NYC: A Choose-Your-Own Adventure blogpost

NYC: A Choose-Your-Own Adventure blogpost

empire state

Story #1

I am in New York City – but of course it was raining when I arrived and kept raining for my whole first day, and I was soaked to the skin by the time I settled into my room last night. And I’m spending my second day in a tiny, dark, miserable hotel room because I’m sick with a chest cold, and I have a story and a set of total revisions due today. There isn’t even a toilet in my room, I have to put on pants and trek down the hallway to pee or take a shower in a shared bathroom. The city is outside my window, but I’m not getting to see it. Story of my life, right? **Sigh**

Story #2

I am in New York City. It was raining when I arrived, but I tossed on a rain jacket and managed to walk around enough to see the Empire State Building towering above me in the mist, and dried off inside Grand Central Station for a bit (did the ceiling there inspire the one at Hogwarts? How remarkable!).

Today, I am in my room dosing up on meds and trying to meet deadlines. As I grumble about having to put pants on to go down the hall to the bathroom, I remember that my house never had a master bathroom, and I had to put on pants to walk down the hall to a shared bathroom every day of my parenthood. How quickly we get spoiled!

As I sit on my bed with my laptop balanced across my knees, it strikes me that I’m writing articles for CBS and Time Warner in New York City, in the sort of ancient creaky cheap hotel that can only be found in The Big Apple. How many young writers would dream of this day? The reality doesn’t quite match the vision, but I’m still struck by how AWESOME this all is. I’m determined to get my work done early so I can get out to see more of the city.

Which story do you like better?

Both are true. I choose story #2 to be the narration in my head, though. I think there are always two ways to view a situation, and I choose the rose-colored glasses because I choose joy every day. I’m not an optimist by nature, in fact I remember my dad criticizing me for being a pessimist when I was… well, so young, I had to look that word up. Ten, maybe?

I had to teach myself how to always look for the positive in any situation, how to see the magic around me instead of the darkness. How to choose joy instead of self-pity. They’re both always available, trust me! It took  constant self-vigilance at first, but now choosing joy is a habit.


If you’re interested in learning how to make your dreams (travel or otherwise) come true, start by learning to find joy in what’s already around you. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you, and happiness is absolutely something that comes from within, not from your setting or circumstances.

Train yourself to choose joy!


grand central

Published by Lauren

I'm a nomadic freelance writer, out enjoying the world!


  • Kristy

    January 15, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Makes me think….. ponder….. I am a pessimist and don’t often choose joy. As you said, the second story is better. You are living a dream so there is bound to be some rain. Says a lot about you that you can see both views, but choose the joyous one. I need to post your “Train yourself to choose joy.” phrase by my computer! Hope you feel better so you can really enjoy the big apple. Also glad you can share it with Craig.

  • Lauren

    January 15, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Great observation. I think negative thinking is the default for most of us.

    As a yogini and meditator, you’ve already got a headstart because you’ve cultivated the ability to observe your own thoughts, and to know that they aren’t “you.” Being in the observer role lets you notice when you’re choosing negativity, then all you have to do is ask “how could I frame this positively if I wanted to?” It’s hard at first, but gets easier and easier with practice!

  • Catherine

    January 15, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    I was thinking about the response you had left on my FB status about missing Cairo (the bane of my existence in many ways and always having so many hidden thoughts due to being married to an Egyptian which gives my Cairo/Egypt experiences a different perspective than other less Cairo-d travelers. . . . was that a long-winded run-on sentence or what???? ) and you said something about how life here is sterile?? Then I read this post . . . lol, au contraire!!! life isn’t sterile here . . . just different. We always long for the different when we are back in our work-a-day routines. Yes, the daily/weekly aspect of heading out to work , preparing for work, shopping for groceries for me and cats, cleaning (litter boxes and otherwise) . . . some of this is left behind while I travel and indulge in some new/unique experiences that also can have their frustrations. I’ve been to several different places and enjoy a variety of things about them. But, yes, Egypt might be a bit special as I’ve been there oh, say, 11 times!!! But it was unique for me in that part of that time was spent with the husband . . . that having its own set of frustrations as you probably can imagine. This separates my experience from those who only talk about how much they love the music and dance and a few other things. But , of course, I do too but it is just framed around a bit of a daily existence with a husband in parts of Cairo that they probably won’t see . . . and not the “thrilling” parts that accompany a walk down Mohamed Ali Street and seemingly “baladi Cairo” . . . all perspective see??? Ah, but I haven’t lost my fascination with Cairo and Egypt . . . it has just shifted again. And, not only do I have an ex-husband that says we can be “friends” (oh, boy, lol) but I have other friends that give me a totally non-baladi look into Cairo . . . the big shopping malls and more modern things . . . good or bad? meh, who knows or cares?? it just is!!!

  • Debbie Carter

    January 15, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    Way to go Lauren… I choose story number 2 as well. Love your positive outlook. I am so often criticized for being too optimistic but it sure is more fun that way. Tell Craig hello and good luck on your next adventure.