A lot of people ask me how I travel so much, and what my tips and tricks are.
I've never been an expert in anything besides Harry Potter trivia, so these questions flatter, and also intimidate me.
No, I don't have a trust fund or a sugar daddy (yet.) In fact, sometimes I find myself paying in quarters and dimes just to fill up half a tank. (SUSAN, THE 7/11 CASHIER ON STATE STREET, I APOLOGIZE, DON'T HATE ME LETS GO GET LUNCH)
I would say I've just gotten pretty good at setting money aside for travel. Its a sacrifice for sure. I can't always go on taco bell runs with my friends, and it sucks when I can't buy extra lives on candy crush. (joking. but not really.) However, it's always worth it when I look out the window of the plane, as I take off from the Salt Lake city International Airport headed off to my next adventure. And then the stranger next to me asks politely if I can stop squeezing his hand. (I dont completely trust planes yet, okay)
So saving money is key, but the most important thing is to
have an idea, and then make it happen!!
In May, I was getting anxious to go on another trip, and started brainstorming ideas of where to go. Top of my list right then was NYC because I had never been there, it seemed like an achievable goal, and I had also just finished season three of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
But thats all it was. An idea.
One day, while scrolling through the gram, I saw a post from one of my good friends Sahalie. She was bragging to the world and shoving it in everyones face that she just moved to New York. Really Sahalie? There are people dying. Stop showing off.
But then I was like HOLLLLD UP.... NEW YORK???
"sahalie, sweetheart. best friend who I love so much..."
Sahay is my little travel buddy. We met on a trip to Thailand, and we've been dying to go on another trip together. I get so happy when my friends do cool stuff with their lives. She is right out of high school and just casually moves to New York City?? like calm down Taylor Swift?? Who is this girl?
I commented on the picture "can I visit" half joking, half dead freaking serious, and hours later, she commented back like the angel from heaven she is and said "Please. my dorm is always open."
SHE WAS PROBABLY JUST BEING NICE BUT I HAD MY FLIGHT BOOKED 10 MINUTES LATER.
and right then, it became more than just an idea.
INDY TRAVEL TIP: connections are everything!
Having a friend out where your staying makes all the difference. Not only do you have a place to stay and are saving hella cash, but you have your own personal tour guide. They know the location like the back of their hand and people LOVE to show off what they know and love. My goal is to have a friend in every continent. (anyone in Australia wanna hang??)
So once your idea is more than just an idea, its time to start planning. my favorite part of planning trips is finding my travel partner in crime. its not an easy task. Theres a list of requirements they need to pass before making it on to the next level (plane tickets.)
TRAVEL BUDDY REQUIREMENTS
+ must know names of all 5 original One Direction band members
+ will tell me if I have a double chin in my selfie
+ will trade me for a window seat on airplane if situation arises
+ knows all the words to "no scrub" by TLC
+ good with directions
+ somewhat adventurous. not like "jump in utah lake with all your clothes on for a photoshoot" adventurous, but more like 'karaoke' adventurous.
+ shares deodorant. I don't have time for people who are weird about sharing their deodorant.
If they can pass the test, then from there i'll do my best job at convincing them to drop tons of cash to fly across the country with me. In this case. it took no convincing.
I KNEW I LIKED YOU RACHEL RYDALCH.
And the next thing I knew I was sitting in the window seat (she had to pass the test, she agreed to this.) looking out the window, leaving the ground of the SLC International Airport.
INDY TRAVEL TIP: make finding cheap flights your side hustle.
like I said, I'm not a trust fund baby and my parents roll their eyes every time I tell them I'm leaving town. (probably because its every two weeks) I pay for everything on my own. So obvs i'm going to want to find good cheap flights. I got my ticket to New York for...wait for it... drumroll please... $240 ROUND TRIP. I feel like I deserve a round of applause for that. Go ahead. I'll wait. I have about 6 different apps on my phone that notify me when flight prices are cheap. I'm using Hopper right now, and its my side chick. Never fails me. My advice to you is, dig deep and be patient. The good flights are hiding in the depths of the internet.
I'll never forget waking up to the sound of the pilot saying "On the right hand side, you'll see the empire state building." and YEP YOU GUESSED IT. I got emotional.
Going to New York for the first time is iconic. its a right of passage! I spent my whole life looking at this place in movies, books, tv shows, and now I was looking at it with my own eyes. I think thats why I love traveling so much.
