10 Reasons Having No Cell Phone Doesn’t Suck

Having no cell phone is annoying anywhere but in New York City it seems nearly impossible.  Since the smart phone has gone from a privilege to the standard, we cannot function without it.  We use our phones to plan, record, and run every aspect of our lives. From finding the nearest subway station, to returning our parent’s phone calls via text, life before the smart phone seems unimaginable.

Due to unfortunate circumstances, my iPhone, aka my appendage is gone and I am phoneless until otherwise noted.  I am forced back into caveman days of making and keeping plans, showing up on time, reading actual maps and corresponding via email.  Throw New York City into the mix and I’ve presented myself with quite the challenge.

Since my arrival in New York City about 10 months ago, I’ve been smart phoneless and phoneless altogether. I believe it can not only be done, but also, enjoyable.

Here are 10 reasons why I think going phoneless doesn’t suck:

 

  1. You don’t have all your social networking sites at your fingertips. This means, less time wasted on Facebook and more face-to-face time with those physically around you.
  2. You are forced to make plans ahead of time and actually keep them. No bailing last minute on Happy Hour with friends because you don’t feel like taking the train from Brooklyn all the way back into Manhattan.
  3. Your spelling will improve. You’ll no longer be able to blame your nonsense emails on your iPhone and autocorrect.
  4. Perhaps you’ll read a book on the subway instead of playing Angry Birds. Don’t worry; I don’t see these birds going away anytime soon.
  5. You may learn how to read a map! I know HopStop usually plans out your every move but when in need, a good map can also be your friend.
  6. You’ll enjoy a meal with friends. Nothing is more annoying then sitting at table where everyone is checking their phones the entire time.
  7. It’s all about you. It’s a nice break to be out of touch for a while. You can contact others yet you’re unreachable.
  8. You will find out who really wants to get a hold of you. When you have no phone and someone gets in touch, they’re either a great friend or a stalker.
  9. The Internet can wait until you get home. When you’re out for the day, be out.  I understand you need to know what the little kid from Jerry McGuire ‘s real name is but if it’s that important (Jonathon Lipnicki), you’ll remember to look it up when you get to a computer.
  10.   It feels like you’re traveling.  Untying yourself from your network for a while helps you explore a little more, appreciate your surroundings and gives you a healthy sense of being alone.

 

 

 

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My moment with Philip Seymour Hoffman

When moving to NYC I put little thought into the “celebrities” I would encounter. Celebrity sightings have never really been my thing and not because I’m from California and we all live next door to them and ride surf boards to work. It’s just, every famous person I’ve ever encountered is always smaller than imagined and usually, pretty normal.

Working at a posh hotel in downtown San Diego, I encountered a few. Tommy Lee is just as big of a mess in person as you’d think and the members of LMFAO are just as obnoxious as their songs. I can say that LL Cool J is really a cool guy, such a smoothie, and all around, nice person. Ladies do love Cool James.

All that aside, I didn’t put much thought into the celebs that would be hanging in the West Village and stopping in for food at my new place of employment, Corsino. This Italian wine bar and cantina usually attracts gay men, dining ladies, and entitled foreigners who take their own seat on the patio and don’t tip.

A couple of Sundays ago, Corsino got a little celebrity love when the legend Philip Seymour Hoffman walked through the door and waited like every other normal human for a table on the patio. He was with his family: a normal looking, attractive, wife who has the look of a good mom and three ginger kids, one of which is a clone of Philip himself.

This is a celebrity encounter that is really worth appreciating. If someone is that amazing of an actor, he gains my instant respect. The moment I knew of Philip’s presence I let out more than a few fist pumps and whispered my excitement, “BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR EVER!”

I was definitely the most excited about our celebrity guest and although I did not serve him, I sure as hell was around to assist in whatever his table needed. Getting his clone ginger son some crayons, bussing his table, doing all the non-verbal check ins a good server does to watch over a guest’s dining experience without disturbing. I was around and then… he spoke.

“Can I get a double shot of espresso with a glass of ice on the side, a panna cotta for my wife and two scoops of vanilla gelato for the kids?”

Not exactly the cool first words one would want to hear upon meeting Philip but hey, I was his waitress.

After delivering the desert and giving them a minute I went back to check in on the kid’s progress with their gelato. I asked the kids if they were enjoying the gelato as they scarfed it down and of course, ignored me.

“That’s alright, ignore me, I know you’re busy, I understand.” I jokingly remarked as I refilled Philip’s water and he actually laughed. Not a fake little “Ha” you usually give cheesy servers when they make awkward jokes at your table, but an actual laugh that carried on for a few seconds.

