Guest blogger Eileen Sheets is a good friend of mine from New York. Although she grew up in The City, she managed to escape many years ago with her husband when they moved north into the Hudson Valley. Eileen shares with us one of the many things that brings her rest, relaxation and joy, kayaking down the rivers of the Adirondacks.
Finding out news of what's going on at home while you're away can either be joyful or shocking, and sometimes both. As travelers, when it comes to staying in touch we may have limited resources at hand, and we usually hear of these big events by unconventional means. But the main thing is not necessarily how we stay in the loop, but whether or not we actually do it.
While I was away in Borneo Malaysia, my sister gave birth in New York. Micah-Kai Brandstrom came into this world at 8 lbs 3 oz in a hospital on Long Island at the same time that I was getting on an AirAsia aircraft departing Kota Kinabalu International Airport, Malaysia.
I didn't find out about my nephew's birth until after my 10 hour plane-slash-bus ride-transit, which brought me home to Kaohsiung, Taiwan. I heard about it on Facebook.
For many of us, the name 'New York' conjures up the image of a line of skyscrapers sprawled out along the horizon from afar, or bright lights and zooming taxi cabs up close. But in actuality, The Apple is just one-third of the whole.
Upstate New York
In my mind, New York State can be divided into three primary sections. The first I consider as Upstate New York. Here you find the Hudson River Valley, Catskills Mountains, Niagara Falls, the capital city of the USA and the Adirondacks. The farther north you go, the more dramatic the seasons become. I am in love with the Hudson River Valley and its neighboring Catskills mountain range. Easily accessible and aesthetically charming, these are great places for a weekend getaway from the often times hectic city pace.
The Big Apple
New York, New York... a mass of ethnic diversity and cultural stimulation. The city is made up of 5 main boroughs all centered around Manhattan Island. In my opinion, this is where the cities of the world are represented most in the USA. Always a sea of heaving people headed upcity, downtown, inner city or out of state, this is the crossroads of the state.The beat is lively, always flowing, and beneath the icy, straightforward stares is a layer of men and women who go where they're headed and know where they've been. It's hard to fit in if you don't pick up the pace, but once your pace is set, this place is inspiring.
This can best be described as an area of economic contradiction, where the very rich rub elbows with the debased poor. Middle class is a series of numbers, and the farther east you get, the more pretentious the lifestyle seems. And yet, underneath it all, if you scratch behind the facade, you will find a history of the people who were there before the onslaught of summer homes and Manhattan elite-come-settlers. It's a history of farmers and fishermen, immigrants and locals alike.
And now we ask you: Have your previous perceptions of a place ever been challenged by the reality of the experience? Comment below and let us know!
I'm JR. I come from a long line of adventurers, some were nomadic explorers of the sea and others wandering cultivators of the earth. Ultimately, this legacy of drifters has deeply affected my view of travel. Read more...