How travel changed my life.

Thank you to everyone that entered our contest by submitting a story on how travel changed your life.  Travel has changed my life in so many ways and continues to do so with each trip I take.  Here’s a famous quote that I live by.
“To Travel is to Live” – by Hans Christian Andersen

Happy travels everyone!

Debbie Ross
Founder of the Womens Travel Network

Following is the winning story “Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb” by Carol from Calgary, Alberta.

Congratulations Carol,  you’ve  won a $100 spa gift certificate.  Enjoy! 

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Thanks for inviting me to contribute an experience from travel that changed my life.  I have so many however the one I’m going to share had a significant impact on me.

In Dec. 2014 I was booked on a cruise departing Sydney, Australia.  I had been in Sydney 4 or 5 times previously however this time I had a strong desire to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge.  The desire started in August of that year when my Australian friend and I were finalizing the cruise plans and my arrival in Sydney.  My friend Cheryl advised that she’d already climbed the bridge however she’d be willing to do it again.  I found this quite intriguing as I felt that it would be a once in a life time event that I’d have no desire to tackle again.  You see, I’m petrified of heights and couldn’t figure out what was propelling me to do it in the first place.  I just knew that I had to do it!

At 7:30 am Dec. 22nd, 2014 we made our way to the base of the bridge and the starting point of the climb.  After completing the required documentation and getting into the climbing attire, we were ready for our instructions and practice climb within the base of the building.  At that point I realized what I had just committed myself too and started to panic!  I practiced my calming tactics including meditation and EFT tapping.  I also reminded myself that I’d just paid $240 Australian dollars, so I’d better ‘suck it up’ and get on with it.  We walked along the pathway high above the cars and trains zooming across the bridge.  I was in awe of where I was and couldn’t believe that I was actually doing this.

The first major hurdle was climbing the ladders to get to the actual walk up to the top of the bridge.  Being extremely afraid of heights – tethered or not, this was my first real test at overcoming my greatest fear.  On the third step of the first of four ladders, ‘I froze’.  I had to decide whether to continue or not.  After a few words with myself, I took some deep breaths and calmly talked myself up step by step until I’d made it up all four ladders to the platform.  Shaking like a leaf and holding on for dear life I finally got to take my first look at the spectacular view.

As you can see by the attached photo I was absolutely beaming and amazed at where I was.  We carried on up to the top of the bridge, across the catwalk and down the other side.  The going down was far easier until I saw the ladders and realized that I would have to go down the same way that I’d gone up.  Once again, talking myself down step by step I managed to get safely back on level ground.

On that same trip I walked on the glass floor at the top of the Eureka Tower in Melbourne and then leaned against the glass windows at the top of the Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand.  Those two activities were not so daunting after the bridge climb however I would never have contemplated doing it before the climb.  I suddenly felt I had a new lease on life and was ready to try things that had scared me in the past. 

The most amazing part of this story occurred 6 weeks after returning to Canada.  I woke up one morning and said: “I’m done”.  That message was perfectly clear.  I was very calm.  That day I made the decision to close a business that I had started 9 years previously.  I didn’t know what I would do however I knew that it was the right decision.  Within a few months people started telling me that I looked ten years younger.  They wanted to know what I’d done.  Something happened to me when I climbed the bridge, I don’t know what, however I do know that something amazing happened and I’ve never been happier!

Today I can still tell you every detail about that climb and how amazing it was.  I’ll also tell you how it changed my life.  This is one of many events that have happened as I travel the world.  Travel has been a part of my life since I was in my teens.  I love exploring places and will continue to travel whenever the mood strikes me.

I hope you enjoy my short story of how travel changed my life.

To more travelling,

Cheers,

Carol

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