I was on top of the world. Ecstatic.I made Philip Seymour Hoffman laugh. The legend himself. Maybe it was a stupid joke over some vanilla gelato but it was a stupid joke that Philip thought was funny.

Maybe next time Philip dines at Corsino we’ll get into a heated discussion about what the hell is wrong with politics in this country while I serve him the Cavatelli but for now I’ll settle gelato talk.

Sex and the City? Where?

New York City is a beast of a city. The tiny island of Manhattan is the playground for those who enjoy the chaos of this fast paced, culturally diverse, and beautifully dirty, concrete jungle. The in-your-face, constant movement is appealing and stimulating. The city seems to have ADD and refuses to take Adderall.

Beautiful parks, diverse neighborhoods, museums, shopping, and thousands of things to do; NYC is not lacking in personality.  What it is lacking in is… umm, maybe I should ask Carrie Bradshaw. Where are all the men? Did Carrie and the other ladies of “Sex and the City” successfully sleep with and date all the men in Manhattan?

Let me be specific. NYC is not lacking in the gay, taken, douchey, or creepy foreigner, man department. Where are all the single, straight, normal, men? Brooklyn? I dont get it.  Who are the women in Manhattan dating and where are they meeting them?

I know it cannot be at the bars.  My encounters with men at the bars have been as follows: a pushy foreigner  who took my phone, called his, and has had a constant one-way, texting relationship with himself for the past two weeks. No answer means I’m not interested, that is not a cultural difference. Another encounter last night with a guy led me to actually apologize in advance for using a cheesy clique. “You’re barking up the wrong tree buddy”. His persistence continued so I actually had to say, “I’d rather drink alone.” My favorite of all happened last week:

guy: “Hey do you know how to play chess?”

me: “Umm, I use to play on the computer about 10 years ago, I’d need a refresher though.”

guy: “Conversation over”

Dang, there goes that. He could have been the one.

Do people meet on subways? Everyone looks miserable on the subways but that doesn’t stop people from constantly sizing one another up. Ipod in, miserable face on, eyes open, check. The best is when eye contact is made with someone while either party is doing the scoping. It’s like a silent “Oh Haaaaay”. Do people ever pursue or do they watch their soul mate walk off the train at W 4th?

When polling the ladies of New York on where they meet men I’ve had a few different answers and non of them have been very exciting. “Through friends, online, through work,” or “not in Manhattan.”

Hmm… interesting. It seems the ladies of ‘Sex and the City’ were spinning lies.

So I moved to NYC last weekend…

Two weeks ago I was crying in a barrel of powder at work. It was one of those weeks. My cat died, I was living at home (no offense mom) my face was breaking out and I was temping in the Quality Control department of Muscle Milk (I was working in a factory and I had to wear a hairnet, A HAIRNET).  Basically my life was one huge #whitegirlproblem.  A change needed to be made so I booked a flight to NYC and made some loose and very vague plans.

I enlisted the help of a friend who insisted that if I made some moves, things would work out. Mallary promised a spot to sleep in her Chinatown apartment, possibly a job and more importantly a Summer of fun and NYC discovery. All these promises were confirmed via text message because Mallary has been busy opening a restaurant. Written word and smiley emoticon is all I need. Sold. Flight booked and here I am.

The living situation in Mallary’s Chinatown sweatbox goes as follows: Mallary and I sharing her room/bed, Mallary’s roommate Mary in her own room and add ons Drew and Caitlin on an air mattress in the kitchen. Add 98% humidity and you have one sweaty, fun, hostel, in the middle of China.

standing in the kitchen/ Drew and Caitlin's bedroom 🙂

Mallary's room/its the size of a closet/ is a closet/ the place I sleep too

Waking up to Asian’s spitting and cursing at each other over parking, has become my favorite alarm clock.  Mallary put it  best, “Strangely comforting.”

Chinatown hostel above a dumpling restaurant

The past couple days have been a whirlwind of “WTF am I doing? I feel so alive! This is amazing!” and “Oooh, whats that?” Mallary forgets I’m in straight tourist mode as I continue to bring my camera on our runs….  Of course I need a picture of Jay Z’s house across the water in Brooklyn, and who cares if I have to use extra zoom on my camera to get the Statue of Liberty, I’m in NYC!

Jay Z's pad... That's an automatic song change: "Empire State of Mind"

Statue of Liberty. There it is!

