Chinatown- A very good place to start

Sitting in the corner of a Starbucks in Chinatown, NY. This is where my story begins. Everything feels a little surreal at this point. One year ago, as I underwent the ever-so-tedious process of moving all my things to yet another house in Austin, I came to a few realizations:

1. I had far too many material possessions.

2. I had already begun to feel the emotional and mental drain from my job as a nurse practitioner in a community health clinic in Austin. I also recognized that NPs are become increasingly in demand.

3. I was in a position financially to save up some money (getting roommates for the first time in 5 years definitely helped here).

4. I was going to turn 30 in ten months and was still single with no attachments (aka boyfriend or children)

5. It had been several years since I'd taken any sort of long term trip, and I was feeling the “travel itch.”


As I pondered over these unusual circumstances, I concluded in both my heart and mind that it was indeed time to take action and “aprovechar.” (This is one of my favorite Spanish words, meaning “to take advantage,” something like “carpe diem”). So I proceeded to formulate a plan which ended in me quitting my job, selling/donating most of my possessions, and preparing to visit some of the areas of the world I had longed to know for quite some time. And one year after that original seed of thought was planted, here I am, preparing to leave on a plane for Bogotá, Colombia.


The last few days were a bit of a blur as I scrambled to gather all the travel “necessities,” tie up loose ends, pack all those ends up in my backpack (I've always been a bit of a procrastinator…) and figure out how to put my life in the States on pause. The process has been more mentally and emotionally draining than I anticipated. When I think of the big picture of what I am doing over these next 8 months, I feel great; this is a once in a lifetime experience, and I know it. However, when I think of the day by day, week by week, month by month details and potential risks, I feel a mix of excited, overwhelmed and scared. Thus I'm trying to keep the big picture in perspective.


OK, back to Starbucks. Last night I strapped on my 34 pound back pack (who knew my things would weigh so much), and, accompanied by the entourage of my mother and two aunts, arrived to a hotel parking lot near Tri-County Mall in Cincinnati and boarded the “Chinatown Bus” to New York. You would have thought I was leaving for college or getting married or something given the fuss of camera flashes and hugs in the dark parking lot as the primarily Chinese bus passengers looked on in amusement.


As luck would have it, I ended up on the bus next to a Cincinnati salsa dancing acquaintance (15 friends in common on Facebook- we decided that must justify a friendship). Lots of stops and a looong night later, here I am, charging up my phone with an outlet, and my body with a vanilla latte. Spending the day and night with my college roommate before leaving for Bogotá tomorrow afternoon.


It's been a long time since I've kept a journal or even written anything aside from Facebook posts or emails, so please forgive me friends as I get back into the swing of things and learn how to blog for the first time in my life. More to come soon I hope… =)


6 thoughts on “Chinatown- A very good place to start

  1. bob says:

    Hey Nicole ! What a great time you seem to be having every day….except for a few instances ! Great to hear all you’ve been experiencing and sharing. Great stories and pics. So much to learn and see. We think of you every day and talk of your adventures. Love ya, Bob

  2. “There is nothing with which every man is so afraid as getting to know how enormously much he is capable of doing and becoming.” –Soren Kierkegaard

    Hello Nicole! Good luck on the first day of your journey! Stay brave and let the world see you! Hugs from Chicago, Kori

  3. leo says:

    Awesome first post! We’ll be attentively observing from afar here in Northern California and will maybe/probably meeting you back in Cincy relatively soon after your own return. que te vaya muy bien!

  4. Lynn says:

    Ohhhh Nicolllllleeeeeeee…..I’m so excited for this journey you’re about to embark on. WOW. So Funny…I feel like I’m reading the story of my life 5 years ago. I did EXACT the same thing when I turned 30..I was tired of the work grind and quit my job, downsized my life, moved in with a complete stranger, and all to save money to travel….that’s when the world introduced me to Couchsurfing. As you embark on your journey and reality sets in— know that the decisions and sacrifices you’ve made that got you to this point in time will be sooo worth it. You are…SO…brave my friend. The adventures, travels, people, and memories you will make along the way will be priceless. I so look forward to being apart of your journey. In the meantime, sending you a lot of love from the ‘Nati. Many blessings friend.


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