Destinations Magazine

Backpacking in the States: My Return to New York City

By Jsbdsl @jonnyblair

So I’m still playing catch up on my crazy journeys over the last year and you might have read that I made it back to the USA for the first time in 7 years when I flew from San Jose in Costa Rica back into Atlanta, Georgia.

Backpacking in the States: Arrival in Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Back in the USA: Arrival in Atlanta, Georgia, USA

I had a great time in Atlanta including a visit to the Porter Beer Bar in town for food and drink and then I headed on my flight to New York City. It was an emotional return to NYC for me. My journey there back in 2007 kick started my hardcore backpacking days and helped launch Don’t Stop Living so I was buzzing and bouyant. You might have read some of my previous New York City posts such as my ways to do it on the cheap in 2007, my night out for $10 USD or my trip to Staten Island.

Back in New York City!!

Back in New York City!!

Planning wise, I was pushed for time and with no USA guidebook or even information on hand, I did my own thing and quickly made my way round the main sights of New York in a day. Mostly the sights I hadn’t seen before though. If you’re stuck for ideas be sure to check out the Multi Centre USA holidays page on Eshores as they specialise in creating US itineraries. I got off my flight in La Guardia airport (same as in 2007) and headed on a downtown bus to Manhattan to explore again, as a 34 year old. I rarely write about cities like New York on here as popular places are less of my niche and usually bore me to tears. In fact I normally type them up shyly and don’t promote them but I’ll be honest – I liked going back to New York this time with no pressure to do any sightseeing or to write about it.

Back in NYC, USA

Back in NYC, USA

Here are the five coolest things I did on my day in New York City, USA:

1. I met Nomadic Matt!
Yes Nomadic Matt AKA Matt Kepnes is probably the most loved and respected travel blogger on the planet and I got to meet him early afternoon in the Chocolate Bar in NYC. Check out Matt’s book on How to Make Money from your Travel Blog.

Afternoon tea with Nomadic Matt in NYC.

Afternoon tea with Nomadic Matt in NYC.

2. I crossed Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge is entirely free to walk across and you get some great views and watch the world go by as you walk. Back in 2007 I has signed my name on the bridge with my travel buddies Cassiano and Nina. This time, I couldn’t find the place I had signed.

Walking across Brooklyn Bridge in New York.

Walking across Brooklyn Bridge in New York.

3. Early Morning Beer and Pizza
New York is a 24 Hour City as they say and I love the way you can just wander into a bar early morning for a beer and a pizza. As a bonus they had live sports on. I drank in the Beer Authority Bar in Times Square.

Morning beer and pizza in NYC

Morning beer and pizza in NYC

4. Empire State Building
I didn’t go back to the top of the Empire State Building on my second visit to the city but I sure did check it out from the bottom.

At the top of the Empire State Building (2007 pic!)

At the top of the Empire State Building (2007 pic!)

5. Freedom Tower/One World Trade Centre
Back in 2007 on my visit I visited the sad “WTC Site Path” or Ground Zero where the two twin towers once stood. This time there was a new building in NYC – Freedom Tower, mostly known as One World Trade Centre. I didn’t go to the top – I didn’t feel the need to do so many touristy things this time, which I personally loved.

One world trade centre

One world trade centre

From now on when I visit cities I’ve been to before, I’m going to be relaxing and chilling out a lot more. It’s actually a really enjoyable thing to go back to the same city with zero pressure to get a guidebook, look things up and go and see the main sights. Here a some of my NYC videos from both visits so you can compare:

Have a great weekend!

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