Before 2017 I had never traveled outside of Europe. Sometime back in January, fueled by the season of resolutions, I said: “I want this to be the year that I take a long haul flight”. It was the first step towards us going on an adventure.
In March we booked flights; we were going to the USA! We had absolutely no plan except a flight and some vague sightseeing desires.
In May I handed in my notice. My two years of a teaching contract were up and it was time to take some much needed holiday.
In July I had my last day at work. We packed everything from our house into a storage unit and waited (not so) patiently for our trip to begin.
We flew from London to New York on August 15th.
I am not the most confident of flyers but I found that being on a larger plane for a long time actually made me less nervous than other flights have done in the past. The abundance of Friends and Modern Family on the screens helped too!
We’re incredibly lucky that my boyfriend runs an online business, so he can (and will!) work from anywhere. In the week that we arrived, he experienced the most incredible spike in sales. With this came a huge deluge of customer service requests and with a time-sensitive product it was all hands on deck! We took on extra remote staff and were working solid 18 – 21 hour days for our first week in the city. This was certainly not how we had expected our holiday to start.
When we arrived we could not yet check in to our hotel and instead found ourselves eating pastries and working in a deli nearby. My first bite in New York was a red velvet croissant! This was working out well for me already.
We started our trip in the great but small hotel Pod 39. This is the perfect place for a sightseeing weekend as the rooms are small but clean and well equipped. If you were going to spend a day out and about, Pod 39 would be the ideal place to rest your head.
After two days at Pod 39 (we had booked this when back in the UK as we knew we wanted flexibility on where we might go next), we decided that with all of this work it was time to move into some 5-star luxury. The Pensinsula on Fifth Avenue was an absolute oasis for us. A huge bedroom with ample desk space, a beautiful bathroom, and a lobby gave us the space that we really needed to smash through all the work coming our way and stay healthy and happy. The pool and spa were a true sanctuary. We spent the next few days working in the fluffiest robes and ordering room service to sustain us.
Falling into bed at 2 am and waking at 6 was made all the easier by the huge bed and its incredibly comfortable pillows.
I have to admit that we felt a little like impostors. I have never experienced service like that at The Peninsula before. Impeccable timing, nothing too much trouble and absolute attention to detail without being intrusive. We also had quite a few giggles as they had my boyfriend’s name on the booking and kept referring to me as ‘Mrs. [his surname]’! We couldn’t bear to correct them and by the end of the stay could hardly contain our amusement.
As a side note, everywhere we have been people have referred to me as his wife and called us Mr. and Mrs. One waiter even called us ‘newlyweds’! I think this might have been because we were drinking prosecco and holding hands, but really? It has led us to question if everyone in America over a certain age is married!
A couple of days before we left The Peninsula we finally got out of the hotel and headed out for a walk in the city. It was a hot and sunny Saturday morning with all of the hustle and bustle of the city coming down the street. It was exactly what we had expected of NYC, but after 5 days of hotel bound work, we were a little overwhelmed, to say the least. I think we must have been wandering aimlessly (I honestly can’t remember, we were at absolute exhaustion at this point) and found ourselves on The Avenue of the Americas. It was filled with stalls, people, and the sun’s bright rays. The smells of food from every continent drifted past us. Steam issued forth from the streets and yellow taxis came over intersections in a blur. It was our first taste of New York and we really were hooked.