New York City is not like the movies. Day in and day out, Farid takes passengers from all corners of the world to some of the most famous destinations in the city. Tourists, agglomerated in Times Square and the midtown region, are stuck in a bubble where they only see the version of the city based on movies and TV shows. They go to the same hotels, eat at the same places and visit the same spots as a blog or a city guide tells them to. The truth is, they don’t get to see nor even experience the real New York City and all its beauty.
The beauty of exploring a new place is being unafraid of getting lost. Taking a subway somewhere, without a destination, and finding along the way a world of experiences. Farid says people are now blind to following the current and not really adventuring outside their comfort zone, and as a result, stay within the same boundaries they’ve grown used to. Last month, he traveled for the first time in over three years, when the pandemic first hit. He decided to visit Germany and Turkey, both countries he had grown deep admiration for over the past few years. Once he landed in Berlin, he rented a car and went on to explore the countryside. Without a GPS, just being guided by the directions of the wind, he found some of the most beautiful places and people that made his trip one to remember.
He didn’t have strict plans, but rather the will to discover the unknown. The will to write his own guide and fall beyond the lines others had written. If he follows a plan, he chooses to always challenge himself and go deep into the places he visits so he can truly live the culture and experience life within.
Originally born in Algeria, Farid came to the U.S. in his younger days. Ho him, New York City is home. The city has the beauty of welcoming people from anywhere and everywhere, and he can’t imagine himself living anywhere else in the world. He values his roots, and always makes sure to remind himself where he came from so he can draft his future. He says, “You can’t make the future if we don’t know the past,” and being honest about ourselves and our roots it’s our utmost duty.
For Farid, the pillars to living a good life in NY are: be yourself, be honest and be kind to people, no matter where they are from or who they are. He abides by this motto as you never know which interaction might change the course of your life. To him, the people he meets and the community he builds around him are what give him the support to move forward. No one could ever get anywhere without the support, collaboration and help from others.
Nowadays, however, he says people forget that the simpler things in life don’t require much from us, but they can truly mean the world from the other end.
Caring and showing you care through actions is the most important thing about a community. Farid says, “when the heart loves, the feet go.” He said he would do anything for the people he loves and cares about, no matter the time, distance, or sacrifices needed. Whether is through a phone call or text, showing people that they matter and we care is one thing Farid never takes for granted. In the end, he says, yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not promised.
All of those things — calling, texting, showing up for those who we love — are the human thing to do. Showcasing kindness everywhere we go and not expecting anything in return is not an obligation, but rather a duty. Life, he says, is too short, and it’s better to make the most out of our time than to regret something before running out of time.