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Oct 25, 2017 | Wanderlust, Working Week

When I was little I would tell people that once I was a grown up my plan was to move to NYC.

So I’ve always felt me and the Big Apple had unfinished business, and I suppose that little dream has never fully left my bucket list.

Then, as we all do, I did grow up – well almost. I lived in London for many, many, years and to be honest that gave me my big city fix. But asi s the way with life, I took an unexpected detour. I followed my heart, and the sun, and ended up living in various Southern Hemisphere cities. First Auckland, New Zealand. Then a test run of Australia, in Sydney and Melbourne, before finally heading to Cape Town, South Africa. Where I stayed for nearly five years.

During those years based below the equator I honestly felt that big city living was in my past. And every once in a while I would think about NYC and my dream to give it a go one day. It seemed like another story, a parallel life that made no sense with where I was currently. It didn’t seem as though those paths would connect. But then, very gradually, a growing niggle became a persistent craving, that evolved into a strong need for that big city buzz once again. The pace, the culture and all of that energy – I needed my fix.

So despite having the ocean on my doorstep, a laid-back lifestyle and glorious weather, the very things that had pulled me there in the first place, I knew it was time to go. So, once again, I now call London home. And I am loving being back, and I am enjoying all the opportunities and inspiration it brings. One of these wonderful opportunities was a dream project this September. I was commissioned to travel to New York and illustrate an area of Manhattan.

This trip rekindled my love affair with the Big Apple but also perhaps did even more than that. Suddenly my detour South and returning home made sense. I realised I needed that time away and to come back a different person. A little time out, a lot of painting and drawing, plus a quite a few life lessons and adventures under my belt meant I was ready to truly live my vision of my dream future. These wonderful work trips had become real and possible, thanks to my detour.

I jetted off to NYC and felt immense gratitude at all this AND being able to work anywhere in the world.  I spent four days walking, and I mean REALLY clocking up some serious miles and getting lost (the right kind of lost though – not aimless wanderings) in the brief, and in Manhattan. I soaked it all up.

Now I’ve been lucky enough to visit NYC several times in the past (the standard shopping/exhibition/eating out etc. kinda visits – after all this is what this city does best) but seeing this Manhattan through my ‘work eyes’ really made me appreciate my long journey here all the more.

I had conversations with people whom I normally wouldn’t have connected with.  From mixologists in the fanciest of hotel bars to chess players in Madison Square park. The diversity of sites and people are just one of the things that is so addictive about the city.

The selection of pictures are an edit from literally hundreds. A little taster from my work adventure. Editing is not my strength and where to start when you want to share it all? But until this project goes live these are the best bits.

NYC you were a dream. Still say we have gotta give it a go one day.