I flew over New York City in a helicopter.
I’d like to say it was because Michael Bloomberg owed me a favour after I rescued his dog from being run over by a truck in Brooklyn, but it was actually just because I was so good at not spending my student loan on anything other than $0.36 Kraft macaroni and cheese dinners that I had $200 to spare. And YOLO, right? RIGHT?
I nearly missed out though and because I’m English I will take great joy in blaming the weather. Buggering curmudgeons it was, rain and wind and all manner of weathering nasties.
I left Charlotte, North Carolina on Thursday evening, after my last class for the week. My housemate dropped me off at a now-abandoned KFC restaurant (probably the only fast food restaurant in America to ever go out of business) and I waited for the Chinese Express bus to Manhattan. It was cheaper than the Greyhound or the train, but I did have to deal with sitting next to a twitchy, snoring Chinese guy for 13 hours.
The next day it was raining and generally miserable. It reminded me of home. My helicopter tour was postponed and I was told to come back first thing in the morning to see if I could get a place on another tour. So I did, and after a lot of bureaucracy and admin and general waiting around, I found myself sitting next to the pilot in the front of a helicopter about to fly over New York City. I hadn’t been so excited since I ate my first Twinkie.
Myself and the four other tourists in back were given headsets connected to a main console. In a move that was both incredibly cheesy yet too cool for words, “Come Fly With Me” by Frank Sinatra played in our ears as we took off. “Come fly with me, let’s fly, let’s fly away,” are the first lyrics for anyone who doesn’t know that classic. I grinned to myself as I watched the ground disappear from underneath the glass at my feet.
Somebody told me once that you never regret the money you spend when you travel; I’m inclined to agree. I paid $200 for the helicopter tour which lasted 12 minutes.
Could I have spent that money on something more useful? Sure. Do I wish I had spent that money on something more useful? Hell no. I flew over New York City in a helicopter. How many people can say that?