It’s June 2017. I arrived in NY yesterday and the jet lag doesn’t let me sleep anymore. I get up at 4am. I take to the street. It is curious to walk at hours that are not the usual ones. You discover a completely new city, which offers you very different nuances. Temperature, colors, smells and sounds that are different from what you are used to.

Luckily, the first thing I find is a cafeteria. It’s called Blue Bottle Coffee. The place is embedded in one of those typical buildings with a staircase on the façade, but inside it is minimalist. I let myself be advised by the barista. I’m jet lagged and it doesn’t help me decide. I prefer a Myanmar coffee with a thick, syrupy body and hints of fig jam flavor with bright notes of lemongrass.

It’s time to go my way. The city is waking up. The light has changed. At that moment I am fully happy. The streets of NY make me feel alive and lucky. I’m hungry. I don’t want to go to one of those trendy places with fancy people and lots of plants. I go into Viand Coffee Shop. I don’t know it, but my instinct tells me to enter. I find out that Viand has been serving New Yorkers for over thirty years and they are known for “the best turkey in town”. I order pancakes with bacon and syrup. And a coffee. There are cases of drinks stacked near the bar and people running in and out. The waiters are mostly middle-aged gentlemen who know their job and their customers perfectly. I am full of energy to continue my walk around the Big Apple.

After wandering around for a few hours, I begin to feel tired from having started the day so early. I decide to take the metro and right at the exit, under one of those iron bridges where the train goes, I see a tiny cafeteria with a slightly gnawed awning and two blue chairs in front of the place. Once again, my instinct tells me to stop. The place doesn’t seem particularly well cared for, but I can hear jazz music coming from inside. Perfect for my mood at that moment, tired and happy. It’s called Otha’s Coffee, and the sign that says OPEN seems to be talking to me. In the end it turns out to be a very cozy place where the people of the neighborhood go. I order a Maple Latte and a homemade doughnut. Just what I needed before ending my day.

Back at the hotel, I review my first day in NY. Walking, eating and drinking coffee is all I have done. I could do that every day of my trip. Skip the museums, monuments and shops. Stick only to entering the places that my instinct asks me to. Give myself over to caffeine and the caterers that say ‘We’re Open’. Live in a permanent state of jet lag that makes everything seem like a dream. Throw away the list of recommendations, the guides, the map. What a different trip it would be.

ONA BASCUÑÁN is a travel lover. She was born in Valencia in 1980. She has lived in Barcelona, Amsterdam, Santiago de Chile and has now returned to her homeland. It is not known for how long. She is dedicated to Communication and PR. She is passionate about reading independent magazines and learning what life is like in other places, whether continents or homes. She contributes to the specialty coffee magazine SOLO. Oh, and she has two daughters, who love to dance – and travel just like her.