What I've Learned Traveling Alone and Why I Love It

Just like a lot of professions, singing requires a lot of traveling. Auditions, programs, and gigs (someday!) can take place anywhere. So far I’ve been to Gallup, New Mexico, New York City, and Boston for singing activities solo or somewhat solo. Traveling alone is an invaluable experience. Simple as it may sound, I’ve learned so much about myself just from being alone in an unfamiliar place.

  Flights   I’ve never been a nervous flier, and I can only imagine the stress that may cause some people. However, having a routine helps keep me entertained and relaxed before and during flights. I always pick up a magazine in the airport or something light to read, and I read it before take off. During take off, I normally say a prayer and watch the whole thing through my window. I watch out my window for the first bit, and then I do score study and listen to music.  I also  never  avoid the person sitting next to me. Some brief, quiet small talk is not going to hurt anyone, and I’ve had some of the most memorable and sweet conversations with people next to me. During my last flight, I sat next to a former NHL player that had some great stories and recommendations for my time in Boston.   Buses   The megabus from Pittsburgh to New York is such a convenient and cheap option. My number one tip is to spend the extra $7 to reserve your seat. Extra leg room, a nicer view, and not fighting for a seat all make it way worth it. Since the bus ride is fairly long and much more boring than a flight, pack more snacks and reading material than you think you need.     Navigating and Public Transit   I normally brief myself with the transit options or have a plan before leaving of how to get to the place I’m staying. In New York, I generally take a cab as soon as I get off the bus, because I’m way too tired to deal with the subway. In Boston, there is free public transit from the airport. It can take a while to get where you’re going, but it’s generally a comfortable ride. I always get a transit card wherever I go, because I love being able to get to other parts of the city quickly without having to think of how much I need for each ride or getting a cab. Navigating public transit has been a rollercoaster for me though. Boston is very confusing, and New York is really straightforward once you get the hang of it. However, in both places, locals are happy to help you. One day, I was extremely lost coming home from lunch in New York, and the fear of not being able to get home (what if my phone died?!), far outweighed the fear of simply asking someone. Sure enough, they were incredibly helpful, and taught me how to figure things out with a subway map in the future.   Enjoying Yourself in a New Place   When I went to Boston recently, I had an entire day in the city to myself. I thought about what I could do, and originally, I thought…shopping. I got to thinking though, and I could do that anywhere. I certainly did enough of it in New York last time I was there, and Boston had a lot more to offer than shopping. I ended up going on a tour of the freedom trail, eating at a famous local place, and exploring Little Italy. I couldn’t be happier that I spent my time and money having these experiences I couldn’t have had anywhere else. I learned so much on the Freedom Trail, and doing the tour gave me company, even if they were strangers. Eating alone at Beantown Pub and Modern Pastry in Boston gave me a chance to focus on the food (hello cannolis!) and be more in tune with my surroundings. No, I wasn’t eavesdropping on conversations, but I did people-watch and soak in the native accents. At Modern Pastry, the owners and employees were speaking in Italian.  Of course, while traveling alone, you need to have your wits about you and be smart about a variety of things; but it’s always been a worthwhile experience for me. I’ve learned how to really enjoy myself, be self-reliant, and soak in everything around me for what it’s worth. There were honestly times throughout the day where I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.   

Flights

I’ve never been a nervous flier, and I can only imagine the stress that may cause some people. However, having a routine helps keep me entertained and relaxed before and during flights. I always pick up a magazine in the airport or something light to read, and I read it before take off. During take off, I normally say a prayer and watch the whole thing through my window. I watch out my window for the first bit, and then I do score study and listen to music.  I also never avoid the person sitting next to me. Some brief, quiet small talk is not going to hurt anyone, and I’ve had some of the most memorable and sweet conversations with people next to me. During my last flight, I sat next to a former NHL player that had some great stories and recommendations for my time in Boston.

Buses

The megabus from Pittsburgh to New York is such a convenient and cheap option. My number one tip is to spend the extra $7 to reserve your seat. Extra leg room, a nicer view, and not fighting for a seat all make it way worth it. Since the bus ride is fairly long and much more boring than a flight, pack more snacks and reading material than you think you need.  

Navigating and Public Transit

I normally brief myself with the transit options or have a plan before leaving of how to get to the place I’m staying. In New York, I generally take a cab as soon as I get off the bus, because I’m way too tired to deal with the subway. In Boston, there is free public transit from the airport. It can take a while to get where you’re going, but it’s generally a comfortable ride. I always get a transit card wherever I go, because I love being able to get to other parts of the city quickly without having to think of how much I need for each ride or getting a cab. Navigating public transit has been a rollercoaster for me though. Boston is very confusing, and New York is really straightforward once you get the hang of it. However, in both places, locals are happy to help you. One day, I was extremely lost coming home from lunch in New York, and the fear of not being able to get home (what if my phone died?!), far outweighed the fear of simply asking someone. Sure enough, they were incredibly helpful, and taught me how to figure things out with a subway map in the future.

Enjoying Yourself in a New Place

When I went to Boston recently, I had an entire day in the city to myself. I thought about what I could do, and originally, I thought…shopping. I got to thinking though, and I could do that anywhere. I certainly did enough of it in New York last time I was there, and Boston had a lot more to offer than shopping. I ended up going on a tour of the freedom trail, eating at a famous local place, and exploring Little Italy. I couldn’t be happier that I spent my time and money having these experiences I couldn’t have had anywhere else. I learned so much on the Freedom Trail, and doing the tour gave me company, even if they were strangers. Eating alone at Beantown Pub and Modern Pastry in Boston gave me a chance to focus on the food (hello cannolis!) and be more in tune with my surroundings. No, I wasn’t eavesdropping on conversations, but I did people-watch and soak in the native accents. At Modern Pastry, the owners and employees were speaking in Italian.