We took a taxi to the upper east side (the Blair Waldorf who lives inside of me was screaming) and met my long lost cute as a puppy BFF Sahalie. She showed us around her teeny tiny apartment, and then we headed out and walked around the city at midnight, just taking it all in. We had been in New York for probably 30 minutes and Sahalie had already given every homeless person in the city the contents of her entire wallet, her savings account, social security number, and the shoes off her feet.
(exaggerating tbh, but on the real. sahalie is on that good samaritan level.)
Going to sleep that night, I was too excited to shut my eyes. The apartment was TINY. let me just emphasize that again, and I was so grateful that sahalie and her roommate were letting us crash for a week. they brought in a roll out bed, which meant you couldn't see the ground, and room to walk around was non existent. but we were HAPPY! I couldn't believe we were there.
PLACES TO GO:
+ THE MET
We started the day off at the Met. i'm a museum fiend and could spend all day learning about historical artifacts and making inappropriate comments at the naked sculptures. The met is so next level though. It was a hellish walk because I decided to wear HEELS. Hmm. fashion over function?
INDY TRAVEL TIP: Don't wear heels to New York City
I kicked the peasants off of the steps like they were jenny humphrey in season 1 of gossip girl all for this photo op. (I go to great lengths)
I pretended to be completely fine while I walked around with bleeding feet. Also, the manus x machina fashion exhibit was to die for. truly a spiritual experience. If I was living off of my fathers bill i'd call up Karl Lagerfeld and have him make me a cape of my own.
+ GRAND CENTRAL STATION
+ THE SUBWAY
duh! I was so overwhelmed the first time trying to navigate through the underground world that is NYC public transportation. But by the end of the trip I was a pro. I even fell asleep on a strangers shoulder. thats local status.
+ CHELSEA MARKET/THE HIGHLINE
THIS PLACE. I could spend all day here. Its a little indoor urban food court / mall built for hipsters and free spirits. i'll say it once. LOS TACOS NO. 1 AT CHELSEA MARKET. YOU WILL BE FOREVER CHANGED.
+ ROWING IN CENTRAL PARK
central park is HUGE and kind of overwhelming and rowing boats through the pond was the perfect way to unwind and relax, all while trying not to fall in the water. 10/10.
+ BROOKLYN BRIDGE
I never got to see it during the day which I really wanted to! another reason to go back, right? :) But I would definitely recommend basking in her glory at night. WAY less crowded and THEM LIGHTS (heart eye emoji) I also recommend grimaldis pizza in brooklyn, right on the other side of the bridge. brooklyn + pizza = love of my life.
Theres nothing like getting out of a show and seeing people spill out of all the theatres at the same time. We all got dressed up super fancy and it ended up pouring rain on us it was amazing. We wanted to see Hamilton but the cheapest ticket was $1200 with obstructed views. Lin Manuel Miranda did us dirttyyy. Instead we saw Les Mis & Chicago, two of my FAVS! It doesn't matter who you are, mom's dads, girls, boys, bloods, crips, NO ONE IS IMMUNE TO THE EMOTIONAL SIDE AFFECT FROM SEEING "ON MY OWN" ON BROADWAY.
screw what the locals say times square is FUN and definitely worth it for your first time.
+SOHO/LITTLE ITALY/GREENWICH VILLAGE
If I was as rich as Taylor Swift (or just in the illuminati) I would live in the village. this is the pinterest side of new york. The shops and cobblestone streets of soho are to die for and Little Italy is adorable and probably the next best thing to italy herself.
+ TOP OF THE ROCK
way better than the empire state building in my opinion. You can actually SEE the empire state building and you have a dope view of central park. Plus youre more likely to run into Jimmy Fallon on the way up. priorities.
STORIES I'LL TELL MY CHILDREN
+ THAT ONE TIME I PARTIED WITH FUTURE & THE ASIAN MAFIA:
Rachel and I had to book an airbnb for one of the nights because Sahalie's apartment only allows guests for four nights. It was our first experience with sleeping at a strangers house and we were less than thrilled. This came after a full day of broadway plays, and sight seeing and we were tired and ready to go to bed. The apartment we booked was a shared room, so we knew we would get to meet the hosts. I was hoping they would be cool "here's some freshly baked chocolate chip cookies" type and not the serial killer kind. Luckily, they were awesome.
We ended up talking to the couple for almost two hours. They taught us how to fit in like locals, and gave us a list of the best places to eat for the remainder of our trip. Morgan, the woman hosting us was a yoga instructor, so we did some sun salutations before bed. It was amazing. While we talked, Jerry, the boyfriend asked us if we had ever been clubbing. We told him we were 18. And also Mormon, hahaha. He insisted we find some fake i.d.'s and join him later. We politely declined but he was persistent. His friends were crazy partiers and knew the owners of the club. He asked if they could pull some strings and get us in. He never heard back from them so we headed to bed, satisfied after a good night talking to our new friends, the airbnb hosts.
