s great that the usual unpleasant and rude New York was challenged. So cool because there are wonderful people everywhere. I’m glad you saw the other side of New York.

    And hey, you’re an amazing writer.

  • Wow, I love this! And you’re so right about travel opening our minds! Before we moved to Germany, we had so many stereotypes about Germans, French, and most of the other European countries we’ve visited. What we’ve found through our travels is that the majority of the population goes against the stereotypes we learned. Travel has truly helped us grow and expand our thinking.

  • Lovely article, and I totally agree with how important travel is – it really does make us grow, and become more open-minded and tolerant. I’ve also discovered the healing effect it has on my anxiety, and I’m determined not to waste a moment in the pursuit of travel!

  • As a native New Yorker, I can attest that even though us locals may *look* unpleasant and unapproachable, we are in fact quite friendly and helpful – especially to tourists who have lost their way or are looking for something. However, I cannot contradict the inpatience – this is something I had to learn to fix about myself. And I did so mainly through travel! After coming back to New York after traveling long-term, I kept thinking to myself why is everyone in such a hurry!?

  • Loved this so much. Such an awesome message. Kids are just so good at being unaware of judgements or stereotypes. If only we were all like 3 year olds.

    • Yay! What a great city, full of awesome, kind, interesting people. We try to visit at least a couple times of year – especially at Christmas when the whole city is so beautifully decorated.

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