Where to even begin…

What a year!

As I’ve come to the conclusion of yet another chapter in NYC I find myself reflecting and somehow trying to make sense of all the incredible experiences, both ridiculous and enlightening, that I have had over the past 13 months.

Last winter in NYC - polar vortex - this was on my birthday - sight for sore eyes!

Last winter in NYC – polar vortex – this was on my birthday – sight for sore eyes!

Some people apparently enjoy basking in the freezing cold here in NYC!

Some people apparently enjoy basking in the freezing cold here in NYC!

Playing MC at my friends fashion show very soon after arriving in NYC. Surrounded by wonderful Aussie male friends.

Playing MC at my friends fashion show very soon after arriving in NYC. Surrounded by wonderful Aussie male friends.

Celebrating one of my good friends birthdays in NYC.

Celebrating one of my good friends birthdays in NYC.

I think there is value in all of us taking a moment at times to look back at how far we have come over a period of time and see the evolvement and transitions our personalities have made as a result of our experiences.

I write this post almost as a diary entry, something for me to be able to look back on in years to come, and with the promise that you will definitely feel like you know both me, and NYC, a little better by the end of reading this (should you actually read it all!).

Halloween 2013 - A few days after I had arrived in NYC for this chapter!

Halloween 2013 – A few days after I had arrived in NYC for this chapter!

I always knew 27 would be a special year in my life; for as long as I can remember, 27 has been my lucky number. I feel as though a big part of me always knew I would be off on my own in NYC at this age, with both professional and romantic experiences being at the forefront of my adventure. What can I say, I am a true believer that the gut really does know best!

27 and out on the town in NYC!

27 and out on the town in NYC!

The experiences I’ve had as a 27 year old were not ones that could have been had should I have not thrown myself in the deep end and moved to a huge city like NYC on my own. Having to set up without a single stable point being present, arriving without a job, a partner, a course enrollment, a best friend, or any family, brought with it an air of excitement and challenge that gave me no other option than to find a way to navigate this maze of a world in a new country.

Taking it all in (this time, from Tel Aviv).

Taking it all in (this time, from Tel Aviv).

There is something empowering at the end of the day about this, no matter how big or little the successes are, because you know that it wasn’t just a walk in the park, and you did it yourself.

I find it a little comic that many people come to New York to toughen up and move faster, whilst I have utilized this city in the complete opposite fashion. I came to be in an environment I knew could balance me, one that has so many layers, and so many strong people, that by default, it allowed my softer sides to come to the forefront as an element of differentiation, and enabled me to enjoy the varying aspects of life.

Celebrating NYE with one of my good friends who lived in Melbourne for a stint before coming back to his home country, the USA.

Celebrating NYE with one of my good friends who lived in Melbourne for a stint before coming back to his home country, the USA.

Attending another dietitians family's christmas gathering.

Attending another dietitians families christmas gathering.

This year has certainly been a period of personal growth and clarity, more so than one for tangible outcomes.

Making new friends and celebrating an orphans thanksgiving for those of us without family in NYC!

Making new friends and celebrating an orphans thanksgiving for those of us without family in NYC!

As someone who previously was moving through the motions of ticking off professional goals, I leave this year feeling extremely happy with the balance that has been found.

  • Having made true new best friends in the USA,
  • Staying supportive of my family, friends, and colleagues scattered throughout the globe,
  • Continuing to place together the pieces of my career goals, and clarifying even stronger where my passions lie.
  • Being brave enough to open myself up to someone from another country,
  • Being resilient enough to let go and move on instantaneously after quite ridiculous treatment,
  • And having a strong enough belief in my own self-worth to stay true to my standards and values, leading to me being open to starting a fresh on a clean slate.

All in all, focusing across many areas of life, and being happy with where that has lead.

Silent disco with some of my friends in summer time.

Silent disco with some of my friends in summer time.

Enjoying one of our many amazing picnics in the park.

Enjoying one of our many amazing picnics in the park.

And another picnic..

And another picnic..