Of course, while traveling alone, you need to have your wits about you and be smart about a variety of things; but it’s always been a worthwhile experience for me. I’ve learned how to really enjoy myself, be self-reliant, and soak in everything around me for what it’s worth. There were honestly times throughout the day where I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.

 

 P.S. If you’re in Boston checkout  Modern Pastry,   Beantown Pub ,  The Freedom Trail , and  Haymarket  for sure!

P.S. If you’re in Boston checkout Modern Pastry, Beantown Pub, The Freedom Trail, and Haymarket for sure!

Week Two in Manhattan

It's hard to know the best way to take advantage of your free time. This week I was often caught between wanting to get out there and see the sights or simply sleeping until I couldn't anymore. As a result, I ended up getting out there at the very beginning of the week and then also exploring on the weekend. Rehearsals have been a blast, and we start full runs this upcoming week! This week I visited Chelsea Market, Chinatown, Little Italy, Soho, and Central Park West. It seems like a lot, but my visits were very brief! 

 There was a section within Chelsea Market dedicated to local artisans and resale of vintage.

There was a section within Chelsea Market dedicated to local artisans and resale of vintage.

 I happened over this  Seed + Mill  Halva in Chelsea Market, and when I learned it was dairy free, I knew I had to try it! I bought the cacao nib and salted caramel flavor, which didn't disappoint. Halva is made primarily of tahini, which gives it a nutty edge. The texture is flaky and delicate. I have to come back to try their goat-milk ice cream soon! 

I happened over this Seed + Mill Halva in Chelsea Market, and when I learned it was dairy free, I knew I had to try it! I bought the cacao nib and salted caramel flavor, which didn't disappoint. Halva is made primarily of tahini, which gives it a nutty edge. The texture is flaky and delicate. I have to come back to try their goat-milk ice cream soon! 

 After our masterclass on Saturday, my friend and I hunted down some ice cream. We traveled Chinatown to get  Taiyaki . I got my first cone and it began to melt almost immediately. As soon as I travelled outside my entire mountain of soft-serve fell off my cone. Turns out the fish cones, while utterly adorable, delicious, and instagrammable, are not very practical. They're filled with custard or red bean and are very shallow. However, they were so kind and remade mine. My friend promptly snapped a pic and I put it in a cup. 

After our masterclass on Saturday, my friend and I hunted down some ice cream. We traveled Chinatown to get Taiyaki. I got my first cone and it began to melt almost immediately. As soon as I travelled outside my entire mountain of soft-serve fell off my cone. Turns out the fish cones, while utterly adorable, delicious, and instagrammable, are not very practical. They're filled with custard or red bean and are very shallow. However, they were so kind and remade mine. My friend promptly snapped a pic and I put it in a cup. 

 Little Italy is definitely reminiscent of Italy. The hosts stand out in the street to invite you to try their restaurant, and nearly every restaurant had outdoor seating. 

Little Italy is definitely reminiscent of Italy. The hosts stand out in the street to invite you to try their restaurant, and nearly every restaurant had outdoor seating. 

 Our picnic haul from Trader Joe's this Sunday 

Our picnic haul from Trader Joe's this Sunday 

 Top: mustard seed (bought consignment from  Buffalo Exchange ), Shorts: Gilded Intent at  Buckle  

Top: mustard seed (bought consignment from Buffalo Exchange), Shorts: Gilded Intent at Buckle 

Week One in Manhattan

I got to Manhattan around a week and a half ago for a summer program. The biggest and hardest adjustment was (and well... still is) traveling. I have a huge reliance on trip planner apps, but slowly and surely I'm figuring out how to read a subway map! There's never a shortage of things to see here, and I know I'm only going to be able to get to 0.5% of it while here. If I'm lucky. Here's a roundup of some of the wonderful things I've been experiencing here so far. 

 I walk past this beaut in awe almost every night. 

I walk past this beaut in awe almost every night. 

 Connor and I had an amazing first day in the city! We got to see a Broadway show, rented a studio and practiced for a couple hours, and then had an amazing dinner and dessert. The dinner isn't pictured, but check out Foragers Table in Chelsea if you're looking for something upscale, fresh, and delicious!  

Connor and I had an amazing first day in the city! We got to see a Broadway show, rented a studio and practiced for a couple hours, and then had an amazing dinner and dessert. The dinner isn't pictured, but check out Foragers Table in Chelsea if you're looking for something upscale, fresh, and delicious!  

nyc 12.jpg
 The line for Dō, Cookie Dough Confections was shut off by the time we arrived, so we headed to Frost Factory instead. I'm so glad we did! It was absolutely delicious, and very light. They had vegan options as well! 

The line for Dō, Cookie Dough Confections was shut off by the time we arrived, so we headed to Frost Factory instead. I'm so glad we did! It was absolutely delicious, and very light. They had vegan options as well! 

 Applejack Diner, while it can be expensive, is one of my favorite spots in the city so far! If you find yourself near Columbus Circle at night, you can grab a seat outside under their awning...and a massive slice of pie. 

Applejack Diner, while it can be expensive, is one of my favorite spots in the city so far! If you find yourself near Columbus Circle at night, you can grab a seat outside under their awning...and a massive slice of pie. 

 My amazing meal at Ammos Estiatorio.

My amazing meal at Ammos Estiatorio.

 Hell's Kitchen and cash only. Go.

Hell's Kitchen and cash only. Go.

 A.G. Kitchen

A.G. Kitchen

 'Nuff said

'Nuff said