I’ve always been a firm believer in spontaneity. A wanderer at heart, with the hugest appetite for adventure -I find that most of my impromptu decisions result in me wanting more afterwards, with no regrets. Growing up under the strict rules of an over-protective parent, you can imagine how suffocating it felt for me to not always be able to express that side of my nature at my leisure. Fast-forward a year after high school graduation & one full-time summer job later, I was ready to start making some exciting plans.
Planning for the city
When my best friend, Nicolette & I went for coffee one day in summer 2015, (we do that a lot – it’s kind of our thing) something not-so-typical happened. We were looking at airfare deals to New York for that upcoming December. (FINALLY -a friend who’s down to adventure with me!) She & I are both December babies so it was the perfect way for us to celebrate our birthdays PLUS who wouldn’t want to spend New Year’s Eve in NYC? We were really eager to find tickets at a reasonable price – as most broke college students would be. Most fares were in the $800+ range which was slightly discouraging but then we came across a deal for $500 round trip! [I should mention, we’re in the southern California area] We both looked at each other, talked about it for like two minutes, came to the conclusion that we probably wouldn’t come across a better deal for those dates & booked the tickets. I remember having exactly $500 in my savings so it seemed kind of perfect at the time. That was that.
As anyone could probably guess, I was thrilled. Broke, but thrilled. I feel like there are landmarks of achievement everyone new to the “adulting” world goes through. Some get their driver’s licenses. Others may lease a new apartment or car. Perhaps when one files their taxes – who knows. Buying this ticket & planning for this trip was my landmark. As cheesy as that is. Now, I’ve always been into traveling. I was easily inspired by documentaries I’d watch of places you always hear about & see in movies. However, the most experience I ever really got was from family road trips I’d occasionally go on, growing up or visiting Mexico with relatives from there. At one point, I lived on the east coast & would take frequent trips back & forth to California (once even by train -probably what ignited my fondness for them) Going to New York at 19 though, without my parents’ supervision… now this was new. This was exciting. The closest thing I experienced to it was a trip to Hawaii for my birthday the year before -paid for by my kooler, younger sister, Rebecca. This time, I was able to say that I did it all by myself… A peace of mind for an independent soul & aspiring traveler.
A few months went by & at this point, I know I’m excited because suddenly I’m not counting down the days until Christmas -I’m counting down the days until our flight to JFK leaves (& the end of finals week of course). As time promises, the day was approaching & all I needed to worry about was my credit card arriving in time (I wanted to ball in New York instead of bawl in New York) & getting the week I requested off, approved from my work. Funny enough, my credit card arrived the day of my flight -at my old address which I had to drive two hours to & then back, to retrieve in time -A great example of life working out the way it typically does in the Classic Tales of Celena™ I wish I could say that that was the most significant event to have taken place that day for me but it wasn’t. Several days before that, I spoke to my boss to confirm that she gave me the days off. We would always work opposite schedules so communication wasn’t ever easy, especially when it’s the holidays & you’re going to school full-time. Anyway, I assumed that since I had already mentioned my trip months prior during my interview, requested the days off weeks in advance, WORKED CHRISTMAS & well, she didn’t tell me otherwise, that I would most likely get the days off… I mean, right? Wrong. Oh so wrong. When I asked her about it she was so indifferent with telling me that I wouldn’t get the week off because technically it was still the holidays. Ouch. About $500 down the drain worth of ouch. Or was it? I decided to put a smile on my face, attempted to sound understanding & worked the rest of my shifts for that week to get as many hours in as possible since it was very likely that I would no longer be employed after job abandonment. My logic; this ticket was nonrefundable, I’m hungry for travel & entry level jobs are always going to be available -opportunity won’t be. Long story short, you know that lyric in Riptide that goes “…this guy decides to quit his job and heads to New York City” well, that’s basically what happened. (Vance Joy gets me)
It was the day of my flight & I had to finish packing properly, pick up a credit card, drive to my friend’s who was taking us to the airport & oh yeah, quit my freaking job. All last minute because I’m a procrastinator at heart even when it comes down to things like job resignation -classy. The scenario went as one might expect; awkward & unpleasant but necessary. After that was finished, I headed over to Nikki’s where our friend then took us to LAX. We got the red eye so we left at about 7PM to beat any traffic & make it in time to check through security. Nikki had some ID issues at the time, (that’s another story LOL) so we wanted to get there early just in case there were complications. We managed to get to our gate with two hours to spare & if there was one thing I had previously learned about flying, it was that you want to make sure your belly is full & your electronic devices are fully charged. Those 5+ hour flights can be killer. So we filled up our tummies with mediocre airport food, charged our phones & before I knew it, it was time to board. We were to arrive at JFK the next morning at approximately 6:30AM local time where we’d take a cab to our Airbnb in Brooklyn. It was all figured out & happening finally. The adventure was just a plane ride away…
New York was waiting for us & we were ready.