New York City has beautiful parks – big and small. Of course there’s Central Park and other tourist hangouts, but I especially like the smaller ones where new-families go. Their Sunday morning sounds put the upcoming week in perspective. I’m not sure what it is, but there’s an inviting sense of hope in the air. You hear it in the kids playing. You see it in the parents watching. And most of all you feel things slow down as you notice other people taking a second to enjoy the moment. That’s where we met Marcia Howard – an aspiring book store owner and resident of Brooklyn. Marcia has a nice disposition so it was easy to strike up a conversation about travel, her favorite cities and what New York means to her…
There was no where else I wanted to go. I decided when I was 15 that I was going to Military School in West Virginia or to New York. My mom said, “Do you really want to wake up at 5 in the morning!?” Nooo. So New York it was. I guess military school was sort of a whim. It’s an insane thing to decide to do. Kind of random. It’s like maybe Maine, maybe Alaska, maybe Military School, maybe New York!? Luckily, New York won out. Thank God.
For me it was pretty simple. The first time you see New York in a movie you have that feeling like, I’ve gotta get there, and that feeling stays with you. So as you grow and you’re trying to figure out what you want to do with your life it keeps coming up. That was New York for me. I saw it and thought this is right. It feels right. It looks right.
I remember watching Party Girls with Parker Posey and she’s this crazy girl, living this crazy party life. And I thought – That’s going to be my LIFE! I watched it again recently and it is not my life. [laughs]
It’s more of a home then I thought it would be – more of a quiet place. You have to constantly reassess why you’re here because it can be a struggle and if you’re constantly struggling and you don’t know why, then what’s the point? What’s the point of getting up in the morning and busting your butt and working this hard? You have to constantly reassess what the city is really worth to you. And each reevaluation helps you find yourself a bit more. You can’t be complacent in New York. Your friends are motivated and everyone has their hands in something. So it helps you stay motivated too. Overall there’s great energy here.
Open a bookstore. I want to open a bookstore in Brooklyn or Long Island City – something small and very community based. Ideally not just a place where you could buy things, but something that has a sense of community. Where you have book clubs and workspaces.
My friends are always saying how they’d love to have a late night workspace and be there during the evenings working on their aspirations and projects. There are places like that already – for example Paragraph for writers where you can pay a membership fee and be there whenever. But I’d like to put my own twist on it and merge the concept of a books store with community engagement and personal entrepreneurship. I think that would be amazing.
This is a tough one. I always thought it would be Paris until I went to Costa Rica. So I’d have to say my favorite city is Puerta Viejo. The reason I chose it over Paris is because there’s a very different quality of life. The speed of life is different and there’s something… well with everything becoming more global, big cities becoming bigger cities with everything you want at your disposal… there’s something special about the quiet pace of Puerta Viejo. It’s a tiny town located on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica completely surrounded by rain forest. When I visited it felt like time was stopping.
Having been in New York for 9 years I don’t have that sense of space and time and just being able to let things run their course. Puerta Viejo offers something different – a sense of peace that’s hard to find in a city like New York.
The ease of getting around. I’ve never had a license. I’ve never had a car. It matters a lot to me how well a city is laid out and how well I can get from place to place. If it lacks strong public transportation I’m lost. But even if it lacks public transportation, if the layout allows me to get on a bike and get around that works too. But anywhere that absolutely requires a car is not for me. I might learn to drive one day. But for example, the idea of going to LA sounds crazy to me because you’ll need a car. I’m sure LA is great, but all the cars – no.
Train or Bus. I want to go across country via Amtrak. I’d love to see the country. I hear the people you meet during the long ride are really interesting. But, I also love buses. I think they’re similar experiences. I just appreciate the process of going and being able to see the scenery going by as you sit passively on a bus or train. It’s really great viewing everything as you’re going – the changing scenery, going in and out of towns or cities – and not having to think about the stress of driving.
A perfect Carry On. Something small – light and easy. I don’t like checking bags. I try to avoid it.
Pack light. Everything you think you need, you don’t. If you can’t carry it on your back it’s not worth having.
Radiohead’s In Rainbows. It can go with any type of mood.
— el fin.
All photos were taken by Brandon King a photographer living in Brooklyn, NY. For more of his work please check out wordbk.com
Travel Chronicles is an editorial feature for wejetset’s online magazine. Through an open and casual conversation it highlights how travel has shaped the talents, perspectives and experiences of creative and business professionals worldwide.