Updated: Jan 20
July 14, 2001
World Trade Center, South Tower. Tennessee girl…
The Big Apple!
“Oh Yeah, I blend” said in my best Marisa Tomei accent.
To understand my love of adventure and travel, you have to understand where it all started.
My first big city adventure. I was in New York City for a wedding and was the typical tourist: mouth gaping open, eyes wide staring up at all the buildings, trying not to ooh and ahh at street vendors.
Again, I blend.
At the time of my “vacation”, I was experiencing some personal struggles in my life that kept me in a negative mind space. As I walked, I started to piece through what was happening in my life back home. I felt like I was in a rut.
I remember the night before I went on this tour to the Top of the World, I stayed up with my mom in the hotel bathroom, crying until 4:00 in the morning. All my pent up emotions that I kept bottled in came flooding out while sitting on a cold tile hotel bathroom floor. She, like most moms, knew what I needed...to be heard and not fixed.
Wading in water that was slowly rising. I thought I was drowning and not able to breathe. I needed this escape to the city to figure out my life path.
Cue: THE BIG CITY!
As my trip progressed, I felt the layers, like an onion, begin to be peeled away. I noticed I laughed more. I wanted to try new foods. I was so excited about what would be around that next corner.
New York City began to slowly open my eyes and I started to see the light at the end of my dark tunnel. I felt the heartbeat and energy of the city; my energy ignited. I looked around me with a new set of eyes.
I started to dream again. There was a fire that had been dormant, and I didn’t realize at this moment, that was about to spark in me.
My Phoenix that was about to rise from the ashes, starts in this moment. My travel group was on a tour bus through the city and one of our stops was the World Trade Center.
We were supposed to go to the top and stay two hours and enjoy a cookie. Even as I knew that I was scared to go to the top of the building, I had no idea that this is where my spark was ignited. #travelbugbegins
So we arrive at this enormous structure and I start to shake a bit. I’m not one for elevators or heights. Now I will be doing both. #uhohnervousbelly
I'm standing on the sidewalk looking up. Nervous as hell as I am about to step into this massive structure and be whisked to the top. The two imposing buildings look like they are swaying in the breeze. There was a moment, I thought of backing out. FTS.
I was feeling like a chicken and wanted to sit on the sidewalk and wait the two hours while the rest of the tour group was seeing New York City from a bird’s eye view.
We pile into the lobby, wait in line, get our picture taken... all the while, my palms are sweating and I am thinking of backing out. I don't think I can make it to the top. My legs begin to shake and feel like they will collapse under me.
"Breathe... just breathe."
The elevator doors open. We pile into the small cubicle that will whisk us to the top in less than a minute. I breathe again when the elevator stops on the 110th floor.
The doors open.
A wind gust about knocks me over. I edge along the interior wall. Scared and fighting the urge to pass out.
For those of you who know me, heights are not my friend!
Tommy, a NYC native and my brother-in-law, grabs my hand and pulls me to another door which leads me to straight to THE ROOF. New York from a bird's eye view is surprisingly calm!!
I have to go up higher? What? #iamscared
Another set of doors open and I can’t move. Tommy literally pushes me to go ahead. I stumble out, take a moment to breathe, and look around.
What sears in my memory as I recall this day: the crystal clear blue sky, how bright the sun shone, how hard it was to stand in the high winds, the crowds of people on the roof, and the views! I could see for miles!
New York .. is.. Ah-mazing! I was like Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic shouting, “I’m the king of the world”! I felt so large, for once in a long time, while the world seemed to lay at my feet, I began to feel the smile curl at the sides of my mouth.
I felt alive. That spark began to flame. I knew then that changes in my life were inevitable. #forward
My fear left. I eyed the world with a new set of eyes. Finally. My life has a new purpose.
From this height, the Statue of Liberty appeared to have disappeared. Tommy pointed out the boroughs, the ferries, the buildings below... I really was on top of the world. All of a sudden, I wasn’t afraid.
I LOVED THIS FEELING!
I then began to make life-changing decisions while standing on the roof. My world had been so small and now, I was ready to take that step, take that chance to continue on what I was experiencing.
If standing on top of the World Trade Center made me feel this way, what would stepping on to other lands feel like? #readytotravel
In that moment, I made a promise to myself. TRAVEL and SEE the world. I will come back in one year (July 2002), find this same spot and reflect.
Realizing my promise had changed, I chose to TRAVEL to the fullest. My first glimpse of the many adventures to come was seen from the World Trade Center.