Songs Of New York


This blog entry was originally posted on March 23, 2005.

Probably the most frequently asked question people ask me back home in the greater New York City area is, “So, how’s it feel to be back?”  Often my response is, “Great!  I’m actually excited about being home.  It’d be different if I went home to Ohio or something, but this is New York City.”  (No offense to you readers in Ohio of course.)

AS FRANK SINATRA SINGS IN “NEW YORK, NEW YORK,” “If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.”  There is a lot of truth in that line; New York City represents the acme of American progress in the arts, theater, media, fashion, nightlife, journalism, literature, and business — nowhere else on the planet does it all come together in one place as it does in The Big Apple.  With that said, New York is hardly a boring place to be — it’s no wonder it’s a tourist destination for foreigners and other Americans (and seagulls too, picture above).  In fact, the few days after DAY 503, I continued to be a in “tourist mode” as Maurice and I brought out-of-towners Shelle and Deann to the touristy sites around town while Shelle was killing time before her New York interview with Doctors Without Borders, in hopes of landing an assignment back in Africa.

Since the girls’ departure back south, I began the gradual process of getting my life back, integrating myself back into metropolitan New York society.  This of course is just a fancy pretentious way of saying “hanging out and drinking with my friends and trying not to pass out on the train or bus before my stop.”  This is hardly counter-productive though; from my experience, booze sessions and parties often result in prospects for freelance work, which is a good thing since freelance video, design, and writing work is what I plan on doing for the meantime to get back on my financial feet again.  (As much as I can help it, I am trying to prevent myself from “entering The Matrix” of a 9 to 5 job again, for as long as I can.)

With news of my return, everything came to me in a New York Minute.  Within days of being back, projects for freelance work and prospects for publishing and video gigs with a number of respected media outlets were suddenly put in my lap — so many at the same time that it was a bit overwhelming and made my head spin.  While this sounds all exciting, the reality of it is that it all translates to a shitload of work that takes away from my “me time” of actually digesting the trip, sleeping, and instant messaging — and all for leads that may or may not end up into something lucrative.  In short, a lot of doors of opportunity are open for me at this point, and it’s up to me to pick one and put the time and effort into entering it.  So far I’ve started at the beginning by upgrading to a new PowerBook, thus phasing out (but not completely) my iBook (and iClamp) that went around the world with me.

AS DON HENLEY SINGS IN “NEW YORK MINUTE,” “In a New York minute, everything can change.”  While there is a lot of truth in that line, I still feel like I never left.  In fact, I’ve intentionally left my wall calendar on the last page I left it, on October 2003, because that’s what it still feels like.  I’m in a time warp.  “I know, it’s so 2003 of me,” I joke to friend and Blogreader Dtella.  “[I’m The Guy From 2003.]”

Sure many changes have occurred in the past sixteen and a half months since I’d been gone:  this friend broke up with that person, that friend hooked up with this person; my brother got engaged, another friend got pregnant; one couple that was expecting before I left had their child already, while another couple that wasn’t expecting conceived and had their second kid.  But for the most part, everything back home had remained the same.  Most personalities of my friends hadn’t changed at all, and I still listen to the same music and wear the same clothes as I did in October 2003.  “You haven’t changed one bit,” friend and Blogreader Koetke commented to me when came to visit wearing my old jacket and Chuck Taylor sneakers.

Sean Keener, president of, host providers of this Blog, called me up one day to touch base with me and to see how I’d been dealing with what many travelers refer to as “Re-Entry Syndrome.”  “[So, you must be a changed person now, after all that you’ve experienced,]” he said.

“[Actually, no.  I don’t feel any different.  I’m still the same guy,]” I told him.  This usually isn’t the answer he gets I assume; usually long-term travelers returned home are transformed and enlightened or something.  Then again, The Global Trip 2 was never about escapism or “finding myself,” it was merely a mid-life break to satisfy a burning wanderlust.  I guess if there’s any transformation I’d gone through on my trip, it’s that my wanderlust is completely tapped out — at least for the time being.  Otherwise, I’m still my same old self, just back in New York — not that that’s a bad thing; I was pretty content with my life before I left.  Friend and Blogreader Dunlavey said that I’m probably unchanged because I had a strong personality before I left to begin with.

