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This is 15 Minutes to Freedom. I'm your host, Ryan Neidell, and today's episode is a rough day in Queens. So a little bit more than a year ago, I left Columbus to head to Queens, New York.
Mishap And Adventure In Queens
Begrudgingly going to Queens (00:21)
And I had to head over to Queens because a friend of mine that owns a nutritional supplement store and his partner were throwing a big event. And that event was for another close friend of mine from here in Columbus, John Meadows, who's a professional bodybuilder, a guy I've known for a long time. Great guy, great family man, a man that's truly just a salt of the earth guy. He was launching a new supplement company called Granite Nutrition. I want to go over to this supplement shop in Queens to support him. Discuss it with Lindsay, my fiancee, and come up with the fact we don't have anything that I'm going to miss out on if I'm not home. So she says, go for it. Now me inherently, at that point in life, I was cheap, like dramatically cheap, meaning if I could have probably taken a Greyhound, I would have considered it. Now, I didn't take a Greyhound. I loaded up at that point, gosh, I think I had maybe an old Audi A8, like a 2000 Audi A8 that I loaded all my stuff into and decided to make the trek from Columbus to Queens, New York. That drive in perfect conditions, about eight and a half hours. It ended up being about ten, ten and a half hours for me to get there. So I set out on this trek and I'm excited because I'm supporting my friend. At this point, I own a custom clothing company. This custom clothing company was suits and everything was handmade, suits and shirts and slacks, shoes, sport coats, whatever it would be, I was part of this company. I owned it, had a partner in the UK. And so I'm driving there, not only to support John, but also hoping to drum up some business for my company. So I drive. And the drive across Pennsylvania, for those of you that haven't made it, is a little treacherous. It's up and down mountains and twisty roads. And of course, this event starts at noon or one. So I'm driving through the night. I have to leave my house at about 3.30 or 4 in the morning to drive from, again, Columbus to Queens, New York. So I'm driving, doing whatever I'm doing, and inevitably not paying attention to the road, knowing myself at that point in life. I'm probably texting or on social media or just kind of on autopilot. At that point in life, I was used to driving ungodly amounts of miles. I was putting about 80,000 miles a year in a car and switching in and out of cars very quickly. So drive across Pennsylvania, fight traffic, get into New York, get into New York City and get to Queens and show up at the supplement store. It was a phenomenal time.
Failed hotel reservation (02:39)
Great turnout, great thing supporting John's brand. Everything was amazing. great turnout, great thing supporting John's brand. Everything was amazing. A group of us, so the owners of the store, the two partners, John, some other professional bodybuilders that we know were all in town, and we all decided to go have sushi together afterwards. It's exciting. I love sushi. Great food in Queens. These guys are kind of local celebrities, so all the velvet robes open for us. We can get in anywhere we want to. We have this great meal, great conversation, and just phenomenal bonding. These are guys that are true friends of mine. And so as a wrap up, I actually rode over with one of the owners from the store in his car. Everybody else goes to their hotels or whatever it would be. And he said, look, man, where are you staying? I'll drop you off at your hotel. I'm like, well, it's funny you say that. In my haste and my drive over, I haven't booked a hotel room yet. Now, I say in my haste and in my drive over, but again, up until very recently in my life, I was like the last second, not even planner, I'll call it a procrastinator. I never thought forward enough to book a hotel room. It was always last minute. I'll hop on Hotel Snyder. I'll hop on Airbnb or I'll hop on Priceline. I can always get a hotel, especially in New York City. I'm thinking this is no big deal at all. So I'm sitting in the car.
