Goodbye, New York. It might be years until I return to you.
I reached eastern ocean at the end of May. Although I unpacked the car into my parents’ suburban Boston house, I spent three consecutive weekends in New York City. I tallied eleven nights running around the Big Apple.
New York, I needed to compare you to San Francisco. After six years west, I feared that I missed world-class art, food, and people. So I rode the subway to search for a sense of place in New York that would urge me to stay. So I exhausted myself in the density to search for the center of all things and judge my home relative to that center.
New York, I do like your congestion, culture, and creativity. Here so much collides, collapses, and grows. I peeled layers off tourist sites to unearth local haunts and secret spots. I could spend years spelunking this city.
New York, you did not cure my loneliness. Your parties are epic, your views are sublime, your streets are rich. But I hardly know anyone here. I did see some of my “people” here, but I do not want to start over on a new coast, in a new city, in a new crowd.
San Francisco, I have been cheating on you with your more famous rival. Will you take me back? I prefer intimacy over spectacle, dinner drinks over midnight ball drop, my friends in San Francisco over beautiful strangers. I don’t want to observe any more; I want to make things happen.
Travel fills a new place for me. I used to traipse the globe in search of the different and wonderful. I checked off countries and filled my passport with stamps. I still like travel, but travel can be disjointing, superficial, and passive. I do not stay long enough in one place to touch anything deeply.
I will continue to travel to see the very different and feel very far from home. But travel will be more about getting to know better my travel companions than connecting with the place.