Stepping out of my comfort zone and into New York City

October 15, 2012 in Life,Philosophy,Travel

I know exactly what I like: watching the sun rise over the ocean. Morning yoga. Saltwater swims. Wearing nothing but a bikini, a sarong, a pair of flip-flops. Reading in the sunshine. A crisp, cold beer. Watching the sun set over the ocean.

Christine Amorose on Jungle Beach in Vietnam

Namely, I like the beach. I like sunshine. I like pineapple and pina coladas. For the past two years, I’ve built a life where I could run my toes through the sand (or the pebbles) and stare out at the endless ocean horizon every day. I loved afternoon bike rides along the Mediterrean in Nice, I adored standing on my balcony in St Kilda and seeing palm trees stretch over the bay.

Sunset over St Kilda Beach in Melbourne, Australia

Even though I love the beach, I also love city life. Street art. Sidewalk cafes. Gallery openings and closing time at the bar. Libraries, revolving doors, winding staircases, art deco movie theatres. Fancy restaurants and rooftop cocktails.

Moving to New York City was the ultimate personal challenge, an opportunity to throw myself squarely out of my comfort zone. Skyscrapers and subways, snow and sleet. I’ve grown up wearing flip-flops and cardigans through the winter: boots and scarves have always been a fashion accessory, not a necessity. It’s a return to a (flexible) 9 to 5, a steady paycheck, a life where Friday and Monday actually mean something. Every day is a potential “Metropolitan Diary” moment.

Bare feet at Cap D'Ail Beach in the French Riviera, France

I could easily fall into a laid-back life in Hawaii, Bali or even Sydney, a life that revolves around waves and the weather. I could be bronzed and toned, tanning and stand-up paddleboarding. I could be content.

But how boring would life be if we merely settled for content? If we accepted the first thing that made us happy? If we never tried to see if something could make us happier? If I had settled at contentment, I never would have moved past booking flights to Paris. I never would have gotten out of France, out of Europe. If I had accepted the quiet contentment of my life in Melbourne, I wouldn’t have had three purely wonderful (and extremely challenging) months in Southeast Asia. If I had accepted a job and an apartment in San Francisco, I never would have driven across the USA.

Without the bitter, the sweet ain’t as sweet. I won’t lie: there are days when I wonder why exactly I chose New York City. When my alarm blares miserably in the morning, when I feel like no gloves, socks, hat and jacket will block the cold (and it’s not even winter yet), when I pay $12 for a vegetarian green curry (albeit it does get delivered to my door). There are moments when I consider giving it all up and throwing everything in a backpack again.

Sunshine reflecting on skyscrapers and the Chrysler Building in New York City

But then there’s the crash of the morning sunshine on a skyscraper, the hustle of pressed suits and clicking heels on the sidewalk, the crisp blue sky over autumn leaves in a thousand luminous hues. Jay-Z said it best: it’s the concrete jungle that dreams are made of, the streets will make you feel brand-new and big lights will inspire you. 

So, New York: game on. Challenge accepted. I’m deliciously out of my comfort zone and enjoying (almost) every second of it.

  • codi

    I never would’ve imagined you in nyc! what’s your 9 to 5 job at the moment?

  • Wow!! I just came back from a conference in NYC. You are right that you have to step out of your comfort zone but going from sunny beaches and laid back days to the concrete jungle is a step. A big step! Looking forward to seeing how this goes.

  • Melanie

    I feel the same pull in two directions: both the exciting city and the relaxing tropical locale. Maybe it just means you’re not the type to stay in one place forever, or as you said, to settle for just content. Wishing you continued good luck in NYC, until you feel that life there no longer works for you. Then, the world awaits (or maybe you’ll always be happy there–either way, it’s all good:)

  • Welcome to our big little city! So thrilled you’re here (of course). And on the bright side… we can get to Europe in less time than it takes to get to Los Angeles;)

  • Sun Worshiper

    Run away! The city is a trap!

  • Beautifully written. As much as I love reading flip flop Christine, I look forward to clicky heels Christine also. It suits you too. Make it happen girl!

  • Briel79

    I’ve been wondering about how NY is going! Will we be hearing more about your every day life there? :)

  • I hear ya on the cold thing! I came back to a Paris that’s 50 degrees (and it’s only October!) and I’m wondering if I can really hack another eight months in this city.

  • Oh no, now I’m going to sing that New York song all day! You might not see this as a problem but I basically only know the words you put up and “let’s hear it for new york, new york, new yo-oo-ooork.”
    I LOVE this post. Sometimes we are so busy looking at the grass on the other side we forget to take a moment to enjoy the wildflowers right in front of us!

  • camorose

    I’m managing the marketing and social media for ONA Bags, so it’s a great mix of writing, social media, fashion and photography–right up my alley!

  • camorose

    Thank you! It’s a change, but I’m really enjoying it (except when it’s cold!).

  • camorose

    Exactly–I figure I can still supplement my time here with plenty of tropical escapes :)

  • camorose

    Thanks lady–and drinks soon! That was a big part of it–I keep picturing flying away to Paris or Rome for the weekend :)

  • camorose

    Thank you! Can’t wait to see you in the big city soon!

  • camorose

    Yes! Lots of NYC-related posts coming up :)

  • camorose

    At least you grew up with it–I’m clueless when it comes to snow and sleet and real winters!

  • camorose

    Haha go listen to the Ed Sheeran cover of Empire State of Mind–it’s incredible!

  • Oh goodness ha ha. I definitely know quite a few more lyrics now!

  • Congratulations! It’s always difficult to follow your dreams, especially when they lead you out of your comfort zone (and away from that cold weather!). Here’s to out-of-comfort-zone plans, both present and future.

  • Ah that’s right! Wow…I can’t imagine growing up without snow and ‘real’ winter and a white Christmas!

  • Francisco71

    Another great post, as always, but I have to say, it’s the least convincing one I have read so far. I sense NYC is not really the best fit for C’est Christine. However, that said, it is a great city, enjoy the time that you are there

  • sincerelykateb

    SO happy you are only a $30, 4-hour bus ride away from me!!! Many more visits to come!

  • Costa Rica Travel
  • A big part of the allure of NYC for me is that it’s outside my comfort zone. There’s a good chance I’ll be in Chile from Jan-June for Startup Chile, but after that — I’ll likely end up in either San Francisco or New York. And San Francisco is definitely the “safer” option of those two since it’s close to family, friends, and generally is the same general vibe/culture as Seattle where I spent the first 28 years of my life.

  • camorose

    Thanks for the kind words! We’ll see what happens :)

  • camorose

    Exactly–I don’t think New York City is a city you can really experience in just a quick vacation (the same philosophy behind why I moved to Australia) so I’m going to try to see and do and taste as much as I can!

  • camorose

    Yes! I need to come back to Washington DC too–or maybe we can plan a meet-in-the-middle in Philadelphia sometime and spend all day in the anthropologie flagship :)

  • camorose

    Thank you!

  • camorose

    NYC is crazy different (and cold!) from the West Coast, but it’s been a fun adventure so far :)

  • Yep I moved to NYC from Byron Bay Australia 6 mths ago. I had never even lived in a city before NY. It is a city of highs and lows.

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  • camorose

    Well, you certainly chose the biggest city to test it out! A big change from the beaches of Australia :)

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