Give a smile…

After my recent week in NYC visiting friends and the city, I’m left to ponder how Manhattan has a different pulse to other metropolis.

On first look, it’s known to be a fast pace, densely populated, intense place. Comparable to Hong Kong, another densely packed place that I am familiar with. However, on closer inspection, my recent visit to NYC held some surprises.

1. New Yorkers smile at strangers!

Considering this is my 4th or 5th visit to the Big Apple, I didn’t remember seeing so many friendly faces on the streets prior. For a bustling city, I was pleasantly surprised by the many strangers who offered a genuine, warm greeting or smile. I couldn’t help but to flash back and rethink if I have received this warmth since my return to Toronto in August. I don’t know who instigated the smile or the relaxed greeting (it certainly doesn’t matter if the egg or the chicken came first now) but it sure brightens any day – for me.

I mean while traveling earlier this year, I got used to the friendly faces in the small cities and villages that I traveled through. Somehow I find that people are generally a bit more approachable when found in more intimate settings. However, I don’t want to make an overly general statement about that correlation.

2. New Yorkers are helpful!

With a semi complex subway system to all 5 boroughs, there’s a huge risk each time I might have taken the wrong train. I can read the subway map and follow signage just fine. However, when you’re standing at the track and trying to understand what they just said over the PA system about the arriving train. I just simply don’t know if it’ll stop at the station I want.

I’ve resorted to asking the person standing next to me – more than once, per ride.

Once I turned and saw the person had a paper map, while I was looking at the subway map on my app. We just had the most blank faces we can offer each other! LOL

3. It’s not all peaches and cream!

No matter how lost you are physically or emotionally – Do NOT try to stop a New Yorker who’s out right in a rush. Your shoulder or some part of your body may get hurt if you try to stop them mid-stride.

Pick your person correctly – don’t jump at the first person you see. It’s New York, there are well over 8 million people living in this city. I’m sure there’s a more friendly, less-in-a-rush person for you to stop and question.


All in All, my recent visit to New York City was fruitful and eye opening. So much so I’m even considering living there one fine day! Time will tell – Stay tuned 🙂



She did What!?! ~ with Rhona

Single Woman Travels! (SWT) is a place to inspire and motivate women (and men) around the world to travel. She did What?! is a monthly series of Q&A – asking women around the world to share their past travel experience. From this, I hope a few more women who are on the brink of expanding their world will be inspired and motivated to turn their dreams into reality.

Bio…    Rhona Dulay, Vancouver, B.C.; Environmental Planner/Coordinator; too many dream career, but definitely something artistic – singer/songwriter, professional photographer, painter (all of which I don’t excel at but would love to do! Creativity = Win!)

SWT:    Where was the destination of your first solo trip?

RD:        NYC – I went there in 2007 with the intention of attending a full-on 3-day ATHGO International Conference at the UN; ended up meeting my future husband and skipping out on days 2 and 3 🙂

SWT:    How old were you?

RD:        29

SWT:    Were you single or attached at the time?

RD:        Single for the first day or two! 🙂

SWT:    What inspired the idea?

RD:       I was in a 7‑year relationship with a guy I thought I was going to end up marrying. We moved to Northern BC to go to university, ended up buying a house, owned two cars, had a dog and a cat, and what I thought was a bright future together. As the years went by, I realized that he was a complete control freak and wanted to not only plan his own but MY WHOLE future – everything revolved around what HE saw as reasonable and right for himself: if it was good enough for him, it was good enough for me – no exceptions. And I succumbed to that. Who knows why; I got complacent and overly comfortable. Any dreams of traveling to my dream destinations, getting another tattoo (which still hasn’t happened :P), writing, playing guitar or being creative were laughed at by him. I was sick and tired of his inhibitions on my life, and decided to end it during our last semester in university.

I had always talked about taking a trip to NYC which of course, he didn’t think was up our alley as far as vacations – he preferred 14‑day hiking trips in the middle of nowhere which I did for at least 6 summers straight – fair, right???

So I booked my flight to NYC in April 2007, after the break up. F**k him, I was doing something I wanted to do BY MYSELF and FOR MYSELF. We continued to reside in the same house just to finish school. Come May 2007, we wrote our final exam, didn’t go to convocation but instead finished packing up our house, drove down to Vancouver, and went our separate ways. That BY FAR was the best decision I made

SWT:    What was your trip style? (backpack, tour group, comfort, meetup with family/friends)

RD:        One luggage, a pocket full of cash and NO trip itinerary, aside from that pesky conference I was supposed to attend! No family, no friends – just me 🙂

SWT:    What type of accommodations? (family owned, B&B, tents, if a hotel, how many stars)

RD:        Hotel – 2.5-stars I think? (which doesn’t add up to much in NYC unless it’s a 4-star!).

SWT:    How long was your trip?

RD:        10 days

SWT:    Who looked after the logistics?

RD:        Me 🙂

SWT:    If you planned and/or booked the itinerary, did you enjoy the process?

RD:        N/A – I’m the worst at booking itinerary for touring because I procrastinate too much. I think I’d be good at it though??

SWT:    If you worked with a travel agent, how was the experience?

RD:        N/A

SWT:    Would you / have you booked subsequent trips yourself?

RD:        N/A

SWT:    What would you do different – in hindsight?

RD:        Not a whole lot – I’d probably set up a “schedule” of when to go see what attraction. I missed out on a lot of museums; even after I ended up moving to NJ and hanging out in NYC at least once a week 🙂

SWT:    Did you feel comfortable traveling solo?

RD:        Yes, I loved it.

SWT:    How much research did you do in advance?

RD:        Virtually none 😛

SWT:    What was the biggest surprise on the trip?

RD:        Meeting my husband 🙂

SWT:    What did you learn about yourself during the trip that you weren’t totally aware of beforehand?

RD:        That I was capable of being alone and comfortable on my own traveling in a different place. (Having said that, NYC isn’t exactly outside my comfort zone… if it were somewhere in South America or Europe, for example, I’d be totally lost and overwhelmed).

SWT:    Was there any close calls or run-ins?

RD:        Not on this trip.

SWT:    Where is your next dream destination?

RD:        Too many, but if I had to choose right now: Australia or New Zealand! I also want to go to Europe, the Nordic countries and South America 🙂

Next time, we’ll hear from Christine who chose to travel on her own…