I’ve jumped into the city headfirst, as usual. Since my friends who live here actually have lives, I’ve done most exploring on my own. Learning the subway, exploring the distinct neighborhoods and of course, learning my way around has kept me busy.

heading out to explore

I’ve even managed to score a serving job at an Italian Cantina in West Village. Asssssssssa! Back into the industry and hopefully back into the tip money it brings. Not bad for 4 days in the big, bad, city.

NYC may turn into the sweaty, summer romance I’ve always dreamed of…

Sunset my first night in NYC , on my way to meet the fabulous New Yorker, Rachel Klein

The Isla Palenque Island intern: why I am the right choice

My dream job is in sight and I can almost grab it. I usually just fantasize about getting paid to  travel, write, and share my experiences with the world. Amble Resorts has created an internship that I cannot stop thinking about. The Resort at Isla Palenque will be hiring one person or duo to live on the island in Panama this summer, experience all the amazing things the island has to offer and write blogs about it. Umm, hello? PERFECT!

http://www.islapalenque.com/island-intern

The only way this opportunity would be any better is if they’d hire me to do this permanently. My last gig consisted of me living on an island in South Korea. I love the island life and I think Isla Palenque will be a bit warmer.

All those competing for the internship are required to create a video on why they should become Isla Palenque’s island intern, post it to youtube and promote yourself to gain votes and views.

10 finalists will be selected on April 12:

1 based on youtube views

4 with the most votes on Isla Palenque’s website

5 will be hand picked by a panel of experts: http://bit.ly/gipKMM

The second phase of the contest consists of a skype interview and a writing assignment (Deadline April 25). This is where I plan to dazzle my interviewers with my shining personality and writing ability.

I am competing with around 100 amazingly talented  and eager people. For those of you have been watching the contest, I think we can all agree that there are more than a dozen solid choices.  Let me tell you why I stand out among the rest:

Experience in the Hotel world

I am lucky enough to have been part of Se San Diego’s opening team 2 years ago. http://www.sesandiego.com/ I was in there months before the opening walking around the property in my hard hat and beginning to understand all the work that goes into opening a luxury hotel. I was 5 star service trained and as part of the front desk team, I conducted tours of the entire hotel. As a Se Experience Consultant I was your first impression of Se San Diego. I will be a perfect ambassador for Amble Resorts and will easily guide clientele with poise and a sense of humor.

Here I am with my fellow Se Experience Consultants

Se San Diego lobby

A huge global network

My youtube video is being viewed all over the world. Through my independent travels I have collected a wide, diverse, network. Views have flooded in from: U.S.A, South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland, France, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Thailand, Philippines, India, Argentina, Ecuador,  Canada, and South Africa. I have the tools and network to expand Amble Resort’s audience.

Networking with students in Delhi, India

I have already learned so much

Since my journey to become Isla Palenque’s island intern has begun, I have been introduced to some really amazing people with a great messages worth sharing.  I have always been a huge promoter of eco-tourism but haven’t shared my message with the world the way I should.  I have always been involved with non profits that benefit people. Through my work with The International Rescue Committee (IRC) http://bit.ly/f9fjWy and The Aja Project: http://ajaproject.org/, I have connected with Refugees from all over the world. Working with people is amazing but I now know I need to expand my work and focus on saving the earth we all live on. The Experts judging the contestants all have great messages to share and in my attempt to network, I have learned a lot about what I can do to promote eco-tourism and create awareness. I have also stepped up my social networking game, expanded my knowledge, and am learning better marketing strategies every day.

Aja Project student art show 2008

The passion

I eat, drink, and sleep this internship. I am online all day, everyday, promoting myself, and learning how I can better promote travel,and sustainability. I may not have 3,000 views or 3,000 votes but my network is real people from all over the world. I have made my social presence  known via Twitter, Facebook, and even got a shout out from my online travel writing school MatadorU:http://matadornetwork.com/radar/u-student-amanda-throckmorton-competing-for-isla-palenques-intern-contest/

I have attended a “Leave no Trace” workshop: http://www.lnt.org/ to gain ideas on how to promote outdoor ethics and teach the world to cut down on our carbon footprint.

I want to use this internship to promote a company in which I admire and want to see succeed. I have experienced  firsthand how hard it is to open a Hotel in today’s economy and I want to help Amble Resorts. I have bright ideas for eco-friendly activities and just need the opportunity to share them.

This internship will provide me with the tools to promote myself as a travel writer, eco-tourism advocate, and independent woman traveler.

