And that’s a wrap on Boston.
My first leg of the trip was pretty much everything I wanted it to be. It challenged me in so many ways, I really got a good understanding of what my life in Boston would be like if I settled here, and I relearned how good I am at taking care of myself and enjoying time on my own. Have you ever seen someone in NYC with headphones on singing and dancing while waiting for the train or at a crosswalk? And you’re like that person is living their life not giving a single, solitary shit what anyone around them is thinking of them?
I danced and sang to myself so many times with headphones on around Boston. I was that bitch. I have never felt so calm and peaceful and just fucking GIDDY in my entire life.
The first two days I was here, feeling scared and sad and FRUSTRATED THAT BOSTON’S STREETS WERE MADE BY FUCKIN’ HORSES AND AREN’T A GRID, all I did was keep questioning whether I had done the right thing. I missed the support system of friends and family I had built in New York. I have never traveled to a new US city barely knowing anything or anyone; I’ve lived in New York my entire life. I also hadn’t dated in a year and a half. I sincerely wondered if I could financially afford to eat the non-refundable deposit I had put on my apartment in Brookline. In short, my first 48 hours in Boston were spent wondering if I was strong enough to do this trip. After all, Boston was me dipping my toe into this year-long adventure. If I couldn’t survive these 7 weeks, how the fuck would I be able to do close to a year away from home? Who did I think I am?
All of these feelings quickly passed after I took my psych meds, ate a sandwich at Cutty’s, and got laid.
You know what happened after those 48 torturous hours that turned my whole life around? I started owning my fucking life. “I am doing this for me,” I reminded to myself. Not for anyone else. There were suddenly no rules. So what did I want to do? In Boston, owning my life meant:
And when you own your own life, you start owning other stuff, too. These are some things I have done that I didn’t give myself nearly enough credit for until I did this trip:
Tracee Ellis Ross gave a talk to Glamour magazine (that everyone should watch in its entirety here) about living your life intuitively as a woman. She says:
“When we put ourselves first by doing things like saying no, speaking up, sleeping with who we want, eating what our bodies intuitively tell us to eat, wearing training bras instead of pushup bras, posting a picture of ourselves without using FaceTune, we are condemned for thinking for ourselves, being ourselves, for owning our experiences, our bodies and our lives. That kind of boldness is seen as threatening and scary. What would it look like for women to completely own our power? To have agency over our own glory, our sexuality, and not in order to create a product or sell it or to feel worthy of love or use it as a tool for safety. But instead, as a way of being. Imagine that. Truly owning our own power, agency, and sexuality.”
This trip started off as a way to make sure that I wasn’t going to settle down in NYC for another 11 years without knowing what other cities are like, but what it ultimately taught me was to own my power.
[I want to take a second here to shout out my day job—I know some of my coworkers read my blog and this trip would NOT be possible even in the slightest without the stability, flexibility, and unending kindness of everyone on my team. Thank you, thank you, thank you.]
So yeah. This trip has been really amazing for me. Here are some of my favorite Boston memories:
And to think that this is just the first leg of my trip! I am truly #blessed.
Before I get into some AirBNB tips, let me tell you a little bit about where I had been staying for the last 7 weeks. My AirBNB sublet was so weird in the absolute best ways. Now, I lived in Brookline Village and really wanted to live with people during this first excursion because I felt weird being on my own in a city I didn’t know. It was expensive as fuck, but ultimately worth the money because it was very quiet during the day, incredibly safe, and very convenient to everything. I don’t think I would have liked living in any other part of the city, to be honest.
I had three roommates:
Anyway. Here are some hot AirBNB tips:
On a very personal note—after my ruptured cyst, I learned that my autoimmune disease, which was very stable for the last two years, has suddenly become not-so-stable again. The next six weeks home in NY will be filled with doctor’s appointments, tests, and seeing if I will be healthy enough to continue the trip in January if I don’t need to go through treatment again. If I have to put things on hold or renegotiate the timeline of my trip, I will make peace with that. In the meantime, I will always cherish my time in Boston. Here are some things I learned:
First city down, 5 more to go. Thanks for everything, Boston.
Dana Hamilton is a writer from New York City currently traveling across the United States on her own for all of 2018. Passionate about everything having to do with the body, she writes about sex, dating, relationships, body image, and eating disorder recovery. She is a frequent contributor to Playboy and her work has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, New York Magazine, Time Out NY, and SELF, among other publications. Before she became a freelance writer, she was an editor at two "Big Five" houses in the book publishing industry. She has also written four books (under a pseudonym) for HarperCollins and is currently working on her fifth novel. She holds a BA in writing and nutrition from New York University.
Passionate about everything having to do with the body, Dana Hamilton writes about sex, dating, relationships, body image, and eating disorder recovery. She is a frequent contributor to Playboy and her work has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, New York Magazine, Time Out NY, and SELF, among other publications. After driving (and dating) across the country and back on her own for all of 2018, Dana now splits her time between New York, Boston, and Chicago. Before she became a freelance writer, she was an editor at two "Big Five" houses in the book publishing industry. She has also written four books (under a pseudonym) for HarperCollins and is currently working on her fifth novel. She holds a BA in writing and nutrition from New York University.