Happy Women Who Wander day! For those who don’t yet know, Women Who Wander is a series I have on my blog where other women can write about their solo adventures. Each and every week I read a new post, and every time I am inspired by the stories I read. Hopefully through these stories, a few of you will also find the inspiration you’ve been looking for. Though travel is a major part of my life, I feel self care should always come first. And sometimes, we deserve a little treat for overcoming hard times! This week, Rhiannon talks about finally fulfilling her dream and heading off to NYC after overcoming hard times of her own.
Rhiannon is a travel blogger based in Adelaide, Australia. She hopes to continue traveling the world with her partner, and one day wants to live somewhere in Japan. When she’s not traveling, she’s helping others to do so over at her blog, Rhiannon Travels!
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Have you ever dreamt about something for such a long time, you become extremely impatient for that dream to become a reality? That’s how I felt about New York City. I craved visiting the city that I had grown up watching all over TV and the internet. I don’t know what drew me to New York so much, but I know that I just had to visit one day and wouldn’t stop until I did.
Back in June of 2015, I embarked on my first solo travel adventure. It wasn’t a completely solo experience since I was traveling with a Contiki group, but it was still the first time I had flown by myself on a plane, and I was very excited. I decided to throw caution to the wind and book a solo trip, because I couldn’t wait any longer to live my dream. I can’t even count the number of nights I spent dreaming about the day I would finally step foot into Times Square, and look up in awe at the flashing neon lights.
After living with anorexia for the previous six years, I wanted something for myself. I had worked harder than ever before to get to where I was. I fought with everything I had, dug my way out of the clutches of a mental illness and came out the other side. I’ll admit – I was proud of myself.
So, I decided to go for it.
I found a tour that sounded exactly like my cup of tea, and was sold the moment I read that I’d be spending five days in New York City. I was already excited, and nothing had even been booked yet. Given that it was my first time traveling alone, I decided to book through a travel agency. They did all the work for me. All I had to do was wait patiently until the day my travel documents arrived.
When I finally received the email to say my documents were ready to pick up, it started to become very real. In a mere seven days, I would be on my first international flight, completely solo. No family members to embarrass as I laugh out (very) loud to an episode of Mr. Bean. Yes, that’s a true story. No one to complain to when I can’t sleep, or the kid behind me is kicking my seat.
The day of departure finally arrived, and I will always remember the feeling I had as I walked onto the plane. I couldn’t stop smiling as I stared out the window, watching as Adelaide flew beneath me. I had dreamt about this moment for such a long time, so having to sit through a fifteen hour flight was very difficult. Having the entire row to myself, however, made it a bit more bearable.
The first week of Contiki flew by.
In the back of my head, no matter where I was or what we were doing, I knew I would be in New York soon. My patience at the best of times is questionable. So you can imagine how annoying I was, the days leading up to our flight from Las Vegas to New York City. I’m not normally a window seat person (I prefer the aisle) but just this one time, I had to see absolutely everything. Every New York tree, every New York highway, every single one of New York’s tall buildings. I had to see it all.
We arrived in New York six or so hours later and although it was quite late at night, we decided to head out and explore a little. After being taken by bus to our hotel, we checked in, dropped off our luggage and caught the New York City Subway for the very first time, to Times Square.
To this day, almost three years later, I still remember every moment. I remember hearing traffic driving above our heads, music playing and the chatter of a crazy amount of people walking by. We stepped out of the Subway and turned around, and I stood in awe as Times Square appeared before my eyes. After 20 odd years dreaming about visiting New York City, I had finally made it. I don’t think there will be many other moments in my life that can compare to that one. Dreaming about visiting a place for so long, saving enough money, fighting through the hardest time in my life and being able to say I have been to New York City, is always something I will remember forever.
That Dream Come True Moment
I lived through a six year long eating disorder, pushed through the hardest time of my life, and was finally living my dream. I remember looking out over New York City from the observation deck of the Top of the Rock, in absolute amazement. All of those photos I had grown up seeing, the classic Central Park and Empire State Building shots – I was there experiencing it for myself.
Having a dream is the best motivation out there. I waited almost 20 years to visit New York City, and although it took me a little longer to get there than I hoped, I finally made it. I lived my dream and to this day, I still can’t believe it.
One day I will return to New York. Next time though, I hope to visit with my partner. Being able to have that experience together, will be ten times more wonderful than the first time.
Finally, If you are interested in writing for Women Who Wander, you can contact me at email@example.com. Can’t wait to share your stories