FROM NELSON TO NEW YORK

Anna Bradley-Smith

I don’t really know what I’m doing.

I string a few words together when I’m asked, there’s some goals, a loose plan, definitely some dreams, but nope, no real idea.

I’m a journalist, without a job. I have a boyfriend, but I don’t know if he’d call me his girlfriend. I have places to stay, but nowhere to live. So in short I’m unemployed, somewhere on the alone to not alone spectrum and homeless.

And tomorrow I’m taking a suitcase with too many pairs of sneakers and I’m moving to America. Because why the hell not.

I have around US$3000 to my name, no job lined up, or any long term accommodation. Just a ticket to New York via Los Angeles where I want to go to Venice Beach and eat at In’N’Out Burger. I have nothing else planned, including a place to stay. Moving was done at the last minute, seconds hand almost at 11.

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I never thought I’d end up in the States. The dream has always been landing in the Middle East as a foreign correspondent for Al Jazeera, the BBC, or the New York Times. I don’t know where the f it came from to be honest or how on Earth I planned to get there. I knew nothing about the news, politics, culture or history of Middle Eastern countries, or what a journalist even did. But it stuck and I’ve spent the last few years trying to make my way there. I’m completely under-qualified.

But I’m only 24 so I’m not really qualified for anything. Tyler the Creator’s a 23-year-old freak. So is that girl that just climbed Everest at 19. On her third attempt. So in some conflict I’m going to New York because I’m 24 and it doesn’t really matter if my life falls apart, and also because I need to do something dramatic to hurry my rise to foreign correspondent super status up because my life is nearly over. The answers are there.

Soon I’ll be able to compile my own list of ‘must try’ ramen bars and hot dog vendors and you’ll all think I’m one of those slightly helpful mostly patronising travel wankers.

But seriously, I’m going because when else will I have the opportunity to live here again. And also why not? My old job will be there if and when I return, and if they don’t want me back I’ll  worm my way in somewhere else. My not-boyfriend/boyfriend loves the States and already has a holiday planned. And I’ll find a place to live. Jessy, my smart angel travelling companion/journalist partner in crime, and I might be sharing a single bed in a basement apartment in the Bronx, but it doesn’t matter – we’ll be in New York.

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