I have officially lived in New York for one year. I moved from Los Angeles fresh out of college with a journalism degree; an open mind; and a dream, like the many thousands before me.

I began interning three days a week, 9-5, for a magazine publisher in the beautiful Hearst building. I woke up very early each day, grabbed a coffee, dressed up as best I could with my Goodwill finds, and headed to work filled with excitement.

Then, quickly, came reality. Ridiculous rent, high-priced food, the cost of utilities, and bills all had a sobering effect on my mindset…and my strained post-college-loans budget. So, I picked up job number two at a yoga store in the Flatiron district, filling the remainder of my week. Sleep became a distant relative.

Uncharacteristically, I was often late to work, because I underestimated train delays and the time it takes to walk those long New York blocks. Rushing became a newfound habit. I filled my workdays to the brim, hoping to land a full-time position at the end of my stint with the magazine. I watched my bank account dwindling at rapid speed, and began to notice dark circles under my eyes when I caught glimpses of my reflection in the subway windows.


I decided to move to Brooklyn, to share a basement studio apartment with two friends, whose company was a relief. We all slept in one room, each on our own air mattress. Needless to say, I was beginning to feel a little in over my head — and then, at the end of my three months at the magazine, I was sent off with a hug and goodbye and no job offer. New York had a different plan for me.

I booked a flight back to Los Angeles, needing to reevaluate and regain clarity. The first thing I did was pack a group of friends into my Subaru Outback and head up north, to Mammoth. I blasted Tom Petty on repeat, a self-fulfilling prophecy looping for the full duration of the five-hour drive: “And I’m freeeee….free falling!”



Mammoth is simply beautiful—an ideal locale for hiking, snowboarding and camping. I had been here before, but there was something so different and special about this trip. I was realizing how precious I found spending time in nature with my friends and family.


We hiked up the front side of the mountain, a mixture of snow and loose rocks. On our feet were Converse and Vans, and our clothes were covered in mud from slipping on the way up. It was a beautiful view at the top, where we set up cameras and shot a snowboard trick.



After our full day of climbing and filming, we headed to the hot springs for sunset. The walk was brisk and the cold air was sharp; it was March and the mountains were still glazed with fresh snow. The crisp air burned my lungs in the best way.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset



And in that moment, my friends strewn around me, I realized: I had made it through my first winter in New York. I had navigated the trains, gotten lost and then found my way, moved — twice! — and worked my ass off at a job that mattered to me. My initial plan had changed, shaped itself into something I could have never imagined, but that was the beauty of New York, of adulthood, of life.

In that moment, at Mammoth, I was thankful. I would return to New York with a new sense of resolve, stronger and more determined than ever to make it work.

I began interning three days a week, 9-5, for a magazine publisher in the beautiful Hearst building. I woke up very early each day, grabbed a coffee, dressed up as best I could with my Goodwill finds, and headed to work filled with excitement.

Guest Contributor

03680035Hayley Hill is a writer/photographer from Los Angeles, currently living in Brooklyn, NY. She has a passion for the outdoors, adventuring and creating art through different mediums. In her free time, she loves doing yoga, dancing and hearing people’s stories.