Whether or not that’s true, the fact of the matter is, my brain is oversaturated with experiences, and I barely have time to digest it all with everything I have going on now.  In fact, the entire trip was so full of experiences that it’s turned into one big blur in my mind.  “Unless you remind me of something I’d done, I’d probably forget about it,” I told friend and Blogreader Robin one day at lunch.  And yet at the same time, I’m ready for more. 

“[It’s because in your head,] New York is just another stop,” Travelers’ Tales editor/writer Jen Leo said to me when we went out for dinner the night after DAY 503. 

Whether the Metropolitan New York Area is just another stop in a continual lifestyle of a nomad, or merely another stop in the grand trip of Life, I don’t know yet.  I just know that in the meantime, it will be where I hang my hat for a while to re-gather myself and work towards entering those doors of opportunity that are open for me.  Traveling around the world was fun, but for me, now is the time to make something of it.  To quote some lyrics from a famous Billy Joel song:

It was so easy living day by day
Out of touch with the rhythm and blues
But now I need a little give and take
The New York Times, The Daily News

It comes down to reality
And it’s fine with me ‘cause I’ve let it slide
Don’t care if it’s Chinatown or on Riverside
I don’t have any reasons
I’ve left them all behind

I’m in a New York state of mind

Next entry: Evolution And Realization

Previous entry: The Return To New York

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Comments for “Songs Of New York”

  • More epilogue to come.  Stay tuned!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/23  at  05:28 PM

  • SHELLE:  Thanks for the seagull picture!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/23  at  05:30 PM

  • No IM means change, IM during TGT2 keeps it real…

    Mars, bitches!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/23  at  05:43 PM

  • a wise mane once said, always carry a plastic bag w/ you. it doesn’t take up too much room and once it’s filled you just throw it away!!!!
    N smile

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/23  at  06:12 PM

  • Can wanderlust ever truly be satisfied?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/23  at  06:35 PM

  • Welcome back my man! Great trip around the world, and blog! The big question is: WHEN IS THE NEXT ONE? wink

    Word Life.


    Posted by Cheif Boot Knocka Moman  on  03/23  at  09:45 PM

  • cool to hear the job offers are coming.  it’s nice to be needed—maybe not TOO needed TOO soon. I feel like I take care of your PR here at prenhall, so now I can answer that damn question I keep getting “Whats he going to do next?”. I’ll just let them know to invite you to happy hour.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/23  at  10:11 PM

  • Erik,

    thank you for keeping up this blog and entertaining us so much.

    I used to read it everyday at worked and help me deal with the 9-to-5 schedule, what I am going to do??
    please: start travelling again, Paul.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/24  at  01:24 AM

  • Ohio Blows!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/24  at  02:00 AM

  • Welcome back, I had hoped to be there for your return in New York, but just couldn’t work it out.

    You say you haven’t changed but I think with time you will see how much you have changed.  Having gone where you have gone and seen what you have seen almost ensures your need to go again.  Somehow your feet will never touch the ground in the way they have in the past.  If you are an adventurer or even just a traveller, it won’t be long before the urge to explore will come tugging at your heart.

    To many more….....from one traveller to another.

    Thanks for the experience and a great website which I have passed along to many friends, just to enjoy.


    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/24  at  05:26 AM

  • Erik, you still got it!  Sucked coming to work this morning…but the new entry was kewl!  Except now I read it, and still got 8 hours to go for work:( 

    I feel as Anne says, you may not realise just how much you did change/learn/experience right now, but it’ll slowly seep into your future and the rest of your life. 

    Again, welcome home, great job and thanks sharing all the experiences! I’ll always keep checking back on your site for more from ya!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/24  at  12:17 PM

  • after reading the title “song of new york” and then looking at the evenly spaced seagull picture, it looked like they are part of a chorus line. =P yeah, i know, i need to stop smoking crack so early in the morning….

