Xochil Benavides: New York City

What’s your historical San Francisco and New York connection?
I was born in beautiful San Francisco and was raised in Marin County and ultimately the East Bay Area. My mom was determined to have both me and my sister’s birth certificate read “San Francisco,” so her and my father’s love and adoration for all things San Francisco were passed on to both of us- SF Giants, Niners, Golden State Warriors, and the appreciation of the happy hybrid of metropolis and nature.

I fell in love with NYC the first time I visited in 2012 and told myself I would move here one day. In June of this year, I quit my job that I loved in the Bay Area, packed a couple suitcases and started my ongoing and current adventure in the Big Apple.

Describe your experience in SF and your experience in NYC.
San Francisco will always hold my soul’s true love. The beauty of it’s rolling hills, the cascades of buildings being tucked in by Mother Nature’s blanket of fog, and the kind smiles and waves of both locals and tourists alike. It is the happy medium to my hippy ways and my yearning for big city vibrancy.

NYC has been an adventure so far off the beaten path of societal norm, that it excites and scares me everyday. This place is so electrifying and always buzzing that I am constantly motivated, challenged, and in a place of uncomfortable tranquility. The Big Apple holds my heart.

What was the biggest challenge of moving between NYC and SF?
I was ready for a big change and was excited by the fact that I would know so few people here – I wanted to be uncomfortable because I was too comfortable back in San Francisco. I guess the biggest challenge is really finding out what I want to do professionally and after my yoga teacher training is complete.

How can NYC and SF best engage with each other?
SF is the tech hub of the country and NYC is the cultural and creative epicenter… I think a great way to engage with one another aside from social media, would be through meetups, or even a social events (i.e. SF natives versus NYC natives dodgeball game, SF versus NY professional sports viewing parties, etc.).

Favorite SF secret spot
It’s not that secret anymore, but I love The Mill in Nopa by Alamo Square. Delicious array of toast and fair trade coffee with all kinds of different jams – super hipster and super irresistible.

Favorite NYC secret spot
Nothing is secret in NYC – but every Tuesday night The Slipper Room in LES holds comedy shows for $7 that often feature celebrities. Last time I went Jason Long and Amanda Seyfried did a reenactment of Willow and Jaden Smith’s kooky interview that was all the buzz in the media; it was nothing short of hilarious!

If you were not where you are now, what would you be doing?
I would love to be traveling in India and do more extensive yogic studies at an ashram, then make my way to Southeast Asia.

Roadtrip Entertainment: tell us what song/album, TV show, podcast, or web videos you’ve been watching lately.
I can’t stop watching American Horror Story on Netflix – it’s terrible (but awesomely addicting)! I have also developed an obsession with Milky Chance and the alt-j Pandora station is a great Fall/Winter soundtrack for walking around the city.

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