From a Naive NYC Girl to Owner of a Popular Hudson Valley Blog
Here’s my story…
My name is Jackie. Born and raised in The Bronx, NY, this NYC girl grew up thinking that the Hudson Valley was “Upstate New York”. Even Sunday shopping trips to Central Avenue, in Yonkers, was a trip “Upstate”.
Although I loved exploring the city (and taking the 6 train to Astor Place), the Hudson Valley always held a special place in my heart. But what would this naive Bronx girl do in ‘Upstate New York’? Who was I to venture out of my tight-knit Bronx community?
My first step to “Upstate” living would be to apply to colleges in the Hudson Valley, and I did!
That is the time in my life that changed my view of the Hudson Valley forever.
I initially thought that:
- The Hudson Valley was for the rich & elite only
- Things to do in the Hudson Valley were too expensive for me to do
- I would get kicked out of places where this city girl ‘did not belong’
- I would stick out like a sore thumb
I want you to know who I really am. Every ‘About Page’ I see talks about how great the person is and what they have accomplished in business.
My close friends and family have seen me on top of the world when I initially got married and had my children. They have also seen me mentally and emotionally drained dealing with my major depressive disorder and debilitating anxiety.
They have seen me pick myself up after a divorce, deal with my post-divorce life when I had to live, with my children, in my parent’s home for a year, through the joy of finding love again and through the uncertainty of leaving my stable job to begin a brand new career & business, in digital content creation.
My Hudson Valley Blog has gone from 0 views a day to thousands of views a day through hard work & perseverance.
This is my story and I hope that it gives you an idea of who I really am.
As a kid, I was creative – dancing, singing and taking pictures were my first loves. Then it transitioned to baking. I always wanted to create.
I remembered our Summer trips to Yorktown Heights and swimming at the public pool at FDR State Park. These trips ‘Upstate’ are in a special place in my brain that takes me back every time to these wonderful childhood memories.
After moving up to the Hudson Valley for college, I was scared to venture out. I was scared of getting lost (pre-GPS), scared of doing things on my own and I was shy and didn’t dare ask others to come along with me.
And where would I go? There was no internet and no way for me to research fun things to do.
So, I visited the same places in the ten-mile radius of school and continued that pattern through most of my adult life.
Most of My Adult Life
This pattern continued.
After remaining in the Hudson Valley after college, I still did not have the confidence to explore many areas and the business of life got in the way. I remained in the area that I knew and, felt comfortable in, and continued visiting the same places year after year.
I WOULD NOT step outside my comfort zone and this is when my anxiety got worse and worse.
After my divorce, getting re-married and moving to a 3-bedroom apartment in Yonkers, NY for a few years, we decided to buy a home, in the Mid-Hudson Valley, in 2013.
Fast Forward to 2013
The pattern of seeing the same things over and over changed when we moved further North. The move from Yonkers, NY to rural Ulster County was what I needed to change my view on life.
I knew there was more to the Hudson Valley than the 10-mile radius I was comfortable with and moving to new territory FORCED me to drive further and see more (Thank you, GPS).
Even though, I still get anxiety, I work on strategies and make myself leave the house to see new places. I began doing research and seeing and doing more. I also began writing about my adventures on a simple blog that I had created on a free site and this inspired me to see even more places in the Hudson Valley.
2016 – Let’s take this Hudson Valley Blog to the Next Level
So with my hubby’s help, we bought a domain name and switched our free WordPress.com ‘hobby blog’ to a WordPress.org ‘professional Hudson Valley blog’.
And, here I am, several years later still exploring the Hudson Valley and taking you along on all my journeys.
I started by visiting 3 – 4 new places a year and now I visit dozens a year. If you want to know how I was able to see and do so much in such a short amount of time, then I recommend you read this post on how to explore the best of the Hudson Valley. There are some really great tips that I’m sure you hadn’t thought of.
Here I am at the halfway point of my life. And if you would have told me that at this point in my life I would be teaching myself all there is to do, by myself, on my Hudson Valley Blog, I would have told you that were crazy. I still have some ‘down’ and ‘anxiety-filled’ days, but my goal is to continue showing you around the Hudson Valley.
While helping thousands of people like you, I’ve discovered things I love in the Hudson Valley and things that I was not crazy about and that’s what makes my Hudson Valley blog so special: I am someone who lives here and not someone just passing through.
I have also discovered how to research and plan more efficiently and this has made a big difference in my life and in my adventures. If you want to know how I organize all my Hudson Valley information, then I recommend you check out my system here for seeing more & doing more with less stress.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story and I hope the story of your life is filled with bold choices, health, love and adventures.
Feel free to go here and send me a message. I respond to every email I receive.
I want to hear your stories. I want to know how else I can help you. I want the Hudson Valley Explored experience to be our experience, together. That’s how we all learn and grow together, including me.
I firmly believe that I’m not special, just a normal gal who enjoys what I do. In everything I do here with Hudson Valley Explored, I truly want to make this small part of the internet a better place.
Where I have been featured:
- My photos of the Hudson Valley Farm & Flea were published on Chronogram
- An article all about my Hometown is featured on ‘A Book Lover’s Adventures’
- My photo from Bethel Woods Center of the Arts is featured in an article from Forbes.com
- A Link to my article about Day Trips in the Hudson Valley is featured on the Opus 40 website: Opus40.org
- A mention and link to my article about Hudson Valley Farmers Markets is featured on HudsonValleyLodging.com