“Because a city is its people…”
I had come across the above sentence during my search for which European country offers Americans the easiest opportunity at obtaining a freelance work visa, hassle and sponsor free. The city in question was Berlin in Germany, a place I haven’t explored yet (it’s on the list). And if you have been to a major capital city like Berlin, then you know that there is at least some truth in the statement.
Because even though I haven’t been to Berlin, I was born, bred and reside in another major, cosmopolitan city a plane ride across the Atlantic – in New York City.
It’s a rarity to be a native in a city like New York because a majority of the people living here now are transplants. Regardless, all New Yorkers are a specific breed of people. We have been met with stereotypes, stigmas, cliches, threats, insults, have been the butt of crappy jokes, been turned into memes, etc. If there is no city in the world like New York, then trust me when I say, there are no other people in the world like New Yorkers.
New York City thrives off of the culture that its people have created and adapted to. Fast-paced, competitive, snarky, a bit rude, obnoxious, open-minded, well-dressed, effortlessly cool, surprisingly friendly when least expected and with all that said, probably some of the best people you’ll ever encounter in your life. For the most part, I’m grateful to be a New Yorker. Growing up here has honestly solidified me into the person I am today.
But if I’m being honest, over the past few years, I’ve fallen out of love and out of touch with New York. I’ve fallen out of love with the idea of it, with its people, its culture, its grey, its attitude and the rawness that make people fall head over heels with it at first visit. And now that I know what other places of the world and what its people are like, I’m not too keen on living here forever anymore. My Google searches make that very apparent.
That’s where the untranslatable German word fernweh comes in. Pronounced FEIRH-VEE, it means the opposite of homesickness, but rather a farsickness, a sense of longing for places you’ve never been (and for the ones you have been, but have never been able to call home). It stems from feeling like the world can be your home and the feeling of not wanting to stay in the same place for too long. It explains the infection that is having perpetual itchy feet and the sadness that overwhelms you when you’re not away. It describes purposeful vagabonding. And it is the best way to describe the sentiment I have been feeling toward my home life in the city.
This space my sister, Michelle, and I have created is our way of documenting our experiences, opportunities, and adventures both within our home city, country and outside of it. We’ve both vowed to leave New York in a few years time, in search for something new, maybe something better and so that we don’t grow to resent our home city when we come back to it in the future, if and whenever that may be.
But in the meantime, we’re going to do everything we can to, not only “seek new landscapes, but also to develop new eyes” as a means to positively re-see New York before we go. We want to develop a love that an outsider feels for it, fuel the romance we once felt for it and perhaps convince ourselves that we don’t have to leave it behind forever or even at all. This space is a culmination of our love of sharing stories, of writing, photography, film, visual art, food, beauty, lifestyle, music, and of course in the travel bug that continues to bite us both. It is the lens through which we see our home, but also see elsewhere, and thus, the rest of the world. It is where we can become the best version of ourselves as city people. As natives. As New Yorkers.
And we invite you to take a look and vagabond with us.