Probably an hour later, we got woken up by Jerry. I'm thinking either the building is on fire, or my credit card got declined while booking the apartment and he was kicking us out. But no, he was waking us up to say his friends texted back and could get us in the club. WHAT! It was the middle of the night! Before I could say no, Rachel was putting on her shoes.
me: "RACHEL WE CAN'T GO CLUBBING WITH A STRANGER"
ray: "INDY HE'S OUR FRIEND"
She proceeded to convince me that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and she was mission bound. I needed to corrupt her in one final way I guess. Jerry came out, and asked if we were ready to go. I reluctantly agreed and he awkwardly asked if I had anything else to wear. Oh yeah, I was still in pajamas. Because our luggage was at Sahalie's apartment. HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHAT TO WEAR TO A CLUB? I GREW UP IN PROVO UTAH!!
He grabbed some of his girlfriends clothes and by some sort of miracle they fit me. I wasn't getting out of this one. We got in the uber and drove about 30 minutes to Chelsea, where the club was. Apparently it was the hottest club on a Monday night. The line was down the block, and my adidas sneakers didn't fit in as well as I had hoped. I had an -ALL I SEE ARE STILETTOS. I GUESS I NEVER GOT THE MEMO.- miley moment.
Jerry's friend comes outside and tells us to hand our I.D.'s to the bouncer. He takes one look at it and says, "NOPE." rachel hands him hers, and same thing, "NOPE."
"Oh well, we tried let's go home" i said, before Rachel grabbed my arm and forced me to stay.
Then, right then and there Jerry's friend, slips the bouncer a wad of cash. JUST LIKE IN THE MOVIES. I had secondhand embarrassment because that doesn't actually work right?? I guess it does when the wad of cash totals to be $1000. YEP. $500 each. To get us into a dang club on a Monday night. The table we were at was surrounded by gorgeous people, all Asian, all drunk out of their minds. Jerry told us that the table alone cost $20,000 for the night. One of the girls we were with offered us a drink, we said no thanks, and she smiled at us and gave us a big hug. Jerry whispered to us and said "Her dad is the richest man in China." WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?
There was no turning back now, so I embraced it. We switched out our vodka for orange juice and awkwardly danced and nodded our heads to the beat.
A security guard came in and cleared out the table next to us. And next thing I knew, Future and his entourage walk in and sit at the table next to us. "FUTURE'S IN THE HOUSE" The DJ said, and everyone cheered. I was fan girling so hard, and had to get a snapchat right? But because the world hates me and nothing can ever go smoothly for me, the FLASH WAS ON.
Within seconds, two huge men grabbed me and carried me off towards the back of the club demanding to see my phone. On the verge of tears, I hand them my phone and show them my camera roll which had no pictures of Future anywhere. (BECAUSE IT WAS ON MY SNAPCHAT SNITCHESZ!!!!!)
They let me go, and warned me to never do it again.
And thats the story of how I almost gave became best friends with Future. What a time to be alive.
As we were leaving the club, Jerry says, "I feel like I should probably tell you who you guys were partying with." Hmm. GOOD IDEA JERRY.
"Those guys were all in the Asian Mafia."
It's safe to say Jerry and Morgan got a 5 star review from us.
+ THAT ONE TIME WE KIND OF SORT OF MET KIMYE AND CHASED THEIR CAR FOR THREE BLOCKS:
While planning our trip, Ray and I did some research and found out Governors Ball was the same weekend we were going to be in NYC. It couldn't have been more perfect.
INDY TRAVEL TIP:
I would choose going to a concert over just about anything in the world. When planning trips I always research to see what bands are playing near my location during the dates that I'm there.
Governors ball is a three day music festival on Randall's Island but since it was our first time in the city, we decided to buy a one day pass so we could fill up our trip with other necessary things like finding the best donut in manhattan. (priorities) We quickly decided on sundays lineup for one reason only. YEEZYYYYYY!! My mom rolled her eyes and threatened to disown me, but I have a soft spot for kanye. Graduation was the first album I ever knew by heart. (I was such a gangster in sixth grade) Going to his one of his shows was a bucket list item for sure. We bought the tickets and overplayed The Life of Pablo until it was permanently background music in our minds.
