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Some thoughts on staying put.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might have noticed that the setting for just about all of my posts is either Newburgh or New York City. There are never posts about, say, a summer vacation in Paris or even a long weekend in San Francisco. Yes, Evan and I did go to a friend’s wedding in Arizona three years ago, but aside from that—I am still right here, where I always was.

I was born about 100 miles north of NYC, and in the 37 years since, I’ve moved up and down that 100 mile span and haven’t really looked beyond. I did spend some time (about 6 months total) in Los Angeles in my early 20s while in the throes of a long-distance relationship, but New York—specifically the lower and mid-Hudson Valley region into NYC—has always been home.

Maybe it’s because my mother is an immigrant or because my father is a born and bred New Yorker, but I’ve just always had this sense that I’m supposed to be here. Like New York was chosen for me. I love New York so much. It’s hard for me to describe how emotional this city makes me, though this clip spells it out pretty well. I took the photo at the top of this post over the weekend when we were driving down from Newburgh. Every time I see that skyline, I get misty-eyed. Every single time. I don’t remember who said it (maybe Woody Allen), but I’ve heard that New York is a place that makes people nostalgic for the present. That’s so, so true.

The other thing about New York City is that because there’s always so much going on here and because the population is incredibly diverse, it’s easy to start to feel like you’re living in a microcosm of the entire world. In a single afternoon you can have interactions with people from a dozen different cultures all over the planet. You can walk 10 blocks from a midtown office building and be in a grassy oasis at Central Park. Hop on a subway, and in under an hour you’re at Coney Island looking at the Atlantic Ocean. I think having so much here can tend to tamp down what might otherwise be a natural wanderlust. You get comfortable. New York is safe. This city makes sense.

I didn’t travel much growing up. I’ve never really talked to my parents about this, but I can only assume it was because of money—they were both artists, and there were a lot of us kids between the two of them. I don’t know how it would have been possible! So we didn’t go to Disney World or Hawaii or whatever it was other kids in school were doing during their vacations. The summer before I turned 9, though, I went to Sweden with my mother. Just the two of us! We stayed with my aunt and uncle and spent time with my grandmother, who was still living in the tiny Stockholm apartment my mother grew up in. Even though that trip was almost 30 years ago, I remember it so vividly—to the point that I can still recall a pair of lace-up canvas shoes my mother bought me while we were there, and how the cobblestone streets felt through their soles. I remember going to see Ronja Rövardotter in the movie theater, and somehow understanding enough for it to not matter that there of course weren’t any English subtitles. The popcorn came in a cone with Mickey Mouse (excuse me, I mean Musse Pigg) on it.

And that was kind of the end of the idea of traveling for pleasure for me. Between work and school and more work and no money and more work and work and work and general exhaustion and eventually illness, I developed a weird kind of fear of being away from home. I don’t know how to drive (I’ve never driven, in fact—I’m terrified of that, too), so I don’t have that instinct to just get up and go. The prospect of planning a trip is fraught with anxieties over having to make decisions based on things I know nothing about. It’s totally overwhelming. I start thinking about getting lost. About being robbed. About not understanding signs. About becoming so caught up in fear that I’m unable to ask for help. I run through all of these possibilities in my head, and then conclude that I’d be happier just hanging out in New York. So I stay put.

The funny thing is, I’ve always kind of thought of myself as being a “worldly” person. I’m interested in art and design and music and books and movies from all over the world, and I’ve never shied away from meeting people from all different backgrounds. I certainly didn’t grow up in a household where nationalism was encouraged, either. By all rights, I should be a world traveler. I should have that wanderlust. I guess it’s just a lifetime of fear and procrastination that’s suppressed those impulses.

I’m about to take a major step in a week and half, though: I’m getting on a plane (uncharacteristically, I’m not afraid of flying!) by myself and going to London for 8 days. I’m going to visit a very good friend of mine. He’s a born Londoner who’s traveled all over the world and lived on two continents—really the opposite of me in that regard! I intentionally haven’t made any plans in advance because I know that will only cause me to feel anxious, so I’m just going to let the trip happen. I’ll figure it out as I go.

I’ve got a renewed passport, a suitcase with wheels and a travel-sized bottle of hairspray, so I’m pretty much ready to go. I’m excited! I’m still nervous about getting lost and being eaten by rabid British squirrels, but deep down I know everything will be fine. Let’s do this thing, world.

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  • Reply Christina September 21, 2012 at 1:46 am

    You picked a really good starting trip. London is awesome and friendly, and the squirrels aren’t that rapid, just don’t look them in the eyes…

  • Reply Victoria Smith September 21, 2012 at 1:50 am

    baby steps. at least they speak english there, which can make traveling abroad about a 100x easier, unless of course you are fluent in the language of the country you are visiting. londoners in my experience are kind and helpful, the cab drivers have been through rigorous training and know exactly where they’re going, the tube is great (if you can understand the ny subway, this will be a snap!).

    you’re going to have a great time. visit the tate, the national portrait gallery, the open street markets, wander. and take lots and lots of pictures. 🙂 xo

  • Reply miss alix September 21, 2012 at 1:53 am

    It’s funny because I’m almost the opposite, I’ve never lived anywhere but Los Angeles and I’ve always felt I should be somewhere else. I wish I felt more connected to this place or nostalgic or whatever but I don’t. Usually I feel kind of trapped. The idea of traveling always sounds so exciting but often times I just get overwhelmed by trying to figure out where to go and what to do. I’m notorious for trying to go too many places in a trip or worrying about not having a plan. Going to visit someone solves nearly all these problems. I’m sure you will have a wonderful time. Beyond that, facing your anxieties is the only way to really deal with them. London is fairly easy to navigate and I’m pretty sure they’ve got a handle on the rabid squirrels (or at least I hope).

    • my honest answer September 21, 2012 at 8:01 am

      I would just like to clarify that Britain does not, and never has had, rabies! Strict controls on moving animals to and from the continent (and the fact our being an island), is to thank.

      There are many other dangers, but that is not one of them. I’m sure your trip will be wonderful!

    • Anna @ D16 September 21, 2012 at 8:41 am

      Hah. I’m not actually worried that I’ll get rabies from squirrels—who, if you want to get super literal about it, aren’t a source of rabies in the first place. Like rats and other small rodents, squirrels are considered terminal vectors for the disease since the transmission bite itself would kill them before they’d be capable of transmitting the disease itself. I also don’t actually believe that squirrels would eat me.

      It was just a joke. I was attempting to point out the irrationality of my fears via hyperbole.

  • Reply Meredith September 21, 2012 at 2:04 am

    I completely understand. I’m such a homebody, but one who also happens to be a huge traveler. I can’t explain that, other than I feel like I belong nowhere, so I’m constantly searching. I’ve backpacked my way through Europe, lived in Taiwan for a time, and taken multiple solo trips. That being said, I also feel the need to plan for every single minute detail. If not, I descend into a mess of neurosis.

    I similarly leave (in three weeks) to spend a year in London, alone (studying abroad). I can only say that I feel your fear, but having visited London before, can tell you that it’s surprising easy to navigate (at least north of the river), and while the squirrels in the parks aren’t rabid, they will try to climb your leg if you offer them food 🙂

  • Reply Jules September 21, 2012 at 2:09 am

    Maybe it’s because my mother is an immigrant or because my father is a born and bred New Yorker, but I’ve just always had this sense that I’m supposed to be here.

