The first time I visited New York, I was a high school freshman traveling with my parents. I had day-dreamed about going to the city, falling in love with the hustle of millions of different people; the visions included me living in the middle of it. Granted, those visions weren't specific to what type of work I would be doing or exactly where I would live, but I can assure you, it was fantastic and high heels were involved.
My dad grew up in New Jersey and my mom had lived and breathed musical theater her whole life, so when we decided to take that first trip to New York we created a specific agenda: the New York Yankees and Broadway shows.
We successfully accomplished our list and more. We had dinners at late hours of the night, took pictures with George Clooney at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, and took the ferry to Ellis Island. And the Yankees beat the Red Sox.
This little family outing turned into a tradition every Memorial Day weekend. One trip, we saw a taping of Late Night with Conan O'Brien (Cynthia Nixon was one of the guests!), and on another trip we took a tour of CNN. And we always took in as many Broadway shows as possible.
So when the opportunity to travel to New York for UNP came about, I said, “Yes, of course I will go!” And then I found out I would be going alone. I was still excited, but with a thousand jolts of nervous energy. Not only would I be meeting with the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, but I was going to pitch our whole forthcoming season of books! Could I find my way around the city by myself and be prepared for publicity meetings?
Of course I could. It would be a ton of work and preparation but I had been to New York before. Sure, the trip would be different than my family adventures, but it was still New York.
My first trip had a lot of firsts: traveling to the East coast, seeing a Broadway show, cheering on the Yankees, riding the subway, and eating ridiculously tall pieces of cheesecake. But my second trip had just as many firsts: traveling for work, pitching a multitude of books to national media, going out for dinner solo, occasionally getting lost on Fifth Avenue...
Since my second first time, I have been to New York for a few more publicity meetings and every time it's the same city, filled with even more opportunities for first experiences. But the latest first occurred outside of NYC. This past December, UNP added Washington, D.C., media to the list. Pitching UNP titles to the Beltway media? Another first. And yet, by now, those nerves have all gone and I can’t wait to visit another new city.
Maybe I could convince my manager that UNP needed to meet with the media in England.