Monday, 11 December 2017

WHAT TO DO WITH 1 DAY IN BOSTON

Determined to make the most of the East Coast when I was living in NYC, I set off for a 24-hour visit to Boston over the summer. I was there for just one day and night, but in that time I managed to see a lot of the city's highlights.

It all started with my trip to Acorn Street, where I shot with my friend @LouiseSweeney1, so check that out if you're a fan of pretty streets. Once you've snapped your photo on the most photographed street in North America, it's on to...

Pretend you're a student at Harvard

First up, Harvard. I knew that Louise lived by the iconic university but I didn't realise I'd be walking straight through it to get to hers. It was utterly surreal - and somewhat creepy - to wander through Harvard in the dead of night. Even in the low light, though, I could tell how beautiful it was, and by the time I'd arrived at Louise's I'd already decided I'd be back the next day for photos!

Of course, you'll have to visit the John Harvard statue and rub his left toe for luck. Then again, I've since found out that Harvard students actually pee on the foot for luck, so I'd come equip hand sanitiser!

Get a breath of fresh air at the Public Garden


If you're the type of person who simply likes to wander when visiting somewhere new, the Boston Public Gardens are the place for you. You can't help but stumble on little moments of wonder there. We saw a newly-wed couple getting their wedding pics, entertainers blowing up balloon animals, and buskers merrily strumming. A joyful place to explore, and a beautiful park by any city's standards.



Embrace your inner bookworm at the Public Library

I could have spent hours at this library, browsing the books and just enjoying the quiet. Be sure to check out the grand study room with the green lamps that only seem to exist in libraries - why is that?

Wasn't a fan of the overly dramatic security guard who hurried us out of the gorgeous courtyard. Apparently a wedding party was about to descend on the premise, and unfortunately we weren't dressed in our wedding-crashing attire.

Get your (vegan!) ice-cream fix


Around the corner of the Public Library is FoMu - a cute dessert spot specialising in ice-"cream" made from coconut milk. Vegan or not, you should try out these treats if only for their untraditional flavours. Sweet Lavender? It looks pretty and tastes pretty. Avocado? I couldn't claim to be a millennial if I refused!

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One day in Boston is time enough to get a feel for the city... But that said, I'd love to spend longer there! Hopefully next time! For more of my adventures, follow me on Instagram.

Monday, 4 December 2017

THE BIG MOVE HOME: WHY I LEFT NYC + WHAT'S NEXT

Well, well, well. After all that hustle and slog and slow progress in New York, I am back in Donegal, where I started. Why on earth did I leave and what the hell is next?

Photos by Kaye Fordtography

While I did move to NYC on a temporary working visa - the J1 Graduate Visa - I was open to the idea of staying if I found an employer to sponsor me. It wasn't my biggest priority, though, and ultimately I ended up working for the startup fashion company Hebe Rose, which did not have the resources to help me get a new visa.

No regrets! Working for Hebe Rose was fantastic: I believe in their vision, their products, and the co-founders. Ah, the incredible co-founders April and Barbara: they're going to make waves in ethical fashion and beyond. Who knows, maybe I'll be back working with them in the future!

With no means of securing a new visa, the sensible step was to come home. I wasn't about to overstay my welcome in the USA - I wouldn't want to ruin my chances of a return. But the sensible way isn't always easy, and I had mixed emotions in the weeks leading up to my departure. Over the last few weeks I tearily said my goodbyes and thank yous. By Thanksgiving, the day of my flight home, I was distraught. I couldn't stop blubbing on the bus to the airport. I wasn't even sure what I was sad about exactly... Endings I guess.

Back home at last, I took my usual spot on the couch and have settled back into family home life pretty easily. Each weekday I come into town with my Mum job hunt from a coffee shop - if I stay at home I end up sleeping in far too late. And what job am I hunting for exactly? Now that's the question.

It may make me sound wishy-washy, but there are a number of routes I can see myself going down. Of course, with my degree and experience in digital marketing, a job in social media is a no-brainer. But then again, there's my passion for photography, and I had the chance to work on some incredible photoshoots as a producer too, so I could look into working at photography studio.

Whichever path I take, I know that I'll be able to handle it. If there's one thing New York makes you it's resilient. If you're ever thinking of moving there, be it for a summer, a year, or more, I would recommend it. It's not just about the work experience, it's the life experience. You'll come out of it stronger than ever.

So what's next for me? Time will tell, but I'm confident that there's bigger and better things in store. After all, taking on New York is the first step to world domination!