Tag Archives: America

New York, New York


THE city of New York is said to be one of the least forgiving in the western world. Or so I was told before my first visit two years. And yet, I find the majority of its inhabitants are some of the most amazing, considerate and brilliant people I have ever come across.

Unlike most big cities where you become so used to your surrounds, Big Apple dwellers don’t seem to tune out the rest of the world.
Maybe because they are constantly reminded that they are on borrowed time in this incredible city and never seem to forget that once upon a time they too were new to the city.

Since the second we stepped off the plane, we have been assisted without even asking for help. I don’t think that even happens in Australia. On a couple of occasions I have questioned whether the helpfulness of the New Yorkers were actually genuine or if they were just trying to lure us to where they wanted us (we gave the really sketchy guy the slip in the subway, so I guess we will never know).

I put all this amazing (and some possibly dodgy help) down to Karma and in particular travel Karma. As I mentioned in a previous post, I believe in paying it forward and not expecting anything in return. Today, in the subway at 103rd and Broadway, we were about to board the 1pm train, but we literally couldn’t fit on, so we waited for the next one. Before the doors of the train closed, a man pushed his wife through the doors and somehow managed to squeeze through them himself. And she practically collapsed onto the ground in front of us in a coughing fit, dry-reaching and crying. The woman had (as far as we could tell) had been crushed by the overcrowdedness of the train. I had never seen it so packed. It looked like a can of sardines.

The African-American woman continued to choke, cough and splutter, while her husband held her up. I felt so helpless, I have no medical or first aid training, so I couldn’t do anything medical to help. The only thing I could do was offer a bottle of water we has just bought to the man. He then was looking for tissues to wipe his wife’s face and thankfully I had some. So, I handed them to him. The look he gave me will stay with me always; it was a look of restored faith, appreciation, hope, and genuine heart-felt thanks.

We were about to jump onto the next train and he simply said “thank you so much, hope you have a great day”.

There is no better feeling, than helping.

I think as a society we are all so focused on getting ahead, buying posessions to show off our “wonderful lives” on social media that we can’t see past the ends of our noses (I got that from Mary Poppins – she could teach people a thing or two).

So, when you are next in a foreign city or see people visiting from other countries in your home city, don’t be closed off.

You never know what can happen if you open your mind and heart.

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Finding the perfect travel buddy

FOR seven years I had been travelling alone. Then came along my boyfriend. Some backpackers would say that could throw a spanner in the works and at first I wasn’t sure how it was going to work. But, my boyfriend of two years has fit into the world of backpacking surprisingly well, despite a few moments when he was obviously completely overwhelmed by the lack of comforts when travelling this way. 

I had similar thoughts when I started backpacking in 2007. How do I shower and get changed in a shower cubicle with no bench or hangers? How do you hang up the wet clothes that can’t go in the dryer? And what happens if you need to rest during the hours you are not permitted into the hostel, due to cleaning?

Last night, while in San Francisco, due to washing our clothes late, we ran out of time to get them all dry. Thus, the question how do you dry clothes without a clothes horse or dryer, in a room where there are no hooks? Lets just say this was the question or straw that broke the camels (my boyfriend’s) back. 

This morning, after temporarily checking out of our hostel (room change), we took our 15 items of clothing to the nearby park, which had a couple of picnic tables and chairs. We laid all the clothes out in the sun and waited for two hours until they dried.

Queue the National Parks officer and accompanying police officer. I don’t know if there was a complaint made about “two hood-rats” loitering or two homeless people airing their clothes, but the two men with badges came an d grilled/interogated us. Their first question, which was very obvious was: “what are you two doing here”. To which I replied: “Trying to dry our clothes because the hostel laundry wasn’t open until 4pm”. He said “do you two have any alcohol or marjuana on you?” I innocently said: “No”. To which he asked another question about when the last time I smoked any marjuana. My next response shocked me, as I never lie to police, but I said it without thinking: “2004” (it was actually 2008). And then I followed that up with “We are good, I promise”.