New York City 2003

Collection of people

In the early 2000s, I was living in Manhattan’s Gramercy neighborhood. Life was good. I had successfully transitioned from being a hungry (but not starving) artist to being a freelance communications consultant and trainer. My client list was filled with recognizable household names, and my client base was growing. After 9/11, however, everything changed.

Companies had stopped spending money on training prior to Y2K. When 1999 passed without a computer catastrophe, companies started hiring full-time web teams. Almost all at once, several large clients pulled the rug out from under me, and I ended up struggling to make ends meet.

Last few days in my NYC apartment.

A friend advised, “Just do anything to stay in the city. That’s what I do.”

It was fair advice. However — from my perspective — the suggestion came from a person who was a terribly unfulfilled alcoholic. Still, I had a choice to make: take any job to stay in NYC, or sell everything and travel.

I wanted to travel more than I wanted to be a New York City resident, but my idea of becoming a traveling storyteller seemed pretty far out. There was no such thing as Patreon or AirBnB back then. The #Vanlife hashtag didn’t exist yet, because there was no Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

Unable to make a decision, I conducted a poll on nyc.craigslist.org over a weekend (strangers are very frank) and asked should I stay or go?

View the poll results, and check out stuff I sold.