One of the many rooftop parties attended - this time, world cup (USA was clearly in the match based on the audience numbers!).

One of the many rooftop parties attended – this time, world cup (USA was clearly in the match based on the audience numbers!).

I have been able to seriously enjoy this city for what it is worth. Waking up in the heart of Greenwich Village daily, with a wine bar below my apartment, a coffee shop across the road, amazing boutique exercise studios at my disposal for a fraction of the cost you find anywhere else, and the beautiful Washington square park within a few steps of my front door, I honestly couldn’t have written this storyline any more impeccably.

My mother and I enjoyed an evening out whilst she was visiting NYC earlier this year.

My mother and I enjoyed an evening out whilst she was visiting NYC earlier this year.

A few of my wonderful new friends having a fun night out on the town.

A few of my wonderful new friends having a fun night out on the town.

Making friends with my neighbours, dining and enjoying cocktails at phenomenal venues, visiting copious amounts of healthy food expos to research ingredients and trends, having a gorgeous roommate I connected with from day one, creating the tightest group of uncanny liked minded friends from all corners of the globe, getting the most admirable people within the nutrition and media worlds to both bring me into their worlds, as well as see and support my ideas and visions, have truly been humbling and heart warming experiences that will stay with me forever.

Out an event with a couple of my wonderful friends.

Out an event with a couple of my wonderful friends.

Washington square park

Washington square park

My awesome roommate who has been like a sister since day one.

ABC kitchen, does no wrong in my eyes!

ABC kitchen, does no wrong in my eyes!

ABC kitchen, does no wrong in my eyes!

ABC kitchen, does no wrong in my eyes!

ABC kitchen, does no wrong in my eyes!

ABC kitchen, does no wrong in my eyes!

Crazy!

Crazy!

Cocktails and interactive shows…fun times!

Cocktails and interactive shows…fun times!

I’ve taken part in market research groups at one point to make ends meet, I’ve been recruited on the spot at the end of one of these sessions to join a branding agency, and I have even somehow found myself days later in the boardroom with the president and VPs of Weight Watchers North America discussing their companies vision. What a random, yet eye opening experience into corporate America that was one which I am glad to have had once, but certainly isn’t me at the core.

I’ve filmed a pilot for a show and learnt to be very patient within an industry that has a lot of talk, and not as much action. I’ve taken radio interviews at midnight in my pyjamas so that I can keep my role as spokesperson with Australian companies, and I’ve sent many emails across the globe at hours that others would prefer be out socialising so that the response time between continents couldn’t be used as a factor for me not getting to help grow the start ups I wanted to support from back home.

Filming one of the scenes!

Filming one of the scenes!

Attending a wellbeing expo one morning - I quite enjoyed the random exercise classes that went for over 2 hours!

Attending a wellbeing expo one morning – I quite enjoyed the random exercise classes that went for over 2 hours!

New York is like a system that you work out how to navigate. If you don’t work it out quick enough you can feel as though you have been chewed up and spat out. It has been interesting having the opportunity to watch those born into this world get shaped in a way so that moving through the motions of what needs to be done to “beat” the system becomes practically second nature to them, with some not even being aware they are behaving in such a manner.

I’ve left this city this time being even clearer on who I am, and who I want around me in all aspects of life. Work colleagues who are not just talk, but equally actionable, a partner that is mature minded, admirable, adventurous, and communicative, friends that are openminded, wordly and supportive, and above all else, I leave proud of myself for not being hardened by the out of my own body experiences I feel as though I have had here as a result of many of the harsher interactions I have faced both personally and professionally.

Some of my incredible friends having a night out at the Eminem and Rihanna Concert.

Some of my incredible friends having a night out at the Eminem and Rihanna Concert.

I proved to myself that from harder times can come strength, and with strength comes self-belief.

I have definitely stayed true to my Travelling Dietitian name and continued to explore the world, venturing throughout Australia, the USA, the Dominican Republic, Israel, and even somehow sneaking in a last minute Mexico trip to round out the year.

Over in Israel visiting my sisters partner who had been called up by the army.

