In a world on lockdown, travel and holidays can only exist in our minds; so where would you go if you could be anywhere?

“20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” - Mark Twain

Every year, millions of people from across the world set off on their trip of a lifetime, jetting here, there, and everywhere in search of the perfect photogenic spot. With the world practically on a shutdown and doubts occupying the near future, travel and holidays seem like a distant memory. We are left only to dream. Whether it is island hopping, seeking that sand, sea, sun lifestyle, or feeling the magic and reliving that childhood sense of imagination in Disneyland, or being wild and free on safari, everyone has that wish-listed destination for when money is no object.

Life nowadays is a never-ending circle of trying and quite often failing to find that perfect balance between hectic work and relaxation, many use holidays as a coping mechanism to escape from the daily trials and tribulations and find peace again. In this instance, a city is usually one of the last places they would want to find themselves, surrounded by constant reminders of the thing they are so desperate to leave at home. Whilst I would never turn down the opportunity to spend a week lying on a beach and swimming in the sea on an island in the Caribbean, my bucket-list of dream holiday destinations has always consisted of some of the largest cities across the world. That said, for someone who is desperately seeking a taste of the big city life, there is only truly one place on Earth to live that dream in and it’s so good they named it twice.

Picture this: luminescent skyscrapers, flashing billboards, yellow taxis, modern art. New York City is the dream of so many urban wanderers. The list of opportunities for exploring in a city that never sleeps is endless. After all, it is the “concrete jungle where dreams are made of.” 

I think it’s very fair to say that a trip to New York City would never be complete without a visit to three of the most famous attractions and landmarks in the world:

1. The home of Broadway, the Theatre District; entertainment; the bright lights; the hustle and bustle of people and dreams floating in the air: Times Square. Imagine standing late at night under the brightly coloured billboards, the glow lighting up the street and the sky, and creating photos and unforgettable memories full of excitement and happiness.

2. Arguably the most famous statue in the whole entire world, the Statue of Liberty in all her glory, poised on Liberty Island in New York Harbour. The ferry to the island itself would be incredible, with magnificent views of the iconic skyline and the chance to truly appreciate the towering skyscrapers. When I think of Lady Liberty and her torch, my mind always goes to one of my favourite movies: Miss Congeniality. She’s beauty and she’s grace. 

3. Standing at 443.2 metres tall, the Empire State Building is certainly the most iconic skyscraper and stands out from the rest. The location of thousands of famous TV shows and films, including one of the most heart-breaking scenes in teen television, the season three finale of Gossip Girl. The true dream would be to chase the sunset over the city from the top of the Empire State Building.

However, the bucket list doesn’t stop there, and the dream continues. I want to take a walk through Central Park, the ultimate urban park surrounded by beautiful buildings that put Kelvingrove to shame as a city park. I want to sit on the steps on the Met and visit the Upper East Side, further living the Gossip Girl fantasy. I want to wander down Bedford Street and gaze up at the façade of Monica Geller’s apartment block and take a photo singing I’ll Be There for You by The Rembrandts. If money definitely was not a question, then the bank can be broken down on Fifth Avenue in shops such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Tiffany & Co. 

My absolute dream would be to see the Big Apple at Christmas time in the snow. There is just something about seeing everything lightly dusted in icing sugar that is extra special, and a white New York would be magical. In all honesty, I think it is the thousands of sparkling lights of the Rockefeller Centre Christmas tree combined with the open-air ice rinks dotted all over the city. The tree has been illuminating the city since 1931, with the ice-skating rink below opening in 1936.

Other honourable mentions for destinations on my dream holiday list include Sydney; I would love to see Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Opera House, and of course, the weather would be a big bonus. Keeping to the Australian theme, when I was nine, I did a solo talk in primary school on the Great Barrier Reef. The hundreds of species of coral and fish is simply mind-blowing and diving there would be an unforgettable experience. Next year, I hope to spend a compulsory year abroad as part of my degree, with the goal to hopefully travel around the cities of Europe and live the dream. 

Whilst the goal is to be able to travel the world and truly explore anywhere and everywhere, my heart and dreams lie in one of the biggest and brightest cities on this planet.


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