    I can’t put into words how being the child of immigrants–actually, I’m an immigrant, too!–has informed all my major life decisions. I completely understand the need to stay put. For me, it’s an attempt to create history and tradition. I had none of that growing up. I remember having to explain to my parents what the tooth fairy was, Thanksgiving, etc. Everything was new and different, and while it seemed very cosmopolitan to my friends, I longed for ordinary anonymity. None of my friends understand why I’ve stayed put in our small, ordinary community just outside the desert, but I feel like I was meant to be here.

    That said, I always said that if I could live anywhere else, it would be New York.

    Have a great trip. 🙂

  • Reply Nancy September 21, 2012 at 2:21 am

    Have so much fun!! I’m currently in Copenhagen, heading home today. I get anxious about travel too but I love it. My strategy for this trip was to let my friend plan our itinerary for the first leg of our trip in Iceland, and to plan nothing for Copenhagen. It worked out well!

  • Reply Mildlycrafty September 21, 2012 at 2:26 am

    I was chased by a squirrel in Scotland! It was a bit scary but I felt like a fool running away from it, it was going to run up my leg. (I’m Australian, no squirrels here)

    Have fun on your trip.

    • Anna @ D16 September 21, 2012 at 10:35 am

      Haha! I’ve had some overly-friendly squirrels in my own backyard, so I understand the fear!! They’re cute, but that doesn’t mean I want them climbing in my kitchen window…

  • Reply Barb Fisher September 21, 2012 at 2:26 am

    This is going to sound weird, seeing as I’ve never met you and that I only ever commented once or twice…..but I have been reading D16 for years. I have always admired your style and lusted after your home. Your taste is immaculate, and even though I have hugely different taste in some things to you (say, music) – I absolutely admire how well you know yourself, how distinctly ‘Anna’ you are. Sometimes you pop into my head – ‘what would Anna do?’. That sounds weirdly creepy. Honestly, I’m not!

    Anyway, just this morning on my run, I was thinking about traveling (I’ve done a lot, and my husband, daughter and I are possibly about to move from Australia to Singapore). You popped into my head (I don’t know why! Maybe I am creepy?) and I thought to myself that I don’t think I’ve ever read a post about you traveling. Anywhere. And then I read this! Freaky. You have explained yourself so well, it just seems right somehow. Yes, you do seem worldly. And you do seem right at home in New York. I am very much looking forward to reading your observations on London and whether it will whet your appetite for more travel. I lived in London for four years. ADORED IT.

    One other question that has popped into my (creepy) head – I often wonder if you will ever have children? Don’t feel you have to answer that. It’s incredibly personal and no-one else’s business. I will completely freak, however, if I open up D16 tomorrow morning to read a post that you are pregnant. Now that WILL be creepy!

    Enjoy your trip to London Anna.

  • Reply Sandra September 21, 2012 at 2:26 am

    I love traveling. I’m from Iceland and my parents used to regularly take my sister and I out of the country every now and then. I guess it’s just something Europeans do, it’s so easy once you’re on the mainland of Europe to just drive to whatever country you want to go to. Feeling like italian tonight? Let’s go to Italy.

    But I would like to ask you something. I’m living in San Francisco right now and going to school there but I’m kind of itching to move to NYC once I graduate. What parts of New York are the best ones to live in right now, specifically in Brooklyn? I’m looking for something that’s relatively safe to live in and walk around.

    Also, only 8 days in London? You’re going to wish it was longer 🙂

    • Anna @ D16 September 21, 2012 at 10:57 am

      Sandra, what you’re describing about the kind of traveling Europeans do within Europe is really true for Americans, too. I didn’t mention this in my post, but because this country is absolutely HUGE and so incredibly diverse, even just traveling a few states away can be very similar to going to another country. The cultural differences and even language variations in different parts of the United States are vast—which is part of the reason for the massive political divide, but I won’t get into that right now!

      I’m really bad at answering questions about New York. I think it’s because I don’t have the right kind of perspective—when a place is so common and normal to you, I think you tend to become very comfortable with what you know and with what routine works best for your own lifestyle. There is something in NYC for everyone, though! I will say that this is a very, very safe city all around. I can’t even think of a part of NYC that isn’t safe to live and walk around in at this point! I really think the biggest determining factors in choosing a neighborhood here are: (1) How much space do you need, (2) Where do you need to go every day, and (3) What is your budget—the budget factor being the most critical, since prices here can vary WILDLY depending on location.

      As far as Brooklyn goes, my favorite area is South Brooklyn:
      The neighborhoods that make up South Brooklyn are Cobble Hill, Red Hook, Gowanus, Park Slope, and Boerum Hill (some people would also include Carroll Gardens). Controversial though my opinion may be, I’m not actually a fan of North Brooklyn (Williamsburg, Greenpoint, etc.)…but that’s just me. I’m sure the fact that Cobble Hill was my first Brooklyn homebase has a lot to do with me liking that part of town!

      Right now I have an apartment in DUMBO, which is part of Downtown Brooklyn. I love it here, too! 🙂

  • Reply Melanie September 21, 2012 at 2:27 am

    That’s awesome that you’re doing it, even though you’re scared. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of all the stuff in our heads and have an open mind about what something we fear might actually be like. I hope you have an amazing time.

  • Reply Katherine September 21, 2012 at 2:36 am

    You are worldly – in the same way that my grandmothers, voracious readers and film goers both, were. You invite the world in!

  • Reply Vanina September 21, 2012 at 2:37 am

    I hope you like London as much as I do – I feel about it the same way as you do about New York, I think! And you’ll be here with Londoner, which will definitely help. Have fun!

  • Reply miri (miris jahrbuch) September 21, 2012 at 2:38 am

    I love visiting friends who live abroad – very good idea not to make any plans but… yeah… visit the Tate and the Tate Modern! And London squirrels are friendly – iat least compared to that crazy rodent that attacked me in Central Park!

  • Reply Kelly September 21, 2012 at 3:09 am

    London is wonderful. Have a great adventure there!

  • Reply Rebecca September 21, 2012 at 3:27 am

    Don’t worry – British squirrels are very friendly 🙂

    I really enjoyed reading this post. Have a fantastic trip!

  • Reply amy w September 21, 2012 at 3:49 am

    As a Brit living in New Zealand, I have to say I’ve always had the travel bug but also want to be home, I miss it. I hope you adore England as much as I do! Enjoy that gritty, crazy, loveably scruffy town London

  • Reply krystal/village September 21, 2012 at 4:27 am

    I never really left my midwest area until I got married. I guess never even thought about traveling…but once i started i couldn’t really stop and now i’m living in switzerland (but, i know i’ll always end up near home). as i was reading this i was getting angry at your fears! (not you, but the ideas that are keeping you grounded) and then i was so excited for you for going to london!!!! traveling is amazing – PLUS it makes you appreciate coming home so. much. more.