Over in Israel visiting my sisters partner who had been called up by the army.

Cousin and I enjoying a champagne on my last night in Israel.

Cousin and I enjoying a champagne on my last night in Israel.

Amazing food in Israel!

Amazing food in Israel!

As per usual when I return to Australia, I continually receive the question, is it for good this time, or do you have an intended return date to NYC.

I now more than ever believe that you truly don’t know where life will take you, and these questions, for anyone open to running with opportunities, be them professional, romantic, or anything else that makes them feel fulfilled, can’t honestly be answered with any sincerity.

12 months ago, 6 months ago, and even 6 weeks ago, I truly couldn’t have known that just a week ago I was going to be looking out over the most divine ocean from a Mexican villa alongside a fellow entrepreneurial Melbournian with a huge smile on my face…yet somehow that actually became my reality (what can I say, life often feels like a choose your own adventure novel, and when your gut tells you to book a flight for 2 days later to Mexico…I guess you book a flight [or at least I do]! I can happily say it was definitely the right decision…definitely!).

Pinch me, this view was incredible.

Pinch me, this view was incredible.

I want to share some additional thoughts as an Australian who has not only been transplanted to this city like many expats do, but as someone who has really seen the inside workings of this culture.

New York is uplifting, it is brutal, and above all else, it is certainly humbling.

By being surrounded by people so dedicated to their goals, it both shows you that anything is possible, whilst at the same time puts you right back in your place, so much so that it wouldn’t be unheard of for some of the most unique and brightest individuals to second guess themselves and their abilities. I certainly have had to remind myself many times that I am doing okay as a little fish in a huge ocean.

It takes strength of character and a tough mind to push through the downs here, whilst the highs are experienced at another level that simply does not exist in other places.

Some of my wonderful dietitian colleagues at an event thrown by the American Honey Board in NYC.

Some of my wonderful dietitian colleagues at an event thrown by the American Honey Board in NYC.

The city both supports you being comfortable in your own skin by being filled with non-judgemental souls from all walks of life, whilst also reminds you that if you have an opinion, you ought to be able to back it up.

Whenever I step out of NYC I get reminded that the ability to speak your mind without meaning to have a harsh intent towards others with differing perspectives is put to a halt. I get reminded that this really is a unique trait to NYC, a city that accepts that differing opinions doesn’t equal a personal attack, but rather another way of looking at a situation, which ultimately opens your mind to new ways of thinking.

It is filled with people that will provide you with words of encouragement, as well as sometimes a whole lot of fluff to be perfectly honest, however it also reminds you that no-one in responsible for achieving your goals except you, and if you really want to achieve something, it is up to you to find a way to make it happen.

With some of my colleagues that are doing seriously wonderful things! To my left you have the dietitian powerhouse behind the Wonderful Pistachios brand in California, and to my right a new spokesperson for the Academy here!

With some of my colleagues that are doing seriously wonderful things! To my left you have the dietitian powerhouse behind the Wonderful Pistachios brand in California, and to my right a new spokesperson for the Academy here!

The positives and the negatives are both equally here.

The appreciation for the individual can be undervalued more so than anywhere in the world, with the thought process that anyone is replaceable certainly being seen time and time again.

From the other end, I personally have also been able to find the most incredible people in this city. Focused, genuine, sharp, caring, and above all else, reveling in the ambiguity of not knowing what comes next based on not following the protocol of life. The people here are a unique breed that not everyone quite understands, they are the ones in my mind that have dared to dream. I have a lot of respect for those that have ventured out from wherever they are originally from, and whom I have been lucky enough to cross paths with.

One of my gorgeous friends who I sadly had to say goodbye to when she was stolen by Facebook and had to move interstate!

One of my gorgeous friends who I sadly had to say goodbye to when she was stolen by Facebook and had to move interstate!

One of my good friends and colleagues who is all round amazing!

One of my good friends and colleagues who is all round amazing!