Sunda morning rolls around and Rachel and I wake up in a strangers house (thank you airbnb) to the sound of rain pounding on the windows. I roll over, pick up my phone and the first thing I see is a notification from the gov ball app:
GOVERNORS BALL IS CANCELLED DUE TO RAIN
You have GOT TO BE KIDDING ME?! I couldn't believe this was happening. The main event of our trip was cancelled. We said "screw you" to mother nature, and walked around the rainy city and pouted for a couple of hours. It ended up being a fun day, we went down to the 9/11 memorial museum and checked out ground zero (amazing, by the way) went to 5 different candy stores, played in the rain and went to a movie with sahalie. We were soaking wet when we finally came in for the night and decided we were going to cuddle up on the tiny roll out bed, order a pizza and catch up on the bachelorette. Kanye WHO?? Am I right?
Almost as if he could sense us getting over it, yeezy himself tweets this cryptic message:
Show?? What show? Gov ball was cancelled? right? hello...??? kanye? kim..? NORTH??
I am a wizard when it comes to finding out things. And quicker than you can rap chance's verse in ultralight beam....I had found out. Kanye was doing a pop up show a couple blocks down the street. I had the address plugged in, shoes on my feet, and I looked at rachel and said. "lets go."
I knew I chose my travel partner in crime right, when she was already out the door before I could say it. Sahalie decided to stay home in case we didnt make it out alive, and I needed someone to update my instagram.
We held onto each other for dear life, while we braved the streets of the upper east side at 1 in the morning. I knew full well my father would fly out to new york right then and there and kill me himself if he knew we were riding the subway in the middle of the night, but It was worth it. memories. right?
As scared as we were, this was the most legendary night of my young life. A moment I already wish i could go back to. We got off the subway, headed up the stairs and saw kids our age on every street corner. We were all looking at each other like, "Lead the way." This was millennial territory.
The next thing I knew, we were RUNNING. Sprinting through the empty streets of New York City.
I was gripping Rachel's hand, and snapchatting with my other. We were laughing and screaming and wondering why everyone else WASNT laughing and screaming. We made it to webster hall, and quickly realized we were the only teenage white girls for miles. and hot pink wasn't the best choice in jacket color but we were there to see Kanye. And we weren't leaving the city until we did DANG IT! It was absolute madness, there were THOUSANDS of people there you guys. Police were lining the street but it didn't stop anyone from sitting on top of cars, UPS trucks, or rooftops. It was absolute MADNESS! Everyone was chanting "KANYE KANYE KANYE!" and "F--- GOV BALL" and rachel and I threw our fists in the air trying our best to look like we belonged.
I was refreshing twitter to find out information, and Kim Kardashian like the good wifey she is, was live tweeting the whole thing. She's good for something, apparently. She said that they were shutting down the show due to too many people and the rioting so they were looking for another venue. Kanye drove by and stood out the top of the sunroof of his car and tried to tell everyone a new location.
All of our ultralight beam dreams were crushed. We sat on the curb, in the middle of the night in new york city, with frowns on our faces. Cops were ushering everyone out of the street, making everyone go home. It was straight out of a movie. I made Rachel buy Kim Kardashians app so we could get the exclusive details. She was in the car, live streaming while her and kanye drove around trying to find a new place to perform. I look down the street and see a small crowd forming. We stand up and see everyone crowding a car. "I bet thats them!!' Rachel said but I was like NO way there would be way more people. So we head over, and me, being an unbeliever, stick my face right up to the window. The girl in the car was also watching Kim Kardashians live stream. Wait. NOPE. SHE WAS KIM KARDASHIAN! I knew I recognized that rose gold lumee selfie phone case.
I ran back to Rachel to get her phone because mine was dead, and they took off. Not before I snagged this pic.
We ran after the car for three blocks, and I began to wonder why I never tried out for the cross country team. Then again, the two most famous people in the world in a car right in front of you is good motivation for anyone. Finally we caught them at a stoplight and Kim, my bff rolled down the window and thanked us for coming out and apologized that they weren't able to do the show. Then she asked if I wanted to move to L.A. and be her best friend and wear waist trainers and eat organic salads together. At least I think she said that last part. It was late, who knows?! kanye didnt say anything, but I'm sure he was thinking of something really nice to say before they had to drive off.
Rachel and I, feeling satisfied, headed back to the subway station at 4 am. Still starstruck, adrenaline flowing through our veins. We walked in the middle of the streets, because we could, and had a moment alone with the city. And its a moment I will never ever forget.
And with that, I'll conclude this excessively long recap. From the world class tacos, to illegal clubbing shenanigans, to basking in the city skyline every night before bed with a lump in my throat. NEW YORK, NEW YORK. You've stolen my heart. Its yours. And I will be back to claim it, mark my words.