I was off for the Holidays and about to spend my day eating junk food and watching Netflix. A day that would never exist in my memory again.
I got a bagel, a macaroni salad and a coffee, and decided to eat it at the park next to my Brooklyn Apartment. It was beautiful outside. Screw it, I’ll make this day count.
I’ll walk to Manhattan. I was ready to waste the day, now it will be a journey I’ll always remember. It would be a 15 mile trek from the Southern end of Brooklyn to the City.
I finisahed my macaroni salad, took a picture of the view, and embarked on my adventure.
The first few miles felt amazing. I loaded up my headphones with Tim Ferris podcasts, stopped for a cup of 7/11 coffee on the way and got into the zone.
Like the best quests in life, you’re never quite prepared for them. Harry Potter didn’t expect to go to Hogwarts on his tenth birthday. Frodo didn’t prepare for his journey with the Ring. And I didn’t wear the right shoes for the walk.
The sneakers were not broken in, and somewhere around the third mile (Borough Park) I started to feel it. But that wasn’t gonna stop me, not a little foot pain.
It was Christmas day, and the city felt abandoned. As I marched North, I walked past old bus depots, industrial complexes, and a large graveyard. I felt like I was walking through a forgotten city. With all the gentrification and hipster invasions, at points I felt like I was in old Brooklyn for the first time in years.
Excitement, nostalgia, and pain. My foot was getting worse. Each step now shooting pain into my knee.
I was approaching Barclay’s Center and stopped to rest my foot and get some lunch. After lunch, I re-laced my shoe, and thought I was ready to go. Within half a block the pain came back, but I was halfway there. Too hardheaded to stop, even as it began to hurt more.
My podcasts were playing, but I wasn’t hearing them anymore. My mind could only focus on the pain of each step. I told myself that at the end of this journey was a warm Epsom Salt bath. That at the end of it all was a warm bed and hot cup of tea. It was a fight between pain and ambition.
It was dark now, five hours in, and I was almost at the end of Brooklyn. The plan was to cross the Manhattan Bridge, but once there I couldn’t find the pedestrian entrance. In looking for it, I somehow wound up at the Brooklyn Bridge entrance. It was tourist hell.
The pain turned to agony. But there was no stopping as I slowly moved through the huddled masses of tourists. Somehow I made it across. I sat down by City Hall to regroup. I was ten miles in, only 4 more to go. I had a warm bath and a bed waiting for me, I couldn’t stop.
Each step was a bright flash of pain. I slowly limped another mile, my brain in total shut down.
Finally, on East 4th Street, I couldn’t walk another step. I tapped out at just under 12 miles. Even though I didn’t make it to my destination, I knew that it was a day I wouldn’t soon forget.
It wasn’t a grand adventure, but it was my reminder that I don’t need an outside calling to make a day special, or a moment have meaning. It was a choice.
Afterword – my leg was in rough shape and I couldn’t walk for a few days after. But the Epsom Salt bath felt amazing. And when I finally did get in bed to rest and drink tea, it was with immense happiness and gratitude.