Midnight Airbnb alternative (03:49)
We wrap up dinner. He's like, yeah, I'll drop you off. And we're catching up, having a great conversation. I'm sitting next to him in the seat trying to find a hotel. And I can find hotels, but they're all two-star hotels that are all $500 or $600 a night. And again, to start this conversation, I am inherently cheap. Like I don't like spend money on travel. I don't like spend money on myself. These are just things that really irk me, especially to spend one night in a hotel room for 500 bucks. It just didn't make sense, especially for poor accommodations. So I'm searching and searching and searching and I can't find anything. I can't find anything. So driving around Queens and he said, look, man, you're more than welcome to stay on my couch. Now, this is, at this point, I presented myself as a successful business owner that owns this custom clothing company, has a couple sales guys. And this man is successful because he owns a chain of supplement stores. And I'm about to be relegated to sleeping on his couch. Like, the embarrassment and the internal stories I'm telling myself were just atrocious. I'm like, man, I can't do this. I can't sleep on his couch. So I eventually get the bright idea to log on to either HomeAway or Airbnb. Drop a pin with where I'm at and say like, man, I'm praying. Like fingers crossed, sitting in the car next to him. Man, there's got to be something on Airbnb. And at this point, it's probably 10 o'clock at night. So I know my pickings are pretty slim. I end up getting set up with a spot in Queens in a house. And so when I'm booking this house, all I care is there's a room and it's $250 for the night. And I'm like, all right, I'm safe. I don't have to eat crow and sleep on this guy's couch. I don't have to inconvenience him. I can sleep in this house. And I'm thinking, man, but what type of house am I going to get for $250 a night? This is an incredible deal. I can't find a hotel room for less than $500. And I'm thinking, man, but what type of house am I going to get for $250 a night? Like, this is an incredible deal. I can't find a hotel room for less than $500. And I found a house for $250? So email back and forth with the homeowner. And, you know, it's a short and satcher woman, some sort of Asian descent. And I can see from the picture. And so I show up at this home. Like, she gives me the dress and I show up. And for those of you that haven't went down the Airbnb or HomeAway path, it's always kind of like this crapshoot. You don't really know in the moment who's going to be on the other end of the receiving side of the money.
Arriving at an Unfamiliar House (05:46)
And so trying to chat back and forth, this woman with a little bit of broken English, and I think she's going to meet me at this house to hand me keys to her house, which is kind of what happened. So we go down this incredibly bumpy road. They're repaving things. I remember it so vividly. It's dark. It's cold. I'm in a three-piece suit. I've got my bags in the back. My car is parked in front of the supplement store. We're driving down this bumpy, bumpy road in a very urban setting in Queens. And I get out because it's the address. I wave him off like, I'm good. I know I'm good because it's the address. She gave me the address. And again, I don't want to have this embarrassment conversation of like I made a bad decision. So I've got my rolling suitcase behind me. I've got my garment bag on my shoulder that has my outfit for tomorrow as well as some fabric samples for some of the guys. And I walk up to the door, and she greets me just as presented. Very short. Man, probably a 4'10", if I'm lucky, not even 100 pounds soaking wet. 50-year-old woman greets me at the door and says, you know, nice to meet you. And you can tell she's taken back by my physical stature. I'm 6'1", 6'2", at that point, probably 285 in a three-piece suit. Now at 1030 or 11 o'clock at night, ringing this woman's doorbell. And I'm not looking at it through her lens. I'm looking through mine like, gosh, what's going to happen to me? So I'm calling my fiance as I'm walking up the door, like, hey, if anything goes wrong, I'm dropping you a pin. This is where I'm at. You know, if I get mugged, if I get raped, if you can't find me later, like this is my location. And so she's nervous. So this woman walks me in and I find out that she lives in the upstairs of the house. When I say upstairs, she's actually putting me in the basement of her house. She's turned the basement of her house into this place to stay. I can't really call it a condo because it certainly wasn't a condo. It had a bed and a kind of a kitchen, more like a sink and like a hot pan. And then a bathroom that again, I'm a wider shouldered guy. I couldn't fit through the bathroom door and I certainly couldn't fit in the shower. I had to like curl my shoulders in and sit catty-cornered, stand diagonal in the shower so the water would hit me. And as I'm doing all this, I'm walking down the stairs, I'm having to duck to get below the rafters of this house. So it's this little twin-size bed, the super short accommodations, and I'm this big guy. I don't fit anywhere in here. But the woman's very, very nice, very kind. So I put my bag down, wait for her to go upstairs, wait for her to lock the door. I'm like, man, this is crazy. If I stand up again at 6'2", I'm hitting my head on the rafter, is the size of room that I'm in. And the room I'm standing in in this podcast is a 12 by 12 room. This room is at least two feet wider than the total amount of sleeping space I had that had a kitchen, a bed, and a shower in it. So I call Lindsay, my fiance, and I share with her this story. And she's given me such a hard time about the fact that I should have just booked a hotel room because she's a planner.