Check me out and click the “thumbs up” to vote: http://bit.ly/endllT

Check out Isla Palenque: http://www.islapalenque.com/

My day as a Narc aka the Green card Angel

As part of my “exploring different life options” thing, aka unemployed, and searching for anyone who will pay me; I have signed up for 2 different temp agencies in my area.  After a long process of tests, questions, interviews and waiting, yesterday I took my first assignment. An assignment my recruiter Chris described as “a day job that will be kinda fun”.

Yippee! I thought as I returned Chris’ call. I was picturing myself running around in a flowery field while a photographer was taking pictures to use for an up-and-coming magazine spread on “The World’s Most Interesting People”.

That was not the assignment.  The assignment was to drive around to “select businesses” and try to buy tobacco products to see if they’d card me. If the teller asked for I.D, I’d give them a green card. If the teller did not ask, I’d hand them a red card. So basically I was paid to Narc.

I watched a 12 minute training video on how to properly execute this. I was not allowed to say “Ha ha, got you!” when handing out a red card. Like I would anyways, my first 5 stores were in Vallejo.

I was given a list of stores, a route, and a log sheet.  I would go up to the register, ask for a specific brand of cigarettes and depending on the cashier’s response, I’d hand them a green or red card instead of my ID or cash. If the cashier received the green card I’d ask for their name to record on the log sheet. I’d also record the time I was at each location. Simple enough.

 

Log sheet and green/red cards

 

Being a little pessimistic about the assignment I dressed myself in a dress with a bow in my hair, trying to look as underage as possible.  I did not want to get shot because an unstable 7-11 cashier didn’t appreciate their red card.

I was obviously a little nervous at my first store. Luckily, I look 17 years old. After cashier Maribel asked for ID, I handed her a green card instead. She lit up with excitement! This is when I knew 7-11 must have some incentive for these cashiers receiving green cards.

By store 10 I was in my groove. While I do say that handing out green cards to all the multicultural 7-11 employees did feel a bit odd, I was beginning to feel less like a Narc and more like the 7-11 Angel.

“Great job Rakesh!, Congratulations Cheryl!”  I’d sing their praise and glide out the door, before they had the opportunity to thank me. Sometimes I’d shoot them a little wink and a smile.

By hour 4, the enthusiasm faded and I was ready to be done with this “kinda fun” assignment.  I had driven a full circle- Fairfield to Vallejo to Benicia to Vacaville to Suisun and back to Fairfield. I was exhausted and bored.

I wanted to hand out a red card, just to see what would happen. The danger of it intrigued me. The opportunity never presented itself and by hour 5, I finished. 24 stores and 24 green cards. Really? My day as a Narc started out dangerous and ended as tedious and boring.  I think I’ll retire.

 

Happy Birthday LADY GAGA and me…

Lady Gaga and I have the same birthday; same day, same year. Same, same. Ellen DeGeneres broke the news to me on Friday, via Twitter. Apparently, she’ll be baking a cake for Gaga’s 25th.

As I type in the computer room of my parent’s house on an ironing board I’ve converted into a desk, I can’t help but compare Lady Gaga and I. (obviously)

Here we are, Gaga and I, both turning twenty-five. Quarter of a century.Gaga has a couple of Grammys, a few hit albums, some catchy songs and millions of  fans.  I mean, she’s Lady Gaga. She can crawl out of an egg, douse herself in blood, rock meat dresses and people will still buy her albums. She’s an artist. She’ll  be celebrating her big two-five at the Staples Center in LA.

I will be turning twenty-five unemployed and living with my parents. Things could be worse, I could be turning thirty, unemployed, living with my parents.

Comparing myself with Gaga is silly, I know. She was born with talent and I was born, well, I was born this way 😉

Being born this way has had its benefits. I’ve done some traveling, exploring and have connected with people all around the world. While my birthday twin Gaga is connecting with millions of people through music, I’ve made bonds with hundreds, personally.

Lady Gaga with fans in Japan

A few of my "fans" in India

Gaga has millions of fans who know her music and I have around 700 Facebook friends who know me.

Gaga sings on National Television while I sing to 10 friends in a Karaoke bar in South Korea. You can have the world stage Gaga, they’re not ready for this rocks in a blender voice.

Lady Gags on American Idol

Singing to my boss in my America sweatshirt

I will be able to travel, inspire, and explore different cultures in a way that Gaga will never be able to. She will never have the luxury of living her life as a normal person, only a superstar. (poor Gaga)

So Happy Birthday to Lady Gaga and myself. While she will be celebrating with thousands of people, publicly, I’ll be celebrating by personally “liking” all my Facebook birthday comments.

Here's to 25 years young!