When I leave NYC I miss it within minutes, my heart actually sinks a little bit…and when I fly back in and see the incredible city skyline, and all the street signs leading into Manhattan, I feel like the luckiest girl on earth to be fortunate enough to be able to call this place one of my homes.

IMG_8344

I get goosebumps when I think about the potential for there to come a point in my life when NYC becomes a reflection rather than a present chapter.

Maybe I will never hit that point, with people who have been in the city for 20 or more years always telling me that they think I belong in NYC.

I genuinely quite like being half in and half out; It enables one to keep a calm manner and unconsumed headspace that almost always takes over the minds of people who are so entrenched within such a monetary focused society.

On the other hand, if I have weekends like the one I just had back at home in my hometown, Melbourne, there is no way I would feel a pull to be anywhere else (gosh we have it good here!).

Just one of the many gorgeous parts of Melbourne near home.

Just one of the many gorgeous parts of Melbourne near home.

Just one of the many scenic shots of Melbourne (this isn't the CBD, but its very close to the heart of the city).

Just one of the many scenic shots of Melbourne (this isn’t the CBD, but its very close to the heart of the city).

Down at Mt Martha for a weekend away!

Down at Mt Martha for a weekend away!

Out at the night noodle markets on day 2 back home and already having a ball!

Out at the night noodle markets on day 2 back home and already having a ball!

Gorgeous view of Melbourne

Gorgeous view of Melbourne

Melbourne up in lights for Christmas

Melbourne up in lights for Christmas

Seeing my puppy!

Seeing my puppy!

Could it be that the optimist in me who thinks you really can create the life you want and call more than one place home isn’t so far off from reality?

I always say home is where the heart is; and I really mean it. As someone who cherishes relationships as a big part of my underlying happiness, I would like to think that with the right people around, family who support your happiness, friends who appreciate you for the role you play in their lives rather than the time you are present, a partner who seeks an equally adventurous life, and with an acceptance within yourself that not following the protocol really is alright, you genuinely can live a remarkable, fulfilling and “real” life across multiple borders.

My parents reunited in Israel after being apart for about 4 weeks - too cute!

My parents reunited in Israel after being apart for about 4 weeks – too cute!

I was told when I arrived in NYC, you don’t pick New York, New York picks you. You’ll know after a year which outcome was selected.

I’d like to think it is a slightly more two way decision taking place, and to be honest, I think NYC and myself have a rather unique relationship; I don’t think we will ever be over, but we certainly haven’t solidified our feelings with an extreme pull one way or the other either.

I think I’ve come to the conclusion that we work best when I am shared between my two homes, giving both Australia and NYC a bit of loving attention.

Celebrating my grandfathers birthday whilst in Australia earlier this year.

Celebrating my grandfathers birthday whilst in Australia earlier this year.

So as I wrap up and round out this insanely long post, I don’t believe we can ever really say we know what is coming next, but we certainly can go in with an open mind, open heart, positive attitude, and a simple willingness to give things a go, so that at all times we feel “alive”.

People often tell me that New York has an “energy” about it…I think that energy is a reflection of the millions of people in a very densely packed area all feeling “alive”.

It is for this reason, I have no doubt I will continue to be drawn to this great city.

NYC

NYC

So I conclude by leaving you with this question to ponder…

When was the last time you felt truly alive?

Australia, I am so excited to be joining you and be back on my home soil! Virtual and old friends please don’t be shy to reach out to meet up, I would love to get to know you in todays world as well as you are getting to know me!

NYC, thank you for the out of body experiences you have provided me over the past few years, I truly wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for you. I am going to miss both you the city, and all the people that are close to my heart here more than you can imagine. I have no doubt you will see me at some point again in 2015.

Until next time,

TD x

About The Author

Kara Landau aka "Travelling Dietitian" is an Australian Accredited Practicing Dietitian based in Sydney, Australia. She is a world explorer, healthy foodie, social butterfly, barre and HIIT class lover. When she isn't trying new cuisines, researching new product innovations in the health food space, or speaking to the media on behalf of her food industry clients, she can be found quietly conjuring up her next idea on how to make this world a healthier and better place.