Like a Scene From Dog Day Afternoon (08:25)
She's a consummate planner. She used to tell me weeks in advance, like this event didn't sneak up on us. This event had been here. There was never a time where I wasn't going to go to this event. It's just I either didn't have the where I wasn't going to go to this event. It's just I either didn't have the money, didn't want to spend the money, thought something magic was going to happen. I get a cheaper room. I don't know what the fuck I was thinking. But what I do know is I end up being dropped off in front of this short Asian woman's house, sleep in her basement, hit my head. And I'm like, I call Lindsay in the morning before I go to bed, share with her what went on. She's laughing. We give me this hard time. I call her again when I get up in the morning. And I'm up at 435 o' Lindsay in the morning before I go to bed, share with her what went on. She's laughing. We give me this hard time. I call her again when I get up in the morning. And I'm up at 4.30, 5 o'clock in the morning. Like, I'm ready to get out of this house. So I get out of the house, and there's a gym I want to go to that's a world-famous gym in Queens. And so I decide to go to this gym. And it's maybe 6.30, 7 o'clock in the morning. I grab a quick bite to eat. You know, have an Uber take me to get a bite to eat. And my gym closed. Then I got another Uber to take me to this gym. And it's maybe 6.30, 7 o'clock in the morning. I grab a quick bite to eat, have an Uber take me to get a bite to eat, and my gym closed. Then I got another Uber to take me to this gym. Then I MapQuest or Google the address of the gym, and I give it to the Uber driver. So the Uber driver picks me up, hop in the car, and we're in his vehicle for, if it's 35 minutes, it's 55 minutes. And he's getting mad. He speaks no English, don't know his descent. I'll say it's Russian. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I have no idea what he's, what he's saying to me. I just keep showing him on my phone. Like this is where I want to go. This is what I'm trying to get to. And he sees it and he says something, he's getting mad and he keeps pointing to his screen inside the Uber. Like, no, this is where I'm taking you. Like I can see his frustration. And so we get to a point where in this frustration, he pulls over to the side of the road and we're in this unsavory part of Queens. And again, I'm not very well traveled as far as Queens as a whole, but I remember looking up and there's railroad tracks above me and there's homeless people around me. And I'm in what would be nice gym clothes. I mean, a pair of new Nike tennis shoes, I'm sure.
Almost Victimized (10:16)
And, you know, I'm put together fairly well and have my suitcase and my garment bag with me. And he says, get out of my car. Excuse me? Get out. I'll call the cops. I'm not going any further. Like, he's putting together broken English. And I'm doing a horrible job of translating this to you guys right now. But what's happening is he keeps telling me to get out of the car. And I'm like, get the fuck out of here. Like, I'm in the middle of Queens and somewhere where I know I shouldn't be like my, my spidey senses are tingling everywhere. Like I should not be getting out of this car right now. And he, you know, he's getting out of the car himself has some sort of like Billy club or a little baseball bat or something in his hand. And he's walking around the front of the car to ultimately come and get me out of the back passenger side. I said, whoa, whoa, hold on, I'll get out of the car. So I get out of the car, hurry up to the back of the SUV because I want to make sure I get my clothes out before he peels off and takes off and goes away. Get my clothes out and he literally peels off. So here I am in the middle of Queens, a six foot one, six foot two, fairly athletic looking, fairly affluent looking at this point, white guy holding two bags, obviously looking like a tourist. Like I have no clue where I'm at. My phone is 80% dead because the woman's basement didn't have a charger in it. So here I am walking around Queens, phone just about dead, bags in my hand, a rolling suitcase, and I'm just walking, literally saying over and over again, like, please let me get out of this. Please let me get out of this. I probably walk two or three miles before I get to somewhere that resembles civilization. When I say civilization, like I said, I was in maybe an industrial part of Queens or maybe just a little bit more of a ghetto side of Queens. I don't really know the exact part, but it was somewhere where, again, I'm having people come up to me on the corner, either asking me for money or calling me names. And I eventually walked through what feels like little Cuba or Dominican Republic or somewhere where everything is little Colombia, somewhere from not here where it's another language.
