Goodbye Gotham!

Leaving & Coming Home, Lost Girls RTW Adventure, United States — By on June 16, 2006 at 9:20 am

It’s pictures like this one that consistently earned me the esteemed title of “Tool of the Week” almost every single week in college (Amanda dutifully posted the photographic evidence on her dry erase board), but after five years as a Manhattanite, I was confident enough to masquerade as a tourist during my final days here. Probably because I already knew the one thing that no guide book, narrated bus tour or famous landmark could ever explain to these passersby…that you have to survive the unique challenges of actually living here to really understand what NYC is all about.

Like many people, I moved to the city with just a few suitcases, a fistful of cash and one friend to my name (fellow LG, Amanda, who thankfully paved the way for me). I was completely enchanted by everything that New York had to offer from no last calls at bars, to half-price Broadway show tickets to the ability to get anything delivered directly to your door at any time day or night. Despite the staggering rents, inflated prices on everything from cocktails to café lattes, very close encounters with subway riders, shady landlords and other random nuances like that disgusting summer sidewalk drip, I knew that there was nowhere else I’d rather be.

Not only did moving here help me to get over long term boyfriend #1, discover the zany world of network television and learn to consider $1000+/month to be a perfectly acceptable amount for rent (for one bedroom in a converted apartment), I was finally able to connect with people who shared the same sense of passion, ambition and outlook on life as I did (including some of my best girl friends and long-term boyfriend #2). We all shared that common bond of survival; experiencing the extreme high and lows of living here and coming out much stronger people on the other side. But like a hit series, it’s best to go out while you’re still on top. It was so hard to imagine leaving such an amazing city, but I and my fellow Lost Girls were ready for a much needed break. So we did our best to prepare for the big goodbye.

During the few short weeks after our Bon Voyage bash, the mission was clear. Squeeze in as many happy hours, dinners with friends and impromptu get-togethers as humanly possible. Of course, trying to wrap up my final days at work, sort and pack up an entire apartment’s worth of stuff (which included rolling several huge boxes on dollies to the UPS office!) and finalize all of the last minute trip details, made it tough to squeeze everything in. At one point, Amanda and I hatched an elaborate scheme to hit all of our favorite hot spots and old haunts before our departure, but with so much to accomplish we barely managed to scratch the surface. Oh well, now I’ll have something to do when I’m back in the city, unemployed! (Click here to check out our hit list). In the end, I managed to squeeze in all of my farewells – but not without many cocktails and tears!

After living, working and partying in the city for almost half a decade, it was so much harder than I thought to actually say goodbye. Not only was I leaving behind a job, boyfriend and friends who I loved dearly, I had to reduce my life to what could fit into my parents’ minivan. We’d been talking about our big trip for so long, but now that the time was finally here, it seemed like everything was happening so fast. But with my ultimate travel dreams at my finger tips, I knew it was now or never.

Anyone who’s ever lived here can tell you that there’s one question we all ask ourselves. “Where do you go after New York?” I guess The Lost Girls have finally found our answer…the world! With the knowledge that our beloved island will still be waiting for us when we return, we’re heading out into the great unknown to discover other wild and exotic lands beyond the shores of Manhattan. And in the words of a New York legend, Old Blue Eyes himself, “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere!” Hopefully that covers tribal huts in Africa, homemade beach beds in Vietnam, tree top lodges in the Amazon Basin and sketchy hostels everywhere. I guess we’ll soon find out!

Bon Voyage, Big Apple! Next stop: Lima, Peru!

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