Dr. Christina Greer (115266)
Dr. Christina Greer

I recently left New York City for a few days and was reminded that sometimes we have to leave the place we love for a short spell in order to remember how much we love it. For those of us who live in cities, we can get bogged down with commuting, the constant barrage of people, the noise, and the never-ending movement. Sometimes, it is imperative we leave for a short time to remember why we have chosen to live in expensive cities—sometimes literally on top of one another.

I recognize everyone may not be able to hop on a flight and escape the city. Some folks may not have the time or resources to jump on a train and head out of town. However, I find that sometimes just spending the day in a different part of my own city makes me feel lightyears away. I realized it’s been months since I took a ferry ride to Staten Island and back. I didn’t even get off the boat, but feeling the saltwater in my face and being on the water helped my blood pressure immensely. It was far from a Caribbean cruise, but for those of us who like to be on the open water, that short time on a “boat” made me temporarily forget about the hustle and bustle of Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Traveling during COVID has filled some of my friends and family with significant anxiety and they are not comfortable being on an airplane, train, subway, bus, or even an Uber. If that is the case, I would suggest scheduling long walks to explore different parts of your own neighborhood. These past two years have been a lot, for all of us. We are living in the midst of a global pandemic, we must remind ourselves of that constantly. We are doing our best. We are surviving. We are trying to be conscious about thriving. But the fact remains, we are in the midst of a global public health crisis, and we are continuing to work, learn, laugh, grieve, and stay healthy. To quote my students, “Issa a lot!”

It is my sincere hope that wherever you are and however you have been managing and/or coping through this pandemic, you will find time for a respite. Whether you hop on a plane and dust off your passport, jump on a train or bus and travel to a nearby state, or stroll through a different part of your city, I hope you discover a new place to reinvigorate you and unlock a new sense of wonder and excitement during this surreal time. We can explore within our comfort levels and within our respective budgets. Let us not lose our sense of wonder and excitement and exploration.

Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream,” and the co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC.

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