A Walk On Wall Street

published by Bren

September 15, 2014

Isn’t it funny, how dreams can change.

It was by complete accident that I ended up in New York City. In fact, I had never planned on entering the United States at all. But some horrendous travel planning and a few last minute changes was all it took to shake things up and land me in NYC for a week in transit.

Of course, that didn’t bother me at all. It was a welcome detour actually, as I had dreamed of seeing the Big Apple for quite some time. And just like every New York first timer, I wasted no time in churning through the many glorified clichés the city had to offer. Central Park. Hot dogs. Pizza. Empire State Building. Chelsea. Yellow taxi rides. Battery Park. World Trade Center.

And then, one lonesome afternoon, I chanced upon one of the most talked about New York icons of them all.

Wall Street.

Standing there on the intersection with Broadway, staring up at the street sign, it was a rather eerie feeling.

You see, I had once dreamed of working here.

I had dreamed of putting on the $5,000 power suit, heading up to my flashy office each morning, spending the day rubbing shoulders with high powered bankers and traders. I was obsessed with the markets and getting outrageously rich; of breaking into that inner circle of high flyers.

I wanted to be a “Wall Street Guy”.

And now, here I am, four years later, walking down the very street I once had idolised. But life has changed a little since then.

After a short lived career in finance, I don’t think I ever want to wear a suit ever again. I’d probably cry if I ever needed to squeeze another meal into a ‘one-hour lunch break’. God save me if I’m ever forced to end another email with a robotic “Kind regards”.

After wanting it for so long, I’m finally here; walking down Wall Street, but with little desire to stay. And it is this walk down Wall Street that has given me a sudden realisation of what a different and unexpected path my life has taken.

Isn’t it funny, how dreams can change.

Of course, in the back of my mind, I can still imagine myself in these offices, rocking the grey pinstripe suit, the skinny tie, the fancy business card and the hair slicked to one side. And part of me still whispers inside my head, “Yeah, that would be cool, right?”

But that’s all it is now. Just another “wouldn’t that be cool”.

My dreams have changed, grown. Standing here, it’s almost like looking back on a past life.

A different me.

Or as Gotye likes to say, ’Somebody that I used to know’.

And as I continue walking, I try to ask myself, “What was it about this place that had me wanting it so bad?”

I think, but I can’t pinpoint an answer. It wasn’t the money, obviously, because big money can be made anywhere. And by the same reasoning, it wasn’t the industry. So perhaps it was an ego thing; to be a Wall Street guy. Or maybe it was the crowd. Or maybe, I had just been enticed by the stories, the movies, by the shiny idea of it all. But whatever it was, it isn’t there anymore.

As they say, everything comes full circle in the end. And a walk alone down Wall Street seemed to spur many emotions in me; a bit of sadness, a pinch of déjà vu, a smattering of nostalgia and, surprisingly, an odd sense of closure. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe it was just the final turn of the page. A way to finally close the chapter on one path and start moving full speed on another.

All I know is, I probably won’t be back here for quite some time.

Isn’t it funny, how dreams can change.


What about your dreams? Did you chase something for a long a time, only to realise you didn’t want it in the end? Or do you still want those dreams as badly as ever? Tell me all about it in the comments below.

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  1. I totally understand you! When I was younger I always dreamed of living in New York, having an amazing job, apartment and wardrobe full of expensive clothes. I never did make it to NYC, but I lived a similar life in Dubai for seven years and realised I HATED it. The restrictions, the ridiculously small holidays! Having to fit my whole life into a weekend because I was too drained to do anything in the week. Shudder.

    Now I smile whenever I think of that dream, because I realise it would have NEVER made me happy. I’m now a digital nomad and I haven’t been happier in my life. So yeah, dreams change as we live more and learn more. I think it’s a nice feeling 🙂

    1. Yes, I felt compelled to write this post as I just had so much running through my head as I walked down the street. I saw myself in the windows slaving away at a desk, rushing out to buy lunch and snacks, flipping my tie over me shoulder. It was strange but it made me smile. It is a nice feeling to see yourself evolve like that. I’m glad life has worked out for you as well. What kind of work are you in now?

  2. Bren,

    Have I ever been there dude.

    I’m sitting in Savusavu, Fiji now with a cat in my lap. Our spot is nestled on a jungle cliff, 50 meters above the bay and the Pacific Ocean. Well, it’s not our place, as we’re house sitting, but it’s where we’re staying for 4 months.

    5 years ago I was a security guard in NJ, 35 minutes from Wall Street. Years before that I wanted to do the finance thing. I held a lower level job at Merrill Lynch and planned to work my way up, but I learned years ago that relative wealth beats absolute wealth 100% of the time, because by being a full time, professional blogger, I’ve traveled the world for the past 40 months straight, and am free to go where I want, whenever I want to.

    Bali next. After Fiji. 5 months total between the 2 spots, and I spent the first 6 months of the year in Chiang Mail, Pak Nam Pran, Koh Lanta, and Phuket, in Thailand.

    Can’t do that when working on Wall Street 😉

    Great share Bren.

    Tweeting in a bit.


  3. Hi Ryan,

    Wow, awesome story. Fiji is a lovely spot, housesitting there must be a charm and I’m sure you’ll get a lot of work done 🙂

    Thanks for your comments and safe travels!

  4. I love your writing and I enjoyed reading through this post. It has a nice feel. It’s awesome to find yourself in Wall Street and not caring that much at all. As you’ve said, you’ve grown and that’s a good feat. I’d love to read more of your adventures and stories.

    1. Hi Brittney, thanks so much. It’s always a great feeling when one of my stories resonates with someone else – proves to myself that I’m not too crazy 🙂

  5. So far the best read from a travel blogger. “Everything comes full circle in the end”, I like that. I can feel your growth from this business and I so envy you that I want to quit my job. Thanks for this blog.

  6. Great post! I enjoyed reading it. 🙂 Yup, dreams do change. I can understand your mixed emotions while walking down the wall street in NYC. My life has completely changed since the past year. A year ago, I was desperate to get a job in a big company, but now I am freelancing from home and am quite happy about it. Sometimes, God drags you to your real dreams. 🙂

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