A ROAD TRIP.
There's so much I love about traveling: the "not-quite-home" feeling of hotel rooms, the excitement and uncertainty of navigating by map. I love meeting new people and tasting new food. I even love turnpike rest stops!
My mom, friend Jen, and I aim downtown and start WALKING. (Map in hand, of course!)
Third Avenue in Midtown Manhattan unfolds before us like a 4-lane highway. As the street numbers drop, the big buildings fade into cafés, restaurants, and corner groceries.
But there’s another reason we want to stop in. The bar belongs to Matt Long, the New York City firefighter who inspired me with his book, The Long Run. More than a year ago, my PT Julie turned me on to Matt’s story, which involved a bicycle accident eerily similar to my own. Matt’s recovery, struggle, and ultimate accomplishments still offer me strength at my weakest moments.
Last winter, when I wrote the post In Training, I sent Matt an e-mail.
And he replied with this encouraging message:
We'd planned to walk the Brooklyn Bridge, but that gets scrapped -- at least until spring!
Modern buildings sprout up as if they've grown there too.
There's even a view of the Statue of Liberty...
The garden is barren, but spirits up here are bright. Dozens of walkers pass us, heads wrapped tightly, smiling bravely into the cold.
Anna, the oldest, is 10. This means I haven't seen Chip and Charlotte in more than a decade!
|Mom's old flip phone|
is just plain
Thankfully, the wind’s settled down enough for me to walk without holding on!
|Anna's feet give my Genium|
a dose of boot envy!
The kids are STAR STRUCK…
(Right kid, wrong TV show...)
|Wind Chill = -2 degrees!|
On Monday morning at just past 6, Mom, Jen, and I trek a half-mile to Rockefeller Center. The sun hasn't cleared the skyscrapers yet, but the plaza sparkles with anticipation.
Before we know it, Today Show cameras are rolling. Packed into a bundled crowd, we watch the broadcast on the outside monitors. Our fingers freeze against the metal railings as we proudly display our signs for TV audiences everywhere to see.
But there's surprisingly little action out here. It’s so cold that Al Roker reports the weather INSIDE. Yes, Mom, I’m glad you talked me out of wearing shorts!
|Gabby's a true fan!|
Click to read her sign...
When the weekend's done, we've covered 7 1/2 miles in less than 48 hours! Miles fly when you're having fun.
And the trip is fun.
But not EASY.
At every turn, there are sensations and worries that distract me from my surroundings. On crutches, a hotel room is like a foreign language. The change in schedule jet-lags my intestines. And the Genium is a good sport, but not quite as forgiving as my old leg.
In almost 1000 miles, I've tried to put these things behind me. But after nearly 2 years of "traveling," I still can't escape The Way Life Should Be.
Sure, I can choose to rest safely at home. But isn't it better to push out into the world, thankful for each glimpse of what I once had -- or might have?
Having come this far, I'm convinced the only way to get good at something is to PRACTICE.
There was a time when the longest distance I could walk was between two dining room chairs. There was a time when bike riding and skating seemed like pipe dreams.
I only hope that learning to travel again works the same way. That with every step, it will get easier and easier.
So I'll do it again and again.
As they say on Broadway, the show must go on.
Thanks to Mom and Jen for their endless patience -- and tolerance for the cold! And for all the old friends and new ones in NYC. Couldn't have done it without you!