Cell phone charger (12:08)
It's people on the street corners. And I feel like this incredible outsider. Like for the first time that I can remember in my life, I'm walking around places where I don't know the language, and I can tell I'm not wanted. It's just obvious. Like, I don't fit. And so I walk, and I walk, and I eventually get to a gas station. This gas station, I'm like, man, at least they're going to have a cell phone charger. I can go, and I can buy a cell phone charger. I can charge my cell phone finally. I can get a hold of somebody to help me. I can call my buddies on the supplement store, like I'll figure this out now. Get inside the gas station, they don't have a cell phone charger. They don't offer one. They don't have one I can buy, no one behind the counter has one. And so a guy at a gas pump sees me and walks up. Says, hey man, you looking for a gym? Well oddly enough I am, I'm in gym clothes. He goes, man, what gym are you looking for? I don't even remember at this point the name of the gym, but I show him the name of the gym. He goes, oh, it's right around the corner. Hop in my car. I'll take you. I said, man, this is going to sound crazy, but I also don't have a cell phone charger. Do you have an iPhone that I can charge my phone with? He says, of course. Hop in. And so here I am, this guy that's now walked for an hour or two. I'm sure I'm sweating and I don't smell the best. I'm carrying my garment bag and my fabric bag and my rolling suitcase with me. And I hop in this stranger's car. Like, just hop in.
Hop in a car (13:32)
At this point, I'm going for broke. Like, I don't have something else that's going to end up being successful for me. I don't have a phone that works. I don't know where I'm at. I don't know how to get a hold of somebody. I'm stuck. Hop in a car. This guy ends up being incredibly kind. We'd have known some of the same people in the same part of the industry from bodybuilding. He's a younger man that's just getting into, you know, athletic sports and things like that. Drops me off at the gym, lets me charge my cell phone. I go into the gym. There's a cell phone charger there. I charge my phone more. And everything ends up okay. You know, get wrapped up, take an Uber back to my car and eventually head home. So all this goes into the fact of at the most basic level, all of it could have been avoided. And I could have been avoided if I just planned in advance and taking action once I made a plan.
The plan (14:16)
You see, I knew I was going to Queens. I knew I was going to this event that had been publicized for the better part of three months. Those weren't going to change. I had support and buy-in from my fiance. And I knew I had the funds to at least make it to Queens and get a $200 a night hotel room. But I didn't. I delayed. I pushed off what I knew was going to be a necessary event to achieve a desired outcome. And so now as I sit here and tell you this story, it's how many other times in my life did I have to look at, was I not paying attention to the details and not taking action when I knew I should have?
Taking action (14:42)
When it comes to the business that I'm a part of or business that I run, how often am I having conversation and not taking decisive action immediately upon wrapping up those conversations? Or my body, like I knew that anabolic steroids and the way I was living my life was not serving me. Like I knew that wasnabolic steroids and the way I was living my life was not serving me. Like I knew that wasn't what I wanted. I kept living this lie like it mattered. So I knew it didn't serve me, but I kept going and going until literally I had an absence on my leg and almost had to go to the hospital. Or like in a relationship where I first got with Lindsay and I was not being faithful to her.
Discussions Of Relationships
Relationship delay (15:19)
Like I knew that wasn't serving me. I knew that I needed something more. I knew even what was more to go after, but I didn't go after it. So as I implore you right now to think about in your areas of life, whether it's your business or your body or your relationship, where do you know you should be taking action, but you're delaying for some bullshit reason, you tell yourself. Whatever those things are, you have to go right now. Like go full speed. Whatever those things are, you have to go right now. Like go full speed. Like the time it takes to deploy an actionable activity, to change your desired outcome, the time in between decision and action is where all the magic is in life. So those actions, those actionable items, day over day, putting one foot in front of the other, chasing a desired outcome, ultimately reminds me every day to tell you to get shit done. Hey guys, Ryan here. outcome ultimately reminds me every day to RyanNidell.com. That's R-Y-A-N-N-I-D-D-E-L.com.