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All I Had Was A Duffel Bag And A Dream

All I Had Was A Duffel Bag And A Dream

I was a young adult from Springfield, Massachusetts and was tired of the way I was living so I decided to do something about it. I remembered it as if it was yesterday. It was pretty cold outside even for the month of December. I was lying on my mattress, which was on the floor because I removed the bed frame when I originally moved into my studio apartment. It made me more comfortable and relaxed. A laptop was perched on my chest and my head was resting against a pillow. Next to me was a chicken patty sandwich with cheese and a bag of Doritos Nacho flavored chips and I was sipping on tap water from a reused Poland Spring water bottle.

I was lying there watching American Pie: Naked Mile, the timestamp was at the party scene where "Dwight Stifler" was partying with his cousin Eric Stifler friends at a fraternity party. The scene where Dwight was getting shots drunken from his stomach by 3 beautiful women and that massive party scene in general had me thinking about my own life. I thought about all of the fun these characters in this film were having, laughing, drinking and just enjoying themselves while getting wasted. I realize it was just a film but I knew somewhere in this world people my own age were really having fun like this, especially in a popular city like New York.

I wanted to have as much fun as they were having. Instead I was sitting in my pathetic cramped studio apartment with no goals and really nothing to strive for. I wasn't aiming to become anything at the time. I was just living to live without trying to create any memories and that really bothered me. It was at that very moment, after watching American Pie, I decided to head for The Big Apple... New York City.

A Ticket To New York City Please...One Way


Duffel Bag & A Dream

I made the decision to move to NYC on a whim and acted fast. I packed my duffel bags with my worn out clothes, my iBook G3 Clamshell laptop (blue), a black & white Google map print out of Midtown Manhattan and a few other things I considered "essential items" (red wine, glasses, shoes that was designed to look like your foot etc). I carried my hopes & dreams of becoming a famous musician and $62 in my pocket, and I was ready for the excitement  New York City had to offer. I once read that Madonna arrived in NYC 1978 with $35 in her pocket and a one way ticket via airplane. She made her dreams came true, becoming a successful musician and millionaire.

Madonna Before Fame
Madonna Before Fame | Photo Credit: Dazed

I thought maybe it was an omen of where my life was headed. It was my first time ever traveling outside of my hometown and traveling alone. In fact the day I left my hometown marked my first steps into adulthood. I purchased a coach seat ticket from the Amtrak station downtown Springfield to New York way.


My ticket was booked for around 3:00pm - 4pm on January 11th. I said my goodbyes and hung out with good people for the last time, prior to my departure date. The people I've became so connected to in this town wished me the best of luck and I was on my way. The evening I had chosen to leave for New York wasn't ideal at all. In fact it was probably one of the worst conditions to travel in. There was a big blizzard going on in Springfield but even more so in New York City...but I'll get to that part later. The four hour train ride seemed to just zip by as


I stared blankly out of the window. I was just thinking, something I've been doing more frequently during this time period, about how adult-like it was for me to travel to the unknown of New York in search of a better life; a more exciting life. However, I would be lying if I said I didn't have butterflies. I think one of the biggest question or fear those considering moving to New York have, whether they're chasing a dream or just need a change of scenery, is can they make it out here in the big city. I was no different but I did create a safety net for myself. I had enough cash saved up to continue paying my rent back at home for a couple months. So if after 2 months of living in New York I couldn't make it, I would simply move back home into my old apartment, of course feeling defeated.

Next Suburban Connecticut Kid Moving to NYC For The First Time

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