  • Reply caroline no September 21, 2012 at 4:30 am

    enjoy your london trip! it’s fab here. walk along the southbank, go to the tate modern and the tate britain (you can boat trip between the two.) east london, around shoreditch / old street / dalston are great to explore on foot and where the markets (go on sunday), galleries and good eats are. soho is also stuffed full of good food. I’m @carolineno on twitter if you need any emergency ‘where to go’ london tweet advice. 🙂 it’s lovely and autumnal here at the moment too.

    also, whatkatiedoes is a great blog for london veggie foodie stuff.

    • katie September 21, 2012 at 5:43 am

      *waves* Thanks Caroline!

      Welcome to London, Anna – we’re friendlier than New Yorkers and have no native bears, you have nothing to worry about 😉

    • Anna @ D16 September 21, 2012 at 11:00 am

      Thanks Caroline and Katie! As far as food goes, I’ve been supplied by the lovely Quarrygirl with an extensive list of vegan-friendly places in the area I’ll be staying in, but I shall DEFINITELY hit you up if I find myself hungry and in need of a bite. 🙂

  • Reply Liz September 21, 2012 at 4:42 am

    Argh, the squirrels of London! I’m more bothered by the pigeons (otherwise known as flying rats) although even these aren’t that much of a problem. (The big squirrels are the grey ones and these are immigrants – as so many Londoners are. The smaller red ones are now very rare.)

    By chance squirrels made me think of you a month or ago. Tracey Neuls (a London shoe maker) has another collaboration with Tord Boontje – I’d not heard of Tord until your blog, so his name always makes me think of you. (Why squirrels? Tracey told me that the collaboration was inspired by squirrels…) And the collaboration helped me discover he now has a shop right here on my doorstep …real world fantasy shopping is more challenging that the internet version. (Tord wrote about his shop here – – if you want to know more.)

    I hope you had a fantastic visit and, if you decide to share, I’ll be interested in seeing what you think of my adopted home. I love it and I hope you do to.

    And you know worldliness isn’t about what you’ve seen on your travels. I know people who have been everywhere and seen everything but they are anything but worldly. I love to travel but I also love coming home to a city that has everything in it; the journey home from the airport always makes feel good about where I’ve been and where I live. Maybe you’ll get the travel bug but if not, you have the world at your feet in New York. Happy travels worldly Anna!

    • Anna @ D16 September 21, 2012 at 11:02 am

      Thanks Liz! And yes, I will definitely be blogging about my trip—definitely after, and possibly during. 🙂

  • Reply amyoliver September 21, 2012 at 4:42 am

    I love the comment that New York makes people feel nostalgic for the present. Totally articulates how I have felt when I visit.

    As a Londoner for the past 18 yrs, I love the city, and am glad you are seeing it with a Londoner, he will know where to go and what to do. Have an amazing trip.

  • Reply Simone September 21, 2012 at 4:50 am

    The only time I was ever afraid of travel was when we went to Japan. I once had read a story by a Dutch writer (Cees Nooteboom) about how he got lost walking in Japan and could not find his Ryokan back and he could not ask the people on the streets (people are extremely helpful in Japan, like no other country in the world, they will slay dragons for you) and could not read the signs in the streets (and in Japan they number the houses in the street based on when they were built). That stressed me out. But I really wanted to go there and it was well worth it.
    Have a wonderful trip, be sure to go look at Habitat and Terence Conran’s shop (because they are design classics). And if you have an afternoon left check this out:'s_Museum because it is absolutely crazy eccentric fabulous & British.
    Have a great trip and a wonderful day!!!

    • Anna @ D16 September 21, 2012 at 11:03 am

      They number the houses based on when they were built?! Oh, wow. That is very cool, but also completely terrifying for outsiders!

    • Simone September 21, 2012 at 12:56 pm

      Yes, we found that out when we took a taxi and the driver asked us if we knew where the place was, hahaha.

    • Simone September 24, 2012 at 4:05 am

      P.S. You do know that Tom Dixon worked at Habitat as a chief designer (the dutch designer Ineke Hans worked for Habitat as well) for several years? I’m very excited for you. Have lots and lots of fun.

  • Reply liza September 21, 2012 at 5:11 am

    Hi, Anna. I’ve been reading you for awhile and would have never imagined that you’ve never traveled. You are so wordly. I will tell you…you will LOVE London!!! I consider it the New York of Europe. Enjoy. Can’t wait to hear all about it.

  • Reply Kendall September 21, 2012 at 5:56 am

    The Indian food in London is the best! Hope you enjoy yourself.

  • Reply chanel Jibal September 21, 2012 at 6:09 am

    I dream of going to London in the next 5 years. I really hope you have a great time. Unplanned trips are better IMO. no pressure, just enjoying your surroundings. Can’t wait to hear al about it!

  • Reply Amanda September 21, 2012 at 7:29 am

    Thats AMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZING! I’m so jealous, I’ve always wanted to visit London. It is a magical place, just like NY. Ok, I’ve never been in both of them, but in my heart I KNOW they are magical. I’m so happy for you!

    Enjoy your trip and DO NOT forget of telling us everything about it! 😉

  • Reply Judi September 21, 2012 at 7:32 am

    I know what you mean by needing to stay put. I grew up in Germany–my parents went over in 1957 so my dad could take advantage of a Fulbright–and lived in the US only briefly before moving back to Germany and then coming back to the US for university. I’ve always imagined myself as a traveler, but never managed to be one (despite what many of my friends think was a glamorous expat upbringing which of course involved lots of Euro country-hopping, because we didn’t have a lot of money either, but we visited friends). Since moving here permanently in 1980, I’ve been back to Germany exactly once. The biggest thing I’ve done was the move to VT earlier this year. Funnily enough, we’re more likely to cross a border now…Montreal is our nearest large city. But even that doesn’t feel like “traveling”…when I was growing up we used to go to Holland to buy groceries because it was cheaper.

    The good news, I guess, is that I’ve learned through all of this that lesson that all us semi-immigrant/always sort of displaced people learn…if you are comfortable in your own skin you can be comfortable anywhere. You’ll still be the consummate New Yorker as you travel…and you’ll leave a little of yourself, and of NYC, wherever you go. Best of all, you’ll bring something new back to NYC when you come home.

    Have a wonderful time.

    • Anna @ D16 September 21, 2012 at 11:04 am

      That’s such a nice way of looking at it, Judi. Thank you.

  • Reply Joanne Critchley September 21, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Anna, if you are free at any point in London please let me know. I’m an avid reader of your blog and you’ve often helped me out when I email to ask where you get all your fab stuff. I would be happy to take you to Southbank, V&A etc. Have a great trip!

    • Anna @ D16 September 21, 2012 at 11:05 am

      That’s so nice of you, Joanne! I suspect my trip will be rather whirlwind in nature and over before I know it, but I appreciate the offer. 🙂

  • Reply Kathryn September 21, 2012 at 8:13 am

    That’s so great that you are going to London (where I moved to 2 years ago). I’m sure having someone here to guide you will help alleviate any anxieties you have about the trip.

    I LOVE New York. I lived there for a summer that I will never forget and remember my daily commute when that W train would swing around and I’d catch a view of the Chrysler Building. That Woody Allen quote really hits the nail on the head. I don’t quite have that feeling living in London, enjoying it seems to be a slower process.
    Hope you have a fantastic trip!

