For a while I’ve wondered how I would introduce myself back online. When I was studying as an undergrad, I started a music blog and that really is how I got into ‘social media.’
In my final year of uni, I joined Apt.Iguana as a travel writer, and my very first contribution to the group was actually a dear piece to me. Below is my 1st draft. It’s not perfect, but it was my 1st piece of work.
Through reading this, you’ll probably understand why I love to travel, and how it started really. Please see below, enjoy the music and pictures
(btw, I’m an analogue girl. Usually when I travel, I carry my Minolta which is why the pics below are literally scanned)
“beaucoup papa” | PHANTOM LOVER ft. FATIMA
I was 19 when I decided that I wanted to go to somewhere far by myself. I chose New York. I had the whole trip planned in my head. I thought I would get there, go on the subway, hum a song, get noticed and then get a record deal for the summer and end up living there. But I was young. I bought the ticket for June/July in November out of curiosity and also for motivation. I was re-taking the academic year and just needed something to look forward to! I got the ticket for £290 and I simply felt awesome.
It was a few months later that a friend from university got on board with the idea and also bought a ticket, so one became two. But that was cool because I was dreaming of a record deal and someone had to be there with me to read the fine print. (Yes, I honestly thought this would be my big break.) But when I got there nothing went according to plan. From my uncle living quite far from the city than I had anticipated, and then having no place to stay in the city when we initially thought we did. It was all beginning to crumble. At this point, I could only trust my gut and simply go with the flow.
Before the trip we had booked our reservations for the 4th July weekend in the Omni Berkshire in Midtown Manhattan. But to cut a long story short, the room looked nothing like it did online. Our room was the perimeter of a London bus! We quickly realised that we made the wrong decision in booking the hotel and did the inevitable, we asked for a full refund. We read the terms and conditions and knew this would be close to impossible, but it also said we had to be at least 21 to book the room, which we weren’t, so we had an interesting debate. There we were, 2 young black British girls making noise in the lobby, so of course security was called. And along with security came the discerning eyes of tourists who wanted to know what was going on. It was hard work, but we got what we wanted, but that also meant we had nowhere to stay! I started to feel sick. I lied to my uncle and said everything was fine when he called and that we were getting ready to sleep, when in fact we were trying to find somewhere to stay. I wanted to surrender and just ask him to pick us up! However my friend reassured me that there would somewhere to stay, after all New York doesn’t sleep, and so I shouldn’t worry myself.
The minute we left the hotel we googled ‘hostels in NYC’ in the taxi and fortunately found Hi Hostel. It was then that I realised that everything in life really does happen for a reason. We were surrounded with young people who were travelling and I think we only paid £12 that night. I’d never stayed in a hostel and it was a pleasant first-time experience (at least it started off that way.) In all honesty, one of the best ways to meet young travellers will be via the accommodation. And hostels are more pocket friendly and young people tolerant compared to hotels. But it is all a matter of preference and means. In actuality, if you’re young and like to explore, you only need a safe place to store your luggage and decent bed to sleep on. Hi Hostel was just that, however I certainly cannot vouch that it was the safest place.
When we first got there we noticed an Asian American girl who was always there and assumed she was staying there, as we assumed she was visiting NYC from another state. A few days later, she introduced herself to us but would not leave us alone. She followed my friend to the toilet at all times and slowly seemed to share the same characteristics as a schizophrenic person. How could we be so naive? She invited herself into our room and randomly started crying that ‘they’ beat her. She said her parents beat her and she’s from Brooklyn. She admitted that she doesn’t even stay in the hostel. And she kept talking about the most random, disturbing and irrelevant things. The next minute she was talking about sexual activity with delight on her face. Meanwhile I was trying to find a panic button in the room as my friend and I had only realised that this young lady did not have any business in this hostel, let alone our room. We managed to get security to escort her out. Thank God for blackberry messenger, or my friend and I would have not been able to communicate. We somehow persuaded her to go to the common room with us, and when we got there we pretended as if we didn’t know her. The thing is, we actually physically tried to run away from her but she was running with us, thus she thought we were playing with her. When she got to the common room and realised that we were avoiding her, she literally sang out loud causing more attention to herself. After we alerted the staff, two employees literally picked her up to remove her from the premises, she was singing the Killers “Smile like you mean it” chromatically, out loud. It was something else. But I found humour in it all. I knew that one day I’d laugh about it. I have come to realise that some of my bad decisions have made me somewhat of a story-teller. I didn’t get that record deal in the end, but I learnt so much and met some incredible people. In a weird way, I found a part of myself in New York and from then, knew there were other places in this world that I needed to experience to find the person that I’m (still) looking to become. New York 2010 memories will forever be a part of me.
My name is Eva and I do love travelling.