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/24  at  02:02 PM

  • Stuck in job training today….blah!
    oh how I will miss the blog.

    all the best to your work opportunities, erik!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/24  at  06:48 PM

  • Erik:  I think you are still in post travel shock.  Some day you will be working away and flashbacks of climbing Mt. Everest will come to mind and you will think to yourself: “What the hell am I doing here?”

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/24  at  10:10 PM

  • Erik:  I think you’re coming off a high! I think that it will hit you when you overhear someone say I wish I could see The Great Wall or Mt. Everest or whatever and thats when it hits you.  You’ll have nothing but a smile on your face knowing that you had the courage to see all those places.  The further you get away from it the more it will mean to you.

    I got a few people hook into reading your blog.  I’m sure they will try to read everything before Easter Sunday.

    Happy Easter to all!!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/25  at  04:15 AM

  • What pack size did you use?  Was it too big or too small - perfect?  How often did you use your pacsafe? 

    Soon to be trippers need to know.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/25  at  08:17 PM

  • STEVEN:  I used the Eagle Creek “Ultimate Journey”... a big pack with detachable daypack.  Total volume 7000  For what I was carrying (electronics, books, etc.) it was perfect.  Perhaps on the big side if you’re not going to lug electronics though.  I used my Pacsafe all the time… the INTERNAL one that is, so as not to attract attention to myself with the outer wire mesh.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/26  at  11:08 AM

  • I’m so used to checking Monday morning for the WHMMR posting. It’s finally hitting me there won’t be anymore. I need a new obsession.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/27  at  11:43 AM

  • Hello Eric,

    Welcome back!  I’ll be back to New York in September.  I will be stopping by a pizzeria on my way home from the airport…for sure! 

    Regards and good luck, Felix

    Posted by Felix  on  03/27  at  12:32 PM

  • LEAH:  I’m writing a new entry as we speak… er, write…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/27  at  12:41 PM

  • A new entry?!?!  kewl!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/27  at  04:07 PM

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This blog post is one of over 500 travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World (Or Until Money Runs Out, Whichever Comes First)," originally hosted by It chronicled a trip around the world from October 2003 to March 2005, which encompassed travel through thirty-seven countries in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. It was this blog that "started it all," where Erik evolved and honed his style of travel blogging — it starts to come into focus around the time he arrives in Africa.

Praised and recommended by USA Today,, and readers of BootsnAll and Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree, The Global Trip blog was selected by the editors of PC Magazine for the "Top 100 Sites You Didn't Know You Couldn't Live Without" (in the travel category) in 2005.

Next entry:
Evolution And Realization

Previous entry:
The Return To New York


Confused at some of the jargon that's developed with this blog and its readers over the years? Here's what they mean:

BFFN: acronym for "Best Friend For Now"; a friend made on the road, who will share travel experiences for the time being, only to part ways and lose touch with

The Big Trip: the original sixteen month around-the-world trip that started it all, spanning 37 countries in 5 continents over 503 days (October 2003–March 2005)

NIZ: acronym for "No Internet Zone"; a place where there is little to no Internet access, thus preventing dispatches from being posted.

SBR: acronym for "Silent Blog Reader"; a person who has regularly followed The Global Trip blog for years without ever commenting or making his/her presence known to the rest of the reading community. (Breaking this silence by commenting is encouraged.)

Stupid o'clock: any time of the early morning that you have to wake up to catch a train, bus, plane, or tour. Usually any time before 6 a.m. is automatically “stupid o’clock.”

The Trinidad Show: a nickname of The Global Trip blog, used particularly by travelers that have been written about, who are self-aware that they have become "characters" in a long-running story — like characters in the Jim Carrey movie, The Truman Show.

WHMMR: acronym for "Western Hemisphere Monday Morning Rush"; an unofficial deadline to get new content up by a Monday morning, in time for readers in the western hemisphere (i.e. the majority North American audience) heading back to their computers.

1981ers: people born after 1981. Originally, this was to designate groups of young backpackers fresh out of school, many of which were loud, boorish and/or annoying. However, time has passed and 1981ers have matured and have been quite pleasant to travel with. The term still refers to young annoying backpackers, regardless of year — I guess you could call them "1991ers" in 2013 — young, entitled millennials on the road these days, essentially.

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