When visiting a new city, or even your own city, how do you go about making your to-do list? For me, it all depends on what I’ve read and heard…about a wonderful art exhibit, a show, a hidden gem of a consignment store…and then there’s food. On a recent trip to Manhattan with my cousins, our to-do list was set. It wasn’t until the end of the day, as we returned to the parking lot, our faces pink and hands numb, that my cousin brought a very telling detail into focus for me. “Holy shit, Stephanie. You do realize every single thing we did today revolved around food.” That was a gross realization.
Though, to be fair, when we walked from place to place and the kids complained of the cold, asking how much further to the next place, I’d said, “Forget where we’re going; we’re here.” Lucas stopped walking. “Here?!”
Then I hit him up with the “enjoy the journey” adage. But I brought it to life. “Look at the cobblestone streets. The sky, the architecture. What do you smell? What do you hear? Focus on that, on creating a memory, a painting of today’s moments, as you live them in this walk.”
“I know one thing I hear,” he said. “Your lecture.” And, he’s nine.
But later, on our drive home, he pointed out the colors in the sky, the sound of the traffic, and the smell of roasted nuts. As much as they resist, they still hear you. This goes for adults, too. Phil might not always agree with the things I say, but my points always make it in there.
Our next trip to the city will not revolve exclusively around food. Just partially.
Here’s a list of the places we visited on our downtown “Eat New York” walking tour (clickable links here: http://bit.ly/nycfoodwalk ):