  • Reply Judi September 21, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Following up…. Isn’t a blog a form of travel? You send your thoughts and experiences out into the world; they interact with other people’s thoughts and experiences; and everyone’s transformed by the give and take. If that’s not travel, I don’t know what is.

    • Anna @ D16 September 21, 2012 at 8:47 am

      Couldn’t you say that about anything, though? Reading, talking to other people, watching movies, etc. That’s life—but it’s not travel.

    • Judi September 21, 2012 at 10:04 pm

      Well, yes…on reflection, I think you’re right. The immediacy of the experience–the sights, the sounds, the smells, the tastes–is paramount when you can BE THERE, and that’s really necessary to life, too. So, brava you, again, for taking the leap.

  • Reply Shelly September 21, 2012 at 8:16 am

    In a million years I would have never thought you had fear about travel. Your sense of home is something foreign to me. I’ve lived in a few states and have seen many places but have never felt “home” anywhere. I can’t stand the Midwest city I grew up in and have no desire to be there. It’s dirty, grey, cold, and the people are rude. It’s weird that my family choose to stay there because they only complain about it. I live is a beautiful city now but after 4 years I still can’t say I feel at home. I have to admit I’m jealous of you and even though I do have a wanderlust at this point it would feel nice to be “home”. Whatever that means. I love your very honest post.

    • Anna @ D16 September 21, 2012 at 11:09 am

      I hope you find that sense of “home” someday, Shelly. I know what it’s like to live somewhere that doesn’t feel right (even when I was in LA for a few months at a time I felt absolutely desperate to get out), and finding the right place can be an incredibly daunting process—especially if you’re already tied to a region by family or work or whatever.

  • Reply Tanja September 21, 2012 at 8:37 am

    *delurking* Hi Anna! You’ll love London. No doubt about that!
    Have a fab time!

  • Reply Erica W. September 21, 2012 at 8:40 am

    I travel kind of a lot, and I like going new places, but I LOVE coming home and being home. I could quite happily never leave my own 100 mile radius again. But I will say that coming home from a trip (even beyond my locavore location) makes me love and appreciate my home and home town even more. England’s great (I lived there for several years and boy was THAT a great place to return from) and I hope you’ll enjoy it. You’ll really love NY when you get back, I predict 🙂

  • Reply Catalina September 21, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Hey Anna!
    LOVED THIS POST. Love when people travel, actually :). I, too, am a daughter of immigrants, but who decided to emigrate back (to Argentina). I’ve inherited their wanderlust, so nothing sounds better to me than flying off somewhere. My last big trip: a family vacation to Scandinavia, left us all wishing we could live in a different country every month. I guess what I’m trying to say is, be ready to get bitten by the travel bug, so much world to see so little time! And if you don’t, NYC is probably one of the best places (along with London) to be permanently tied to in my opinion.
    Have a great trip, enjoy, and don’t worry about getting lost, in a big city there’s always someone to help you find your way.

    • Catalina September 21, 2012 at 9:16 am

      I forgot to mention, lest you think I’m some unattatched citizen of the world, I’m the biggest homebody I know.

  • Reply nicole September 21, 2012 at 9:18 am

    i really appreciate this post and the sincerity and honesty revealed within its words.

    as someone who does know you rather well, i am incredibly excited to hear about your upcoming trip … i’m also very proud of you for taking the leap. you will have the support and encouragement of those who love you tucked into your bags with you.

    as someone formerly terrified of travel (and, let’s just admit it, crowded situations, strangers, and navigating unfamiliar places), i can say that my experiences bursting through that comfort wall fundamentally changed the person i am. it made me realize that i really could do things that scared me and actually made me hungry for more. there’s an element of travel that still strikes panic in my core (some of which is being stirred by a trip i am planning late winter), but that’s the very reason why i seek it out. in my experience, travel has a way of teaching us things about ourselves that would not be possible otherwise … things that we can then bring back and incorporate into the weave of our lives and perspective at home.

    london and the surrounding area is a wonderful place that i grew to love many years ago, and i’m so excited to see it revealed through your eyes.


    • Anna @ D16 September 21, 2012 at 11:11 am

      I know you know where I’m coming from, and I’m so inspired by you—not only your travels, but the fact that you completely relocated your whole life. I love you. xoxo (And I promise to email you today. LONG overdue.)

  • Reply Debbie September 21, 2012 at 9:21 am

    I’ve lived and worked in London for nearly all my life, and I feel about London just the way you described your feelings about New York. I’m itching to give you recommendations, but you’re going to be with a Londoner who will show you THEIR London so I won’t! Its an amazing place – full of history, architecture, art, fashion, music – so inspiring! I really hope you have a great time. PS: you’ll see loads of cute dogs!

  • Reply Lynn September 21, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Apart from congratulating you on doing something you will NEVER regret, I also want to give some very practical advice. You will walk A LOT. Only bring shoes you can walk miles in. And I just shared something with two friends who just came to visit me in Europe and they couldn’t say enough good things about them. Yes, insoles:

    They are short so they don’t crowd your toes, but super squishy. They will make the difference between your feet aching and you not wanting to walk anymore, and being able to brave the streets everyday. I swear!!! I’ve tried tons and these are the best.

    And if you want, it might also be a good idea to get some blister block. It’s super small and I carry it with me always. It just gives a bit of glide so your toes/heels don’t get blisters, even under socks.

    And I swear I don’t work for or the parent company of these brands 🙂

    And bring less clothing than you think. Europeans wear the same things over and over, more so than Americans.

    • Anna @ D16 September 21, 2012 at 10:33 am

      Oh, Lynn, believe me—I know all about the right shoes to wear (and also about blister sticks!). Remember, I live in New York. I think we do more walking here per day than anywhere else in the world, and we do it FAST! 😉

      And hey, since I only really have two outfits, I’ll fit right in clothes-wise. 😀

    • Lynn September 21, 2012 at 1:49 pm

      Totally hear ya, but I’ll make the argument that in your home city you might take the metro/subway for efficiency’s sake — like you probably wouldn’t walk across the Brooklyn Bridge everyday to get to Manhattan for work — but as a tourist you’ll walk places just to see them (and be walking in museums) more so than in your normal life even if you live in a big city. But sounds like you’re covered if you’re already walking miles each day.

  • Reply Traveling Mama September 21, 2012 at 10:26 am

    I am the exact opposite about travel. It’s all I’ve ever wanted, all I’ve ever dreamed about, and all I’ve ever done. I blame my mom’s wanderlust and my dad’s job as a pilot. But I have also felt homeless pretty much my entire life until we moved to Copenhagen. Now, even though I love to travel, there is no where else I would rather be! Maybe you just started where you were meant to finish!

    I didn’t realize your grandmother was Swedish. It makes so much more sense to me now because I have always wondered how you could have such a Scandinavian style! I hope your time in London is magical and will maybe create just a little wanderlust in you so you will want to visit Scandinavia again!

