Photo by:  A Modern Nomad

Chained bells in Nepal.  The call to prayer for Shiva.

Photo by: Miss. Daphnee

Me and the pup setting up camp.            White Sands, New Mexico. 

Throwback Thursday…  Me as a  young’n. Mom scored some style points with the pants.

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Moved to New York City

10. Do not live in Manhattan.  If you make the mistake you will waste money and several years of your live “making compromises for the convenience”.  Which I get, but not really.  (See No. 2 for resolving convenience issue).  In the end you will live in Brooklyn anyways, because that’s where all your friends are, and the food and nightlife is way better. The Sex in The City lifestyle only exists for the lawyers, financial folks and those fortunate enough to have a magically regenerating bank account (i.e. trust fund kids).  Manhattan is the most amazing borough to visit, but for me it’s not worth stepping out everyday into the madness.  And in the end it just follows you in… and the magic of NYC only lasts as long as it still feels new and fresh. Keep it that way.

9. The hype and Hollywood version of what NYC is, has been so strong that unconsciously people adopted it and made it reality. As a recent transplant I wouldn’t have seen this.  But a Staten Island local broke it down for me and it resonated with what I was experiencing here… Williamsburg is the best example.  It has it’s charms but it turned into a strange Disneylandesque kind of place.  The hype that has been generated about it has morphed into the reality.  It’s as if people heard how hipster cool it was and moved their and actually turned it into a caricature of what it was.  I think this applies to all of New York City. When you find the genuine places hold tight to them. They are few and far between.  Quick anecdote about this: One fourth of July my friend and I wandered into an anonymous bar on 34th street. No sign or anything out front.  Ordered some drinks, and after 10 minutes realized that it was full of latina women all furiously texting.  Basically we figured out it was a whore house of sorts. The pimp/bartender wasn’t sure what to make of us… It was the exact kind of establishment you would see in Central America.  Low brow, unassuming, but in Murphy Hill.  Fuckin’ New York…  It’s nice to know it can still get weird there without feeling contrived.

8. Remember that having less, can make you feel like you have more. You won’t save money unless you are doing some side work or have two jobs.  Or if you climb the ladder at your office/firm.  Just don’t fall into the trap where you finally start making more and then just go out and spend more. You need to save some money to have the freedom to make a move and get out when you are ready. If you don’t want to climb the ladder in your job, you gotta hustle with side work. There is more money in New York then you realize. You can make it happen. Get creative, stay in touch with people and don’t be shy to put your hand out and ask for the projects you are interested in.  

7.  You can end up in New York without seeing or doing anything that makes it such a special place.  You will live there 10 years and never see a Broadway show, or go to that amazing Vietnamese place in Queens (Bunker), or the huge Asian market, or see Dia Beacon etc.  Make plans in advance.  Remind people they are doing this thing with you.  Commit by buying tickets early.  Don’t put it off until next month.  The freshness of New York fades and you have to hit the good stuff before it loses it’s magic. 

6.  Go see Sleep No More.  This is a unique, unreal and dreamlike experience. It embodies all the potential creativity and coolness that New York can be. (See No. 7 above to reinforce this.) 

5.  The best way to score a reasonably priced and cool apartment is through “Temporary Sublets” on Craigslist.  Usually these people end up not returning and you take the lease over. Or for some reason post it there but are really moving out.  It’s the path less searched in the housing hunt, and I can’t tell you what a difference that makes. Plus they are usually cheaper and nicer.

4.  Citibikes are awesome. Slow but smooth, and totally worth it to get the year pass.  As stated in No. 10, you will/should live in Brooklyn and this is fairly easy way to get across town or into Manhattan.  It is limited, but for $100 a year who cares.  You will spend that in two weeks on cabs. 

3. Living near the G Train doesn’t count as living near a train line. It is always late, and you will watch three trains go by the opposite platform in a row and not one will go your way…  And when you do get on the train the worst things happen. Homeless vomit, hipsters, violent schitzophrenic outbursts etc.  See this music video for a humorous song about the G.  As an aside, doesn’t the guy in it look like Ben Affleck? Anyways… (See No. 2 for how to resolve this)  

2. Buy a bicycle.  I don’t care if you are scared, or haven’t ridden in 10 years. Do it. A bicycle = freedom.  Nothing worse then being stuck in Bushwick at 3:00AM facing a 2 hour journey on the horrors that are the G Train and the fact that there are no cabs anywhere in sight and there won’t be for another day. Manhattan and Brooklyn have some of the best developed bike paths I have seen in any city.  The nature of the streets means the cars can’t go to fast or too out of control.  Buy a bicycle.  David Byrne supports this, and that is the final word.

1.  Generally people are pretty damn friendly and cool in New York. So don’t be a dick.

-A Modern Nomad

Life is like a bicycle. To Keep your balance you must keep moving.

I just returned from an 8 month hiatus from work and “real life”. 

We drove from New York to Santa Barbara and embarked on a 6 month journey through southeast Asia, Nepal and India. The highlight though was a 21 day trek through the Everest region in Nepal.  High altitude and walking through some of the most beautiful landscapes our planet has. 

The one thing about trekking is you have plenty of time to think and daydream.  I had so many fantasies about how life was going to be when I got back to the states.  Photo projects to do, art and furniture designs to build and all done out of my truck on one big road trip.  The plan was to get a power adapter hooked up to my pickup so I could run my tools off the battery, freeing the need for a shop.  The camper shell and bed in the back were already there, so no need for renting a home.  Big Sur, Bishop, Joshua Tree, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming would serve as my inspiration and the beaches and forests would supply the wood and materials to create. 

I am not sure what happened, but the transition from traveling the world to crashing on couches back home crushed my motivation and left me feeling paralyzed to take any action to realize these ideas.  I am still not sure what did it…  I got stressed about finances and ended up applying to jobs and trying to sort that out.  You can’t live off of $10 a day in the U.S. 

After a month of being home, I am finally waking up from this stupor. I found a furnished sublet to buy some time and some how this has shaken off the creative paralysis. I always thought the hardest part of creating was finding the good ideas.  I have sketch books from my travels full of brilliant concepts from paintings, to furniture to product designs and everything in between.  They just poured out.  I figured the motivation to make them would be just as easy.  Now I am finding that conceptual development was the easy and fun part. 

I used to believe in the old Einstein quote, “Life is like a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” 

Now I am not to sure.  The balance of creating / living seems to be somewhere between moving and having roots.  A community and place can be so enriching to life.  I think the best metaphor for the ideal nomadic life is slacklining.  Even when you are standing still on the line your muscles are engaged and you are very present on that moment,  preparing for the next step.  So here we go.  Another engaged pause to re-up and prepare for the next adventure on the road…

-M

Photo by: A Modern Nomad

Girl and dog living the nomad life.