Our trip to Chicago + New York | Part II

Last week we wrote about our trip to Chicago last November and the impact it had on our business. From Chicago, we went on to New York for a week. There, we started to realize what a comfortable life we were living in Dallas.

A view of Manhattan from across the bridge in New Jersey.

A view of Manhattan from across the bridge in New Jersey.

To save money while we were in Chicago, we decided not to rent a car. We took public transportation and walked everywhere so we had to be much more intentional about making plans. We could also afford to go on to New York City from Chicago because we stayed with a friend who had a small studio apartment in New Jersey. He generously let us sleep in his bed while he slept in a sleeping bag on the floor. It was quite cramped having three people in one 500 square foot apartment! Again, we also walked everywhere in the city, but we were grateful to be there.

On our first night visiting, he took us out to see Times Square all lit up at night.

On our first night visiting, he took us out to see Times Square all lit up at night.

He also treated us to a delicious meal at Yaktori Totto.

He also treated us to a delicious meal at Yaktori Totto.

During this trip, I realized that I had wanted everything in my life to be easy. Sharing one car like Sojung and I do is not necessarily easy, but we have one - we don’t have to walk to the grocery store if we don’t want to. (Although, we do sometimes.) We were also living in a nicer apartment with a washer and dryer so we didn’t have to go to a laundromat. 

Walking and taking public transit everywhere is hard but it has become our preferred way of traveling in big cities because it helps us get to know a new city really well so much more quickly than if we were driving around with GPS. 

Walking and taking public transit everywhere is hard but it has become our preferred way of traveling in big cities because it helps us get to know a new city really well so much more quickly than if we were driving around with GPS. 

One of our first stops in the city was Russ & Daughters Cafe for bagels and lox. It did not disappoint! This was definitely Sojung's favorite place.

One of our first stops in the city was Russ & Daughters Cafe for bagels and lox. It did not disappoint! This was definitely Sojung's favorite place.

With our business, I wanted things to be easy but the reality was not. I was taking my work and God's provision for granted so I was unhappy with the work I did have. It was never "cool" enough or it never paid enough. On top of that, it was a struggle for Sojung and I to be married and work together all day everyday. We were having a lot of conflict and weren’t communicating well. 

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I am learning to love imperfect images like this one. We had so much fun just trying to get this photo to work and the memory of it still makes me chuckle.

I am learning to love imperfect images like this one. We had so much fun just trying to get this photo to work and the memory of it still makes me chuckle.

Chicago and New York was the beginning of a "re-start" for us. Being away from home helped us talk about and process our challenges and frustrations with each other. We started getting along better simply because we were finally listening to each other. We were both inspired and encouraged to go back to working together, grateful for the unique opportunity we have as a married couple owning and running a business as one. 

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We also realized that we shouldn’t put off traveling because of time or money. This trip was so refreshing for us and it was just what we needed. Before we left for Chicago, we didn’t feel that we had enough money to justify going but we felt like we had to go no matter what. We left Dallas not having any work lined up, but we began to receive inquiries about photoshoots while we were at the Storyline Conference. By the time we were back home, we had several jobs lined up that kept us busy for the next several weeks.

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Walking around Soho.

Walking around Soho.

Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal

Our time in Chicago and New York taught us to value travel and spending money on experiences instead of things (like our trip to Colorado last month). We had been taking our flexibility as freelancers for granted. We also realized that we lived a life that was almost too comfortable in Dallas. So in order to budget more money for travel and simplify our life and finances, we moved to another apartment that didn’t have central heating, A/C, nor a washer-dryer in the unit. 

Sojung and I still have days that are difficult to work together and we certainly don't have everything figured out. But it's amazing to see how different our lives are right now because we made intentional changes to our lifestyle last year when we got home from New York. We are so grateful for this trip because it was the catalyst that renewed our faith in each other, in God, and in ourselves.

A selfie on The High Line.

A selfie on The High Line.

All photos were taken with a Fuji x100s camera.