When I first moved to the NYC area, I started off in Jersey City, near Grove Street. I lived there because I found a penthouse suite (okay, the top floor of a three-story building) for way less than anywhere I’d seen in Manhattan, right down the street from two of my closest friends Caitlin and Tyler (one of whom has an awesome food blog). I only lived there for a year and two months because I had gigantic dreams of living *in* the city, not just right next to it. This was also during a time in my life when I was staying out until 4 a.m., and not just on weekends, so I thought Manhattan would be easier for my social life.
I didn’t spent a lot of time working on my blog in February because my life was kind of insane, in the best way. That’s because I moved back to New York City this week after being away for more than a year and a half!
My name is Erin and I’m a beach snob. I grew up ten minutes from the beach in South Jersey, sandwiched in between the popular resort towns of Ocean City and Sea Isle City. I cannot reveal the name of my favorite beach that I go to every day in the summer when I’m at my parents because I don’t want too many others to know about it. In college I had in my AIM profile: “Our life, your vacation.” I’ve been to beaches elsewhere in Jersey, but I’ve never been super impressed whether from the sand quality (it matters!), the slope of the beach as you approach the ocean (looking at you, LBI), or the clientele (no comment).
I already published one recap last week, but it can’t replace this post because it’s my 24th monthly recap without skipping one and I need to keep it up or else you’d forever be wondering what I did this month, right?
How do you measure, measure a year? 2017 was the year I spent time in 13 different countries and 11 different states. I traveled to Europe three times. I set foot on my fifth continent. I revisited London, Indianapolis, Ireland, and Portugal. I reunited with friends from college in Prague and Dublin and old coworkers in London, Chicago, and Dubrovnik. I traveled for 10 days in Cape Town with someone I met in Mandalay and for 12 days in Croatia with someone I met in Dublin. A twelfth of my year was spent dog-sitting, both in Chicago and Jersey City. I added Shenandoah National Park to my list of U.S. National Parks.
I’ve taken the NJ Transit train from New York City to Hamilton, NJ and back, maybe fifty times. At least forty of those times, I’ve been fooled into thinking that the human-sized sculptures of people scratching their heads while they stare at a giant sculpture of a tooth outside of the train station, were actually human. It wasn’t until years and years after making the journey to meet my family at home base (my grandmother’s) did I realize that the sculptures (there are also huge mariachi dancers when you turn into the train station) were there for a reason.
In November, I had the closest thing to a regular schedule than I’ve had in over a year, and I actually really liked it. I felt like I was going to the office every morning, even though “the office” was every library and coffee shop within a 20-minute radius and my coworkers were the woman who works at the doughnut shop in Ocean City, an octogenarian with a MAGA hat, and my 9th-grade English teacher who now works at one of my libraries (Hi, Mrs. B!).
When I returned from Ireland and Portugal in August, I have to admit I was in a mood. I’m so thankful for the opportunities I’ve had and the decisions I’ve made that have allowed me to travel so much this year and last, but I was sad that it was coming to an end. I couldn’t stop thinking about traveling and couldn’t stop messaging with people I’d met during my travels and so, I took off again. A friend I’d met in Dublin was heading to Croatia, which has been on my list for ages, at a time when I had nothing else planned. So I found a cheap flight and flew back to Europe, feeling normal again on the way there.
This time last year, I was traveling throughout Myanmar on my first trip of my gap year. This year, I was home with no upcoming travel plans, feeling a little bummed about that but also feeling wonderful about many other things. I had lots of visitors, my longest stint back in the NYC area in a year, and started a few new exciting projects.
The summer always flew by when I was working full-time because I never got as much sun as I needed while stewing away in my cubicle. I didn’t think the summer would pass so quickly when I was just working part-time, but, man. I mean, I’ve done a lot this summer, that’s for sure, but I initially expected to be back in the city by the fall and, well, it’s basically here.
Everyone’s saying it, and I also can’t believe it’s July already. For many, that means that half the year has passed, but for me, this time, it means that I quit my job a year ago already (though I worked a few more weeks) – which seems insane. This month’s adventures were domestic but kept me quite busy nonetheless.
I rejoined the real world a teensy bit this month – working 40 hours a week and commuting to the nearest coffee shop across an under-construction bridge that takes 20 minutes to cross is no joke. I’d completely forgotten what it was like to have a job but it’s a good one to have. As I mentioned in my March Recap, I am working temporarily to help launch a new travel website. I’m super excited to show it off to you when it’s made public, but that also means I’ve had less time to work on my own stuff, though I got a lot done right when I returned from Europe to at least bring you new posts in the beginning of the month.
In March, I continued my whirlwind trip of 10 cities in six weeks, and accidentally added one more city to that list. March came in like a few days in magical, mythical Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic, where I met a person whose profession is “fire eater”, and went out in the only Starbucks within a half hour in a drizzling, ghost-town-in-the-winter on the Jersey Shore. That makes it seem like I’m not happy to be home – this is not the case. It’s awesome sleeping in my own bed, having access to all of my possessions that are not packed away in my sister’s basement, and not having to pay for all of my meals. Well, and having phone service all of the time, being in the same time zone as most of my friends, and being able to catch up on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. And, of course, being with my family and the pup, and reuniting with friends.
I’ve been waiting a whole month for 2017 to begin. Of course, it’s *officially* begun – I did watch the ball drop while stuffing my face with buffalo chicken bread, but I also haven’t been outside of NJ and NYC since before Thanksgiving. There’s definitely something to be said for being home, drinking hot coffee, and sitting by the woodstove with a puppy in my lap, but I long for adventure. Luckily, adventure awaits me on Saturday for almost six straight weeks. If you’re interested in following along in real time, follow me on Instagram as I’ll be posting a few pictures a day and using Instagram stories to share my travels with you all.
Even though I’ve already posted my 2016 Travel in Review post, it would be neglectful for me to not post a December 2016 recap, since my monthly recaps are something I’ve kept up since January. I didn’t visit any new places in December, but I still saw lots of friends and family, and that’s important.