    • Anna @ D16 September 21, 2012 at 10:30 am

      My grandmother was Danish, actually, but she lived in Sweden—that’s where my mother was born and grew up. And yes, I definitely get my sense of style from her (though I think she also gets some of hers from me!). 🙂

  • Reply kimberly September 21, 2012 at 10:27 am

    i always enjoy and appreciate your honest, thoughtful posts…

    i’ve actually had the opposite fear for most of my life. i’ve been born and raised in new york but, ever since adulthood, i’ve been pretty anxious to travel and see just about everything else possible. my fear is remaining in one place, being stagnant and missing out on SOMETHING (although i’m not sure what that something is). recently however, i’ve made it my goal to stay put more often and truly appreciate what the city has to offer. so far, so good! when i have that itch to leave, i turn to something new in the city and i’ve honestly never loved new york more. in fact, i’m beginning to feel that overwhelming emotion when i see the skyline (i’m glad to hear it’s not only me).

    good luck in your travels, anna! i’m sure you’ll have an amazing time, one step at a time 🙂

    • Anna @ D16 September 21, 2012 at 11:13 am

      Isn’t it funny how a lifetime in New York makes the city kind of invisible in a way? I also really need to take time to appreciate this city more, and to get out there and DO things in my own town. It’s really when someone asks me for travel advice that I realize how common it’s all become to me at this point—and that should never happen in a city like this!

  • Reply Liz September 21, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Growing up, travel was limited to places we could drive to, and likely to be able to stay with family or friends for free. It was great, because I really got to know my home province (Ontario) quite well — there is some amazing history and diversity here!

    In high school, I went on a school trip to Scotland, and I just haven’t looked back! I love to travel!!! My husband and I are constantly planning our next trip, whether it be an Alaska cruise, a week in NYC (LOVE NEW YORK!!!) or our hopes to someday spend a month in Stockholm.

    The only thing that stresses me out about travelling is food. I am a very picky eater. VERY. I don’t eat seafood, I don’t care for Indian food, I can’t stomach a lot of the herbes de provence that is used in French cooking, I don’t particularly like cheese, don’t even put any kind of tropical fruit near me (bananas, mangoes, coconut, all that stuff just grosses me out!)… The list goes on and on, and it does cause me a lot of anxiety when I travel, depending on where we are going. Your diet must cause you some additional anxiety as well, though I find allergies or choices like vegetarianism and veganism are much more accepted than just “I don’t like that!”

    You will have a blast in London!

  • Reply Janine September 21, 2012 at 11:13 am

    I. Am. So. Excited. For. You.

    Have no fear about visiting London! It’s basically the New York of Europe, in my opinion. I’ve been, and it was AMAZING. Have so much fun!! Give Kate Middleton a hug for me.

    If you’re experimenting with travel, this is the BEST way to do it. Go visit someone, let them be in charge and be your protector while you test boudaries. My first international travel on my own? 10 days in Morocco with an American friend that I knew from online only, and one weekend that we hung out together in Montreal.

    I had a GREAT time and it was super risky, but in the end I was unscathed and I experienced SO much. I am so proud that I went on my own. I travelled without an itinerary or agenda and just tagged along with my friend. We ended up seeing 5 cities in 10 days! Travelling without a plan or any real forward planning is okay sometimes.

    • Anna @ D16 September 21, 2012 at 11:16 am

      Haha! I promise you I will not be touching any Royals while I’m there unless something goes horribly wrong!

  • Reply Krysta September 21, 2012 at 11:16 am

    I think it’s so interesting that you are afraid to travel to these new places when you live in a place so many others are afraid of! And I sometimes think making a home in NYC is one of the bravest things. I love that city like no other and even though I only lived there for just a few years, now that I live elsewhere I miss NYC terribly and have this feeling of coming home whenever I return.

    Have an amazing trip to London!

  • Reply Daniel @ Manhattan Nest September 21, 2012 at 11:22 am

    This is one of my very favorite posts I think you’ve ever written, Anna. Your writing is beautiful and honest and even though I’ve only been here a little over 3 years, your characterization of New York is spot-on.

    I know you won’t believe it until you’re there, but you’re going to have a great time. Sometimes you don’t even believe you’ve had a good time traveling until after you’re back, actually, and that’s OK, too. But you won’t regret it and you’ll be just fine is the point. I have traveled a lot, way more than I should have at 22, and the more places I go, language barriers I encounter, cultural differences, etc, the more I go back to the same cliche: people are just people no matter where you are. They’re friendly and weird and funny and super smart and sometimes stupid everywhere. I feel like traveling is supposed to make you appreciate how HUGE the world is, but for me it’s made me appreciate how tiny this little planet is that we all share. ESPECIALLY if you’re the type of person who can feel at home in so many places just in and around New York City, you have nothing to be scared of.

    Just remember to look BOTH ways when you cross the street, cause they drive different there and all that. xoxo

  • Reply ashley english September 21, 2012 at 11:23 am

    oh, anna. london. LONDON! it’s sheer magic, that city. it’s so old, and historic, and lovely, and friendly. it’s my most beloved city, in all the world, the one that glenn and i both agree we’d live in if money were no object. you will adore it. and the fact that you’ve got a personal, loving travel guide will make it truly shine. have a fabulous trip!!!

    • kelly w September 21, 2012 at 1:35 pm

      Totes agree, Ashley. I was born and raised in the San Francisco bay area (Marin County, to be precise), and I have been fortunate to have travelled the entire US and Europe pretty extensively, in my 46 years. But nowhere on earth is more dear to me than London. I long for it daily. When I’m there, I’m happy 24/7. x

  • Reply Heather September 21, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Safe travels, Anna. I’m a bit of a stress case when it comes to traveling, too. I am happy to say that I squashed all of my worries and boarded a plane for a two week trip to Seattle and Vancouver last month, and it was dream. Have a ball.

  • Reply Lisa September 21, 2012 at 11:40 am

    I’m really happy for you. I hope, and believe, that you will enjoy your trip a lot. Those bloody anxieties can get in the way of so much, and limit you, without you even noticing.

    I would by nature have been terrified of travelling, my family never travelled anywhere, so when I moved abroad for six months, it was a huge deal. I was 20 though, and at that age you are just about ready to take on anything- 15 years later, much less so…

    I happened to fall in love with someone who loves travelling, and somehow that has been contagious. I sometimes find myself thinking about how different I would have been if I had settled down with my previous boyfriend. I would probably have been perfectly happy, but just so, so very different.
    It’s strange, because I love travelling now, but that is so incongruous with how I am as a person, that even I am still surprised sometimes.

    When I think of the impression I have gotten of you through your blog, you seem to be the opposite (I know what you share in the blog is just a very small part of who you are, but you manage to communicate your thoughts and feelings very well.). As you write- you should be a world traveller…
    And if those rabid British squirrels don’t eat your face off, Sweden is waiting for you whenever you feel the time is right.

  • Reply kris September 21, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Anna – how exciting! So many things about this post surprised me…you’ve never driven a car. That’s wild. I’ve only taken the NYC subway twice and both times I ended up in the wrong place! LOL.

    You’ll have fun in London – can’t wait to see your pictures.

  • Reply Chris September 21, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Wow!! So exciting for you! I hope you have an absolutely wonderful time! My favorite gallery is the October Gallery…super dynamic and not very big so it doesn’t overwhelm. It also has a cafe inside, with delicious food. It’s near Holborn Stn…sorry I love traveling and get so excited when I hear of others traveling.

    I do travel a lot but have never learned how to drive–the thought terrifies me:(

    I’m very proud of you! How exciting!

