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LaBrandon Dates


3 Things This Southern Gent Learned From Traveling to New York

2017 / NYC / Self-Portrait 

2017 / NYC / Self-Portrait 

I came across pictures from my first trip to New York during a recent attempt to organize my photography. An Alabama native, my first introduction to the city was in August 2010. I came on the arm of my best friend who'd moved there for work after undergrad. 

August 2010 / Times Square w/my best friend Keithroy

August 2010 / Times Square w/my best friend Keithroy

Since that trip, I've made my way back to the big apple every year for a variety of reasons - friends, work, events, family vacation, etc. - and have have learned so much about the world and about myself. Eight years later, here are my top three takeaways: 

Do your thing and stop worrying about opinions.

  • In the South, one learns to behave and exist in a certain way - what's socially proper, what's expected and acceptable. None of that shit matters in New York.
  • With almost 9 million people, there is no one way to move through life and with so much variety, differences have become normal. No one really cares about what you're wearing or really what you're doing. The lack of judgement was liberating and taught me how to be an independent thinker regardless of what others may think *or say*. 

Magic happens in New York, but I don't want to live there (right now). 

  • I just figured this out. Like two weeks ago. I recently changed jobs, and now have the flexibility to move. New York was one of the cities that I had been thinking about, because many of my best memories have happened in the city. Oh, the stories I could tell! 
  • New York City is where the action is - it's the heartbeat of culture! It's also very expensive, lol. When I was in town a few weeks ago for fashion week, I decided to take the train more than I normally do when in town, and stepped into a car that had no air. I didn't feel like changing cars, and in the six stops to my destination it clicked.
  • I thought about the countless cost of living complaints from friends and people that I've encountered in the city. Until I get a major salary increase or marry into money, I couldn't maintain my current lifestyle in NYC.

Don't stop dreaming. Don't stop believing. 

  • If you need some inspiration to work harder, go to New York. The hustle is real. Many people are chasing their dreams, money and power. That energy is tangible and inspiring.
  • Many of these people are sacrificing - roommates, working multiple jobs, etc. - to pursue their dreams. I've had some of my most productive work days in co-working spaces in the city. I've dreamed some of my biggest dreams walking the streets high off the energy of New York. 

I think Miuccia Prada summed it up best: 

One’s life and passion may be elsewhere, but New York is where you prove if what you think in theory makes sense in life.
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