You ever spend time waiting or looking for something that wasn’t really worth it in the end. I don’t care if it happens at home. At home, I can come back to my house and take my anger out in some classy way (something involving an axe). Abroad, you have to keep you cool or you will wind up looking like the biggest loser in town. I never want to be that loser again.
When I was in Germany, in 2009, we made the mistake of not pre-booking anything for Neuschwanstein. We drove up in our loaded van, and slowly pulled off to our next stop in Bavaria. Upon arriving, we realized just how busy it could be in the summer. Honestly, I barely even remember the view of the castle. The only image left in my mind is that of the endless wave of tour buses (you all disgust me :p). Had we done a little planning ahead of time, or even booked a tour, we wouldn’t have been disappointed with this destination.
Same goes for New York. For the love of whatever you believe in, please don’t waste your time looking for a shop. I was 21, and for three years my friend had told me about the NHL store he had visited when he was there. He said it was huge, and it had tons of products to check out. Because I used to be really into hockey, I was excited to go and bring back a bunch of stuff for some friends. Only one thing, I had an old address. Somehow. Regardless of my mistake, we had spent almost an hour walking down streets close to Times Square, and didn’t even get a sniff of it.
Do you know how many “Elmo’s” I passed by that afternoon? Countless. And this was all after getting a good walk in the morning, so I wasn’t impressed when we finally found the store. It was about the size of a shoebox, and had almost nothing to show for. After confirming with the clerk that this was the newest location, I was quite disgusted. A tiny store in West Edmonton Mall held more than this waste of space.
That’s probably my only regret from my first visit to New York. That hour (or more) could have been spent anywhere else. I didn’t even see High Line when I was there, so can I blame that on the NHL store? I could have been scouring out the nearest pizzeria! Sometimes it’s okay to call it a day, and I should have done that right away. It still angers me that I was in New York, looking for a store that held no significance to the city itself.
Plan ahead, but not too much:
The week before departing for New York, I searched for spots to stop by. I even printed off the maps for them. Only, I barely used them in the end. Once you’re there, you’ll be easily distracted by tons of different spaces to check out. If you fill an entire itinerary, how the hell are you going to enjoy yourself? Isn’t this why people take vacations in the first place? To get away from structure..
To be fair, some major sites are busy year round and should be planned ahead of time. But I wasted time planning out stops for little things that were out of our way (and wouldn’t take much time to see).
Don’t ever be “that guy”