  • Reply Carrie September 21, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Um, I don’t think I’ve ever commented on your blog, so hi!
    I live in the Midwest. Born and raised and stayed mostly within the same 50 mile radius my whole life with the exception of a short stint in a suburb of Seattle. I never have fit here, not even with the modifications I’ve made to myself to adapt to Midwestern living. The only place I’ve ever felt at home was in NYC. I have family there and each time I visit I just feel at home. Somehow I rarely have to consult a map, the subway system just makes sense to me and I always meet nice people. It’s sad because as much as I love NYC, as though it was a living, breathing person, I will never be able to live there.
    Also- in spite of the fact that I am a good driver and that I have to drive every day of my life, I hate driving. If I were rich I would hire someone to drive me.
    Lately, I’ve actually been longing for a cabin in the woods without neighbors in sight. That’s weird too, although it does go back to my childhood Little House on the Prairie obsession. 🙂

  • Reply leaca September 21, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    I have been reading your blog for a long time and I love your posts about New York. I lived in New Jersey when I was 17 yrs old for one summer and spent my weekends in the City and to this day I miss it. I loved it there. I have lived all across the country. East coast all the way to my current location in Alaska. I live at the top of Alaska almost. I would not consider myself a traveler and I was terrified every time I left my home state in Wyoming. I remember thinking about being in the same place and having a little fear of leaving and I did not want that for my kids. So, we packed up and moved. I think I lived one year in a state of elevated anxiety. It is scary.

    If I lived in New York my kids would have had every opportunity to experience new things so I understand that you do not have that nagging need to leave. Living in sub zero temperatures forces me to warmer temps a couple times a year.

    I am excited for your new adventure that will be fun. I also like the fact that you are going to let the trip unfold. That is adventurous in itself.

  • Reply Emma September 21, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    If you like Indian food, I STRONGLY recommend Tayyabs. Out of all the things I miss about London (everything), I miss Tayyabs the most.

  • Reply Cori Magee September 21, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    I just got so engrossed in this post! Oh shit, I’m at work, ooops.

    I sort of have the West Coast version of your life. I was born in San Diego, moved to Los Angeles for college and lived here for 13 years, moved back to San Diego for the last 3 years, and am now back in Los Angeles. I’ve only traveled to Mexico City and that’s because my mother was born there and we have family there.

    All that said, I have never felt like I totally belong in SoCal, other than this is where I am. I’m a little jealous of your story, the East Coast version. I have always felt like I belong in NYC and this post eloquently explains why. So much better than just saying “the energy”.

    P.S. Do you believe in uprooting at 35? And what to do with a husband who loves L.A. and parents whom I love more than anything who are aging and live in San Diego. Hhhmmmm…. Guess we all have our obstacles. Looks like you’re overcoming one of yours, Cheers!

  • Reply Kristin September 21, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    For awhile, I lived a pretty transient life, bouncing all over Europe, Latin America and Asia for years for work (translating, writing, teaching, etc.). It was exciting–and rewarding–for all the reasons I’m sure you hear from people who travel. My husband and I moved back to Seattle a couple of years ago, right after teaching in S. Korea and working on a farm in rural France, and I must say I think it is much harder to be content in one place, especially where your home and roots are. I’m not sure why, but maybe it’s because you can’t move on every time you make a mistake at your job (or in your life!) and you have to actually fix it, not just move on. And if you get restless, the answer isn’t a one-way plane ticket to a place where there are some vague hopes and plans. Instead, there are deep commitments to the place you are in, and the people around you. Traditions and roots. You get to watch things–like your house!–grow and change, as well as the people in your life, something you miss out on if you are constantly saying goodbye.

    Have fun in London; it will be hard not to, but I do think you have things pretty figured out, loving where you are and being in the present moment.

  • Reply donna September 21, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    What a timely post for me. I’m not much of a traveller either, but I have been to NY a couple of times, most recently, last week for a full week. Alone (that was hard to grasp for some people). I considered myself to be pretty fearless and independent when I was younger, but once I got into a relationship I sort of let that side of me go and I’m trying to recapture it. I had a great time. I never tire of all that NY has to offer. I kept telling everyone I met how lucky they were to live there. Have a wonderful time in London.

  • Reply js September 21, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    I heard an interview by Rick Steves with 3 European tour guides from Ireland, Italy, and (I think) Slovenia about their views on America. The other guides said that Europeans are flabbergast at American’s tendency to not stay in the city and even house where they were born. It’s inconceivable to them that someone from one state would move to another, or move across the country.

    London is probably the city a New Yorker would feel very at home in, seeing as there is excellent public transport and it’s all in English. Plus they now have Starbucks and Krispy Kreme (unfortunately). I love London.

    • Anna @ D16 September 21, 2012 at 4:13 pm

      I think that tendency to move around really is an American phenomena, and it stems from the origins of the country—we’re still itching to “go West,” as it were, and discover new territories and start new lives. We’re a young country comprised of people from all over the world, and we’re still finding our own identity on a massive piece of land. These are the things I love most about America (and Americans), actually.

  • Reply Brigidanne September 21, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Anna – you will love London. Been there many, many times myself. Enjoy your trip.

  • Reply Slow Lorus September 21, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    What a thoughtful piece on the idea of home and the concept of travel. Lovely.

    I also come from immigrant parents and grew up in New York. My Chinese parents lived in Hong Kong, then Paris, then London, then a small town on the southern coast of England where I was born and then when I was a kid we moved to NYC. Growing up I took traveling for granted. But I’ve come to realize that my parents are inveterate travelers so they’d instilled in me a sense that a vacation means you go somewhere fun and far-away.

    Then I moved to the Midwest and realized that being land-locked can make travel abroad or even to the Coasts a real challenge. Not only does it present a greater geographical and financial challenge but there is also a mental leap when air travel, especially abroad, is not the norm for a family or those around you. (There’s a good Calvin Trillin piece about his sense of travel as a kid growing up in the Midwest and how it evolved once he moved to New York. It revolves around how he wanted to expose his kids and wife to the excruciating/bonding times of family road trips.)

    BTW, “nostalgia for the present” is from the postmodernist Frederic Jameson. He wrote some pieces in the late 1980s on film…can’t remember which ones exactly…maybe one of his essays was on representations of New York City?? It’s an evocative phrase but it’s not exactly what it appears to mean.

    • Anna @ D16 September 21, 2012 at 4:11 pm

      You know, I’m starting to think maybe I combined something Frederic Jameson wrote (I don’t think he wrote about New York specifically) with something Woody Allen said and came up with my own new phrase and meaning! The hazards of taking low-level film classes in art school. I have no idea, but either way, I still think it’s accurate to say that New York City can make a person feel nostalgic for the present—putting aside Jameson’s meaning, which I think was more about pastiche?

  • Reply stylencritics September 21, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    hi, from Athens, Greece.The only thing which i dont regret its my passion for travelling. Its the best college. I visited NYC before 5 years, yes its an incredible city, so much vibes, so vivid but London … you will never regret this trip.
    Please visit my fav bar

    Have fun. I wish for you this trip will be the beginning for the next one

  • Reply Martha September 21, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    I was worried at the beginning of your post that you were going to say you’d cancelled your trip. So glad to hear you’re still going! May this trip go smoothly and lead to a future jaunt to Stockholm… Safe travels!

