In this final post in my three-part series of favorite New York moments, I reflect on nondescript moments that left as much of an impression as the trip’s highlight reel. Warning: the feels poured out of me in this one:

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Part 3: We are the quiet ones

I think a lot of people associate travel with seeing and making declarations. The sites! The vistas! THE insert-defining-landmark-here! Or, “We’re on the road, up in the air, on a train, #onaboat!” When we’re in a different environment, this momentum is tangible evidence of our accomplishments.

On the one hand, it’s exciting and full of energy. On the other hand, there’s a quieter, even slower side to the experience of being in a different place that is just as rewarding. For every loud and flashy moment, I think the more pedestrian moments are necessary.

My recent trip to NYC is a great example. We hip hop yoga-ed in Williamsburg, brunched so hard in the East Village, made our way through throngs of actual pedestrians at The High Line and 90’s theme partied till the lights in the venue reminded us (me especially) that most people would be expecting breakfast soon.

Yet slower, mundane parts of the trip made for memories on par with the high energy experiences. Like peeling back the foil in anticipation of my first arepa in the comfort of my friend Sam’s cozy walk up. Just us and the crinkling of foil as we unwrapped and devoured black bean, cheesy, meaty, plantain-filled goodness. Or padding around said cozy walk up, admiring the adorable “exposed brick” walls and breakfast nook, which served as the central cell phone charging station in the hours before heading out for the evening.

There’s been a rise in mindfulness as an approach to leading happier, more grateful lives. I find this approach especially helpful to apply to unexpected and casual moments, like stepping into the busy corner pizza shop in Bushwick to learn we called in our order to their second location ten blocks away. Or, deflating the air mattress that first morning, fumbling around unzipped backpacks for the appropriate layers and exchanging banter about everything from Justin Bieber’s latest music video (at the time, it was “Sorry”) to what we were going to wear to the aforementioned 90s party, to, what are we all drinking to pregame?! On both occasions I remember feeling slightly groggy, mildly disoriented and full of hope: for more carbs, cheese and the day’s adventures.

Maybe these tepid anecdotes are needed to transition from one adventure to the next. They ground us and keep us humble in new and stimulating territories. They offer a welcome space to reflect on those high impact adventures, if you give them a chance.

Finally, if you’re still reading this and can point me in the right direction of a decent arepa in San Diego, PLEASE leave me a comment.

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Read Part 1 here (brunch gets cray cray).

Read Part 2 here (a Vegan meal so good, you’ll forget about meat for a bit).