Traveling around US with free accommodation – NYC

This is the post about one of the best trips I’ve done. I can even say it was the trip of my life since it showed me how amazing it is to travel alone. This was in 2012 and I was working a business woman life in Warsaw…dreaming of moving somewhere far far away. One of my biggest dreams was to travel around USA. And when I saw discounted flights to NYC i hesitated just for a little second and I booked the ticket!

It was the most amazing feeling…I still had 4 months before I was going but even just a thought about it made me super excited!

I knew I don’t want to spend to much money on accommodation, plus I wanted to meet new people so I decided I will try using Couchsurfing. If you are a traveller you know what it is… it’s a website where people offer free accommodation but it’s not only about free couch to sleep on but also about meeting the locals, and exchanging travel experiences. I used that website before and I loved it. Since it’s American, I knew I would have no problem finding some nice couch.

So… I had 3 weeks and I was not sure if I’ll be able to visit US again so I wanted to fit the most popular parts in my 3 weeks holidays:).

I made a lot of research and I finally decided on:

Stop 1: NYC

Stop 2: Washington DC.

Stop 3: Los Angeles

Stop 4: San Diego

Stop 5: NYC = > back to Poland

This was veeery exciting. I started my couchsurfing research months before. I had a bit of drama with some guy living in Village that said about all couchsurfer girls sleeping with him in bed…. so I just said… NO WAY and cancelled the guy.

When you are using counchsurfing you have to have a bit of trustm cause most of the people are just great positive hosts, however, you do have to be careful since there are always weirdos in the world. I was always chatting a bit longer with the guys, I was checking their FB and exchanging telephone numbers. I also printed all the profiles with address and phone numbers and gave them to my sister “just in case”. I know…maybe I was a bit paranoid but it was my first time traveling all alone that far.

STOP 1 – NEW YORK CITY

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The first stop was in the city that never sleeps. The day before I was flying I had to watch “Sleepless in Seattle” just to get myself to the mood of NYC! 🙂

In NYC I found Phil, who lived in Queens. He agreed to host me for over a week and even agreed to keep my clothes when I’m gonna be gone to other cities. I could later stay at his place my last 3 nights and then head back home.

I was landing in NYC kinda late and Phil couldn’t pick me up from the airport but I found another lovely New Yorker who offered just to pick me up from airport and help me to get to Queens, it was soo nice of him!

Phil was a lovely host showing me around anywhere I want even though it was sooo much walking 🙂

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He took me to the first Pizzeria in NYC. I think the name was Lombardi’s…and it was delicious!!!

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We had a nice walk in Central Park…I was shocked how big it was. It was just after winter so it wasn’t too green but I still found it nice. 😉

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Then Phil showed me the spots I really wanted to see. The place where the TV show “Friends” “lived”. The show was actually filmed in LA but they were always showing on building as their house….so I had to take a photo there!!!

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Next stop – Carrie Bradshaw:s from “Sex and the City” home – checked!

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And Phil took me to Chinatown… it was my first visit in any Chinatown and I was soooo excited. I felt like I suddenly teleported to China 🙂 Different world – in the middle of Manhattan!

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Yeah…I couldn’t really understand the menu but was lucky that Phil was Chinese and he helped me 🙂

The best part of my NYC stay was Brooklyn Bridge. I would never think it’s so impressive!

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The rest of my NYC week I spent exploring alone… However, I contacted few people on Couchsurfing groups and met some cool people. One of my dreams was to see NBA game and I posted on couchsurfing group who would like to share this experience with me. Mico agreed to take me to the Knicks game! and it was so cool! I love basketball so I had the best time!

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I even got the chance to go on the court and take some photos. Thanks Mico for the best time! Match was an amazing experienc and I definitely recommend going to the game…especially for sport fans :).

New York City is full of amazing things to see and do. I got lucky cause I found out that one of my favourite reggae singers – Gentleman, was playing a concert in NYC. And it was exactly when I was there! Yay!

I booked a ticket and went there alone… it was a funny experience since we were lining up for the concert and a lot of New Yorkers were passing by and they didn’t know who Gentleman is ahahah. Plus…Gentleman is very popular in Europe…and in NYC it was a small venue so you could really enjoy the music!

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It was incredible! I even met his wife Tamika who is a part of Gentleman group and I got the chance to talk to her but then I really needed to get back home since it was late and I was scared to come back home to Queens by myself. I ended up taking the taxi….I gotta tell you Manhattan does look a bit scary at night… so I don’t regret taking a cab 🙂

One of the MUST DO on my list was to go to Empire State Building…it’s an icon… saw it in so many movies. Had to do it! It is an incredible experience…view is just amazing. You have to take few lifts and it is a fast elevator ride but kinda interesting. But then…you are on the top…and you can see the NYC with all its areas from the top!

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I also took a walk through Manhattan enjoying the view of all thos high buildings….I saw the new tower being build on the place of WTC. It is a bit magical watching all those streets and remembering the time when the September 11th happened…

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One day I also met the Couchsurfing friend who helped me to get to Queens from Airport. He was working in Wall Street so he met me for lunch break and we walked around Wall Street during the day….SUPER interesting experience…crowds, crowds, and more crowds…

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Very toristy city…but you can’t not love it!

On one of more rainy days I decided to go to Metropolitan Museum of Arts . his is a definitely a MUST too. It’s a LOT of walking but seeing the best art you usually see in books is incredible. For me of course modern art was the most inspiring. Everybody knows Andy Warhol…but seeing his art shows the talent and techniques he used creating his arts. You can of course also see the classics like Picasso and Salvador Dali. Great 3-4 hour tour with the best art from all over the world.

I also got the chance to see dinosaurs in Natural History Museum. Huge building with a lot of sections and again…a looooooot of walking.

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What else can you do in NYC??? of course…eat..do some shopping… and enjoy the beautiful city spirit!!!

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NYC is crowded, loud and not very clean… I don’t think this is the place I would decide to live in… but I loved every minute spent there. I will definitely come back. After spending almost 2 weeks there, I still feel like I haven’t seen enough.  And I haven’t… I definitely missed the opportunity to see Statue of Liberty from closer but the line waiting for the ferry was waaaay too long (around 1h wait in cold) so I had to skip it this time…

I know on some point I will be back and explore more of this beautiful, strange city that never sleeps…

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