  • Reply dervla @ The Curator September 21, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Safe travels! I was just in London in August, and it is truly wonderful. You’ll have such a great time! And then you don’t have to leave NY for ages!

  • Reply Charlotte September 22, 2012 at 2:12 am

    It’s funny the other day I said to a good friend that I want to visit New York every year. I’ve always had a fascination for the city. One of my earliest memories were the opening scenes from the tv programme “Cagney and Lacey”. I’d see the New York skyline and mutter to myself, “I’m going to go there”. And in 1986 I applied for a summer job as an international counsellor on a camp for children. This brought me to White Plains in Upstate NY and on my days off I took the amtrak into the city. Alot happenend on that first trip. Ultimately it brought me where I am today, a London girl living in Amsterdam (Holland) who adores NY with a continued and loyal passion. I’m taking my daughter next year to NYC; an apartment in Park Slope and 10 days of this glorious city.

  • Reply Grumble Girl September 22, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    We are so similar in this regard, it’s almost scary. (Right down to the not driving – we’ve talked about that before…) So, I am so very proud of you, my friend. You’ll have a blast! And, you may even start a little fire under your butt to keep doing this sort of thing… and if so? Come to Montreal. It’s but a one hour-ish flight away.

    Also? I had passport pics taken last October, with which I’ve still yet to get affixed to new Canadian passport things and whatnot. They will expire in five weeks if I don’t do something about that. Le sigh. I sooooo suck at being an adult.

  • Reply Ilana September 22, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    I’ve always felt a strong connection to NYC as my family is from there, and my dad is still very much a New Yorker though doesn’t live there anymore. That being said, I find the disparity between the rich and poor very disheartening in the city. I know it reflects larger trends in this country, but when you have the richest people in the world living somewhere I think it affects a lot about an area feels. Have you noticed a change in New York as this gap grows?

  • Reply Kari September 22, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Hi Anna!

    London is magical. Beautiful buildings and tidy, scenic, instagram-worthy little side streets everywhere you look. The Underground is super easy to navigate.. waaaay easier than the Metro here in DC and the NYC Subway.

    Best Things:
    Even crap daytime TV and weather reports sound exotic in an accent
    No one gives a shit about American Football
    Walking through quiet neighborhoods with no agenda and finding a comfy pub you can spend hours in
    Trying out the different potato chips (ahem, crisps), candy bars, beverages, etc. FYI – Ribena is an acquired taste
    mmmmmmmm beeeeeeer
    Window shopping on Oxford Street
    Elgin Marbles and Rosetta Stone at the British Museum

    Crap Things:
    Sweet corn on pizza?? eww.
    Marmite. Yuck.
    If you like peanut butter, pack some in your suitcase. You won’t find it anywhere!
    ………That’s all I can think of. London is AWESOME!!!

    Remember to look to the RIGHT when crossing the street.

    Right, off ya go, chuck. Safe travels.

  • Reply Natasha @ The Blackbird Sings September 23, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Hi Anna,

    I just wanted to say that I totally understand your fears and procrastination regarding travelling, particularly to other countries. I’m managing to overcome my fear now (I’m about the same age as you) and for the past couple of years I’ve been travelling alone back and forth to Paris as my boyfriend lives here (I live in Suffolk, England). This is something I NEVER ought I’d be able to do, but I feel fairly confident now and proud that I’m finally getting over my fear. I still have a problem with the language though – that’s my main fear about going out alone when I’m in Paris. I’m so scared I’ll get lost and not be able to find my way home, and no one will help me or I’ll be too shy/scared to ask for help. But I’m trying to work on that too. 😉

    The great thing about travelling to the UK is that you won’t have the language issue to deal with. That’s a huge thing! I know that I’d feel roughly a trillion times better if language wasn’t an issue in Paris. Anyway, have a wonderful time. I love London and I hope you will love it too!


  • Reply jja September 23, 2012 at 11:32 am

    I think traveling around the world is one of the best (for sure not the only way) ways to wide your horizons…
    At least one new country per year.
    About getting lost, you have an mobile with gps, so what to worry about?
    You even go to the country where people speak english too.

    ” I guess it’s just something Europeans do, it’s so easy once you’re on the mainland of Europe to just drive to whatever country you want to go to. Feeling like italian tonight? Let’s go to Italy.”

    I agree.

    The only thing about traveling that bothers me now is if I will have time to visit all of this magic new places in one life. So much world to see so little time!
    I can not even imagine my life with not traveling abroad for lets say a whole year…and I don’t have a feeling of being abroad if people around me speak my language, despite of all the variety of USA I didn’t feel like I visited different countries…
    I have lived in a few states and have seen many places and wish that travel bug bites you too. And wish you a great trip! Trips are an amazing way to let to know yourself better.
    Does hour husband travel around?
    For me it way always a special thing to discover thr world with that special man.

    • Anna @ D16 September 23, 2012 at 9:31 pm

      One new country per year?! I don’t earn enough money to do that! Alas. Maybe someday. 😉

      The fear of getting lost isn’t something that can be rationalized with a map—it’s a very real phobia that’s affected me my whole life.

    • jja October 1, 2012 at 6:42 am

      It it not about money Anna 😉 with all those cheap flights around europe (to paris and back for 100 euro) you can have a perfect small trip for very very small amounth of money. Some of my begs costed more ;-).

      What is for you the worst part about getting lost? Some of the best places could be discovered “by mistake”.

  • Reply sarah September 23, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Thanks for this post! Very well said. I totally get the feeling you described. It really reminded me how much I love where I live. I moved to London 2 years ago and love it so much it is hard to imagine living anywhere else. I feel privileged every time I get the train into town and see the sky line or walk along the south bank. I was feeling a bit down because we couldn’t afford a much needed holiday after finishing my masters. But actually reading this reminds me how much I have right in my home city where thousands of people visit each year! However New York does look rad and I hope one day I can visit. Love the blog you are very stylish. Sarah

  • Reply A. September 23, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Hi Anna. I’ve enjoyed your blog for years. I hope you absolutely love your trip to London.

    I get emotional about New York, too. I like to travel, and I’ve been to lots of cities. I can honestly say that London is the only city I’ve ever visited that affected me on that emotional level, the way New York does. I think you will really love it there.

    As a vegetarian, I felt like I wasn’t able to totally experience a lot of the really British classic foods properly. Some of them, I wasn’t particularly eager to try, but there was a completely vegetarian Bangers and Mash place in Knotting Hill that was a lot of fun. I know (and agree with!) your stance on fake meat, but when in London/Rome…

    • Anna @ D16 September 23, 2012 at 9:28 pm

      I actually have a huge list of vegan-friendly places in London courtesy of Quarrygirl. 🙂

  • Reply Fionnuala September 23, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    As a long-time fan of London and now, just recently, a permanent resident (!), I am delighted and quite invested in how good a time you have there: I will await with great interest your posts about your trip. I sincerely hope you have a fantastic time, and that the eight days will just fly by.

