Thank God I'm Halfway!!
NYC continues to bubble away with cafes, bars, restaurants & wine stores around every corner. Sigh.
Even so, there have been many great moments without booze. I guess I'm learning more about traveling on a cleanse than I ever have before. Here are a couple of new travel tips:
1) See a show/band/movie: Even while traveling, if you're on a cleanse, there still seems to be more hours in the day. A good hint is to do things that take a good chunk of time out of the day or, especially, night. My husband and I went to see a band at the Beacon Theater. Devotchka and The Magnetic Fields were playing, both of them sort of avant-garde college bands, despite the fact the Fields have been kicking around for many years apparently.
To me, the theater itself was the star of the show. Impossibly ornate and beautiful, full of gilt carvings and velvet, the walls seemed to be telling an unending story of glamour and grace.
It wasn't a thrill passing all the bars they had set up serving everything from wine to frozen daiquiris. But I took my deep breath passing each one and I thanked my lucky stars that I didn't have to "abstain" forever. At one point, I was so overwhelmed with the challenge, with the gratitude, and with the beauty of the place that I literally took my husband around the neck and felt tears come to my eyes: "Thank God I don't have to do this forever," I told him. "Can you imagine the people who do?" And I felt such sympathy and compassion for them. I was so grateful I had a drink at the end of my own tunnel.
2) Shop: As you'll discover soon enough, you'll be saving plenty of money on a cleanse because aas wel all know, booze is not (usually) cheap. We spent the afternoon in SoHo, wandering the streets and boutiques. I only ended up getting a cute little tank top from Madewell, but I appreciated browsing through the SoHo Bloomies, the affordably chic Aritzia, the impossibly casual and glamourous Ralph Lauren, among others.
I imagine most cleanse traveling will happen for people on business trips (because vacation traveling would be pointless as far as I'm concerned if you're on a cleanse). If that's the case and you have some extra time, use some of that drinking money you've saved and get a great new tie or statement necklace. Buy a business or trade book you've been meaning to read and lock yourself in the hotel room or a coffee shop somewhere. Breathe, breathe, breathe and remember it's not forever.
3) Enjoy new non-alcoholic drinks: Don't get me wrong, cranberry & soda is really yummy and I enjoy it. But if you're drinking nothing else on a cleanse, it can get boring. Luckily, here in NYC the selection of virgin drinks is almost endless, from streetside fruit smoothies to homemade sodas.
For instance, the hubs and I stopped for lunch at the lovely Mercer Kitchen in the Mercer Hotel on Prince Street. I had a delicious omelet and the hubby had a chicken sandwich. Everything was fresh and beautifully presented, even the handmade potato chips in a little raised cup.
But the real treat were the homemade sodas. I really have to try to get the recipe for them. I had the Lemon-Ginger soda and my husband had the Blackberry Yuzu. Both of them were the perfect combination of sweet tartness and absolutely refreshing. I sincerely didn't (really) miss a glass of wine, especially since the majority of people in the crowd must've been on business lunches because most people weren't drinking at all.
Mind you, I did look longingly at a table of four chic women sipping martinis and chardonnay. I smiled to myself and thought ... soon enough ...
3) Appreciate everything: This isn't hard in New York. Every corner has some historical building or casually artful vignette. I even appreciate the cobblestone streets in the Meat Packing District as if they were carved by DaVinci himself. I imagine the horse hooves that have clacked across those bricks. The carriage wheels. The Tin Lizzies. And the Carrie Bradshaw's tottering about in their Manolos. A death-defying act, I'm sure. So learn to really pay attention to all the wonder and beauty around you. This may not be as easy if you're at a convention in some lackluster backwater, but even then, look at the repro's on the wall, the twisted polyester in the carpet. Interact with people in a fresh, curious way. Really engage with every aspect of the day and night, ignoring nothing and taking nothing for granted.
Speaking of that, here's one thing you won't ever take for granted again once you start cleansing: the freedom to drink.