In my monthly round-ups, I am looking back at my travels over the past four weeks, what went well and what didn’t, and what’s next for me.
Where I’ve Been
I finally left New York City! I spent two weekends out of town: the first weekend I went on a hiking trip upstate, and then I went to Long Island for some beach time. After two months of no travel, it felt great to go on these two little adventures – as well as planning my big adventure that I just left the U.S. for. Yes, I’m traveling again, and I won’t be back in New York for quite some time.. but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s look back at July first.
What I’ve Been up to
July was the month of hosting friends. Three different friends, all of whom I met during different stages of my travels, visited New York this month and I got to spend some quality time with all of them, as well as lots of time spent with old friends I made in New York.
Knowing that July was going to be my last month in the city and my last month of summer in New York, I wanted to make the most of it, which meant I cut down on work and spent more time frolicking around the city. Scoring housesitting gigs for the entire month – i.e. not paying rent in July – was a deciding factor in this, and I am incredibly grateful that I get to enjoy months like this, especially in New York, where everything is so expensive. My housesits brought me to apartments near Central Park and Cobble Hill, one of my favorite areas of Brooklyn – and this was my fifth time housesitting in this quaint neighborhood! Both housesits were perfectly located – one close to Central Park and one close to Brooklyn Bridge Park – to get me back into a daily running routine after my month of yoga in June which left me with less time for running.
I went to outdoor movies, several picnics in the parks, had rooftop breakfasts and rooftop drinks, covered hundreds of miles on my bike, enjoyed Sunday brunches, went back to the Whitney Museum for the first time in two years, stuffed myself at several food markets, went to see a pop-up art installation in Prospect Park’s Rose Garden, went on a brewery crawl and to a speakeasy bar, checked out new street art in Bushwick, took the aerial tram to Roosevelt Island for the first time in two years, and went to another yoga in the park, inspired by last month’s yoga challenge.
I even crossed two classic NYC summer activities I hadn’t done yet off my ‘to-do-list’: the Friday fireworks in Coney Island and rowing on the lake in Central Park! And then I must have gained about twelve pounds by gorging on all my favorite NYC treats: pizza from Artichoke Basille, cookies from Levain Bakery, banana bread pudding from Magnolia Bakery, Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pie, Doughnut Plant AND Dough donuts, tacos at Oaxaca, to name just a few. I feel like I need to go on a diet after a month of indulging in too much good food, craft beer and ice cream.
Not the entire month was spent partaking in fun activities though – I also managed to win a new freelance writing client, did extensive research for my new business venture (more on that below), worked in what I call my ‘New York day job’, grew my dog sitting side hustle further (after talking to several of my friends this month about how unhappy they were in their jobs, I appreciate more than ever that I get paid for things that I truly enjoy doing) and most importantly: booked and prepared for my next big adventure, which I will set off on at the end of August.
A Hiking Trip Upstate
I’ve been wanting to go on a hiking trip for a while now, but scheduling an out-of-town trip with several people can be difficult. In the end, we pulled it off though, and I spent an awesome weekend upstate, staying at a friend’s house near the Hudson River and climbing Schunemunk Mountain. I also broke in my new hiking shoes which I’ll need for my next big adventure.
Reunited with Lola
I have to admit that, after getting an annual membership for New York’s Citibike program right when I got back to the city at the end of April, I got a little lazy about getting my beloved bike Lola (see: Meeting Lola | June 2015) out of storage. New Citibike stations are being added all the time, and so it was easy to get around on Citibikes instead of having to use my own bike (and moving with it, because I moved way too often during the past few months and it’s already a pain in the b*tt to move all my stuff). But for my last month in the city, which I spent mainly in Brooklyn, it made sense to have my own bike because I was staying in several places without Citibikes and it was perfect cycling weather. It felt so good to have my Lola back, even though it was only for a few weeks, and we sure made the most of it – we rode hundreds of miles all over Brooklyn and Manhattan together.
My First Trip to Long Island
The only time I ever spent on Long Island was actually spent on a small island off Long Island – Fire Island – where I finally went last summer after having it on my to-do-list for three years (but that’s still technically Long Island, right?). When my friend Erica, who recently moved to a seaside town out on Long Island, called friends from near and far to join her for a weekend of birthday debauchery, I finally had the perfect excuse to hop on a train headed east.
The weekend was nothing short of fabulous and the best part for me was that even though I brought my laptop, I ended up opening it exactly zero times. A completely work-free day has become such a rarity for me that this felt like a luxury.
Quality Time with Friends
I spent plenty of quality time with friends this month, and soaked it all in while I could, knowing that in August I wouldn’t get much ‘friends time’ – August will be all about being a super aunt, but more on that below.
From drawn out conversations during picnics in the park to juicy revelations during our hike upstate, to fun chats over boozy brunches, I was so happy to have visitors in town this month, all of whom I hadn’t seen since last year, some even longer. I bonded with new friends over cookies and coffee, even had a workout (friend) date this month, and took one friend on a bike ride around Brooklyn. I will miss my New York friends dearly, but I’ve already got so many things planned with them for when I get back that I’m already excited about returning to New York later this year!
I failed my 31-day writing challenge – big time. I only lasted five days into the month in which I was supposed to write at least 750 words every single day. I am extremely disappointed about this, but somehow I just didn’t have any words in me this month and even struggled to finish paid writing assignments. Funnily enough, I ‘hit a writing wall’ in July before – in 2015. Not sure if it’s New York or July, but I am going to have to re-do this challenge at some point this year – I hate failing.
I was featured in the August print edition of Diva Magazine, the UK’s leading lesbian magazine! I’m always super excited when I am featured in a print magazine, and can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of it.
Another print shout-out came unexpectedly from Germany, where the leading women’s magazine, Bild der Frau, recycled an interview I did with them in 2016. They didn’t tell me about it, so it was a nice surprise when I found out about it through readers in Germany.
I was also interviewed for the popular Native Traveler show on Sirius XM Radio Canada, which dedicated a full episode to budget travel at the beginning of the month – you can listen to it here.
And last but not least I wanted to mention a new travel podcast in which host Keith Richard narrates the best stories from top travel bloggers. He read the story of my trek through the Colombian jungle to the Lost City, so if you prefer the audio version over the 3,200+ word written version, listen to it here.
In business-related news, I had a meeting about my new business venture which will hopefully launch in September. Since this is not 100% confirmed, I don’t want to get too excited just yet, but I will tell you all about it as soon as I know that the launch will go as planned. I can’t wait to share more about this, since preparing for this is what I spent most of my time on in July.
What’s Next for me
I am writing this round-up on my flight from New York to Europe – after taking ten flights in the first 3.5 months of the year, it felt completely surreal to suddenly ‘sit still’ and not be hanging out at airports on a regular basis. Needless to say that I am stoked to find myself on a plane again.
Admittedly, I love summer in New York City so much that it took a very special reason for me to leave the city now… and this reason is my one-month old niece who I can’t wait to meet. August will mostly be spent with my family in my home country, but of course I can’t visit Germany without at least a few days in Berlin, and who knows what other additional trips will evolve over the next four weeks.
And this flight to Europe won’t be my only flight in August – I’ve already booked a flight to France for later this month from where I’ll be setting off on my next adventure… which I will talk about in more detail in my August round-up, but here’s a little hint: I will be walking A LOT in September! Can you guess where I am headed? 😉