    As a long-time reader, I really value your security in your own interests and your own life — on my own recent (first) trip to NYC, I saw a bin in a shop and turned to my D16-reading friend to ask if it were an Anna bin, which he confirmed (and then we both wondered how weird it was that we both knew exactly what we meant by “Anna bin” with no other contextual information). You own your identity in a really admirable way. And I say all power to you for owning the fact that you’re not a huge traveller; to go against (what I perceive as) the prevailing norm that of course EVERYONE has wanderlust takes guts.

    • Anna @ D16 September 23, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      Wait, what’s an “Anna bin”? Is it a Vipp trash can?? If so…you totally just made my day. 😀

  • Reply Lorie September 23, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    You crack me UP! You don’t care for travel, haven’t in years and your first one out of the gate in years is to LONDON. By yourself. I love it! My next door neighbor is an international flight attendant and one of her main stops is London. I have a really tacky reusable shopping tote with a huge picture of Kate and Will on the front (in case inquiring minds want to know, she is fully clothed- lol). HAVE FUN!!! (and squirrels are crazy scary no matter where they are! Watch out! 🙂 )

    PS I am just really impressed by your gumption.

  • Reply susan September 24, 2012 at 6:47 am

    I feel privileged to have read this insightful post. I comment anywhere much too infrequently, but need to here. Both of my parents (I’m quite a bit older than you are) immigrated (emigrated?) from Copenhagen and were the only ones in the family to do so and settled on Long Island, so right away, there are real parallels in our stories! At THAT time, as I was growing up, travel was a really big deal, especially to Europe. Eventually, I began to go to Denmark, starting at 16, by myself to stay with family on a frequent basis, well, every few years up to today (just went in August.) I was drawn to connect with my Danish family and keep those bonds tight. My businesses relate to my love of my heritage.

    Back to New York, I agree….I’ve never had the desire to live anywhere else. New York City (had an apt for awhile and will again) Long Island and the Hudson region has it all. The established suburbs are comforting and beautiful. The world class beaches are awesome and the city IS the world.

    Maybe, sort of putting “time” in another perspective, leaving yourself plenty of time to figure out logistics, may help in your trip to London. Luckily the language won’t be a barrier. Having a friend as a guide also puts time into a different perspective and you can just “be.” It’s a good way to travel. Enjoy it!

  • Reply Muoi September 24, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Anna, you are so friggin’ cute, your post made me chuckle. Have a lovely trip.

  • Reply Kathleen September 24, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    I’m always teeter-tottering back and forth between wanting to live somewhere affordable (like Oklahoma) and travel lots vs. living somewhere amazing (like New York) and maybe not being able to travel as much. Moving somewhere rad is starting to rise to the top – and I’m starting to think as I become more established in my adulthood that I could probably have both.

    Traveling IS scary and stressful – I think when you go into it knowing that you’re going to get lost or that it’s going to take you twice as long to get from point A to point B it’s much less overwhelming. You’re going to have a great time in London – and when you’re not having a great time you’re going to be learning lots about yourself and others.

  • Reply Joanna September 24, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    I too am a New Yorker, but I also love London having spent a year there. You will love it! Unsolicited advice—I love the Islington area by Angel station. check out the Duke of Cambridge (which is an organic, locally sourced, gastropub). the main drag is kind of hectic but the side streets are adorable, lot’s of cute design and clothing shops in the area, too. Also, a short walk from there is the adorable exmouth market, home to the best brunch place I’ve ever known, Caravan, and a cute coffee/cd shop, Brill.

    • Andrea October 3, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      Oh, yes, the Angel tube stop! I went to London for the first time this spring, and stayed at Rosebery Hall, one of the LSE residences. The Exmouth Arms was a great pub just around the corner. On the same street is MORO. And Kick cafe. I loved exploring the city and know you will too, Anna. Another thing to check out before you go: the wonderful blog “Spitalfields Life.” Bon voyage.

  • Reply Melissa September 26, 2012 at 2:22 am

    When you said you get misty-eyed every time you see that skyline, it totally resonated with me. I’m not a New Yorker, nor an American. I’m a Torontonian, a Canaadian… but every year I hop on that megabus for $50 (return) and head down to Manhattan. I can’t explain either, that feeling when it’s 5am and you know you’re headed out of New Jersey soon… driving along and that skyline appears. It’s an incredible feeling. Then passing through the Lincoln Tunnel- it’s like I;ve entered another world. I am awestricken every time. New York is magical. There is an energy there that I love so much.

  • Reply annie (the annilygreen one) September 26, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    i loved this post. my family moved a ton when i was growing up (lived in london and brazil and a bunch of states), so i sort of feel sick of traveling. i’ve felt a little silly for that…like i SHOULD feel wanderlust because i know how great travel can be. but my childhood just made me really want to stay put! and after reading this, i feel a little bit more ok with that.

    that said, london is my favorite place on earth (i always wish i wanted to travel more so i could go back)….i hope you have the best time!

  • Reply Polly September 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    I’m really excited that your coming to London. I lived there for years (we now live out, about 50 miles north) but I still work there. I can’t wait to see what you get up to, I’m hoping you’ll post lots on instagram. Wishing you a wonderful trip and hope you love London town : )

  • Reply mopar September 28, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    How exciting! New York (where I live also) is much scarier than any other place, so you’ll be just fine. Sigh. I’ll never be able to afford to travel again now that we’ve bought our moneypit.

  • Reply Jill October 1, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Every single time I’ve stepped outside my comfort zone, I’ve been so happy I did. EVERY time. I was usually scared to do it, but it always ended up being much less scary than I had thought. Have a fabulous time, Anna! I can’t wait to see the pictures. P.S. love your little Michael-Jackson-referencing disclaimer at the bottom of the comment section. So clever.

  • Reply frannie October 1, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    i think once you’ve lived in nyc, no place is as wonderful. and i don’t feel as safe anywhere else as i did in nyc. some people find that strange, but i never once ran into trouble the 13 years i lived there- the longest i’d ever lived anyplace. in some towns people don’t have to lock their doors (or at least i’ve heard it that way). that seems to me like inviting trouble! i’ve traveled a bit, been to most states, but nyc will always be home. i miss the culture and the convenience. i love portland, but you certainly to trade a lot living here.

    happy trails, anna! i know you’ll have a magnificent time!

    ps: the london squirrels ain’t got nuthin’ on new york city’s squirrels. remember the urban legend (or was it?) about the central park joggers being mauled by squirrels that had found crack vials? must’ve been the late 80’s, i guess. now that’s scary!

  • Reply lindsey clare October 2, 2012 at 6:57 am

    so many comments!
    i’ll add my own:

    really, really excited for you. London!
    also really interesting reading your thoughts on travel and how your location, your home, affects your propensity for travelling… or not travelling. here in Australia i think most young people (not all, but lots) get an itch to travel. i think it’s because we are SO FAR from every other country. and we grow up reading and viewing other countries so often – especially the USA – that it’s a part of our identity. when I visited NYC in 2010 it was like a strange kind of homecoming. definitely a nostalgia for the present, as you put it!

    anyway. bon voyage and enjoy.

  • Reply Paula October 10, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    I’ll move to NYC coming January…. and I think its an incredible city. But I have the exact feeling that you describe in your post about my beloved city, Barcelona. I’ve travel a lot and lived in UK for 4-months…. but nothing compares to Barcelona… I’m still not in NY and I am already homesick…………….

    PS- enjoy the London Adventure!!!


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