The Beginning of my journey

Auckland to LA then to Tecoma/Seattle
August 24th 2005
I flew from NZ on a Qantas Flight to LA a 12 hour flight then transferred to a flight on Alaskan Airlines to SEATAC Airport
Tacoma/Seattle a 3 hour flight.  My wonderful friend Andy was there to meet me even though I was an hour late in arriving.
He drove me to my hotel the Shilo Inn in Tacoma, and helped me settle into my room then he had to leave and go back to
work.  I stayed at Shilo and each day went exploring, but the first day there I think I must have slept most of the day, I was
exhausted.   I will always have wonderful memories of my stay at the Shilo Inn. This was my first venture out into the world
alone and worth the courage it took me to start this journey.

I then went to Seattle for a few days.  Andy came and collected me and drove me there, then he had to return back to work so
made sure I was settled into my Hotel, Days Inn then he left,   After he had gone I decided to walk around and got myself lost
but saw the Space Needle, unfortunately I never went up it and I regret this. I hope to one day revisit Seattle and do this. Also
went to Pikes Market an interesting place. Seattle is very much like parts of New Zealand and I felt very much at home there .
I took a bus tour to Mt Rainier, such a beautiful mountain and well worth the tour. It was only a day trip.

The next day I returned to Tacoma by Grayline Buses. I went to the wrong bus station and ended up at Greyhound Buses,
what a terrible scary place. My bus fare home was $2.50 and that included 2 different buses, I was amazed how cheap it was.
The next day I wanted to visit the Tacoma Mall so started to walk, but went the wrong direction. I have a habit of getting lost.
I did a crazy thing and accepted a ride from a strange man. My thoughts were "well there are a lot of traffic lights I guess I can
always jump out". I got to the Mall safely and jumped out of the car the moment the guy stopped, with a quick thanks I was
gone. This is something I will never do again, I realised later the danger I had put myself into and I caught a cab back to my
hotel when I had finished shopping.
The traffic was crazy it was the Friday of the beginning of the Labour day weekend.  Tacoma is a place that will always hold
special memories for me as it was the start of my journey and my pursuit of travel. Some things I wish I had done differently
while there but you cant go back to the past only move on to the future. I do regret not returning to Tacoma for the last week
of your 2005 journey to complete the things that I didn’t do, maybe one day I will have the chance to go back and complete
those things,
Tacoma was my first experience of curb side check-in.   Andy had driven me there and I knew it was going to be the last time I
would probably ever see him and it was quite a shock to me. There was no time to say goodbyes other than a quick hug and I
was quite emotional leaving a place and a friend where I had such a good experience.

I sat in the airport lounge my eyes filled with tears because I felt very nervous about the next stage of my journey.  I was very
sad leaving a wonderful friend who would I would probably never get to share time with in person again. He was heading for
Germany and I was continuing on with my travels.

From Tacoma I then flew to LA then onto New York as that was the way my flight was booked, I should have flown directly
from SEATAC to JFK and have now learnt this for the future.

Arrival in New York JFK
September 4th 2005

Arrived at JFK midnight. Collected my baggage stepped outside the terminal and WOW I am finally in New York,  So many
yellow cabs people yelling, people everywhere. I caught a cab to my hotel. $45 plus bridge tolls. At that stage didn’t have a
clue what the cab driver was on about with bridge tolls and to be honest still cant see why I had to pay but never mind I
arrived safely to my hotel and that’s what mattered.  I was on a buzz.
My hotel room was amazing, like a Palace but I could only afford to stay there for one night, but it was my treat to myself.
Got settled in then went for a walk - got back at 2am in the morning. Silly me forgot my camera and I walked to Grand Central
Station, it was brilliant by night.
Next morning I checked out, originally I was going to stay with a friend from NY but that never happened, Met the guy and
didnt like him so decided to just be my own travel guide, but then I had to find a place to stay. I  sat at a place called Herald
Square and had a coffee. Got somebody to take my photo. Today was the Brazilian festival, never in my entire life have I seen
so many people in one place. I was a little overwhelmed so went off to explore Manhattan away from the crowds. Found
where I had to collect my tickets for my hop-on hop-off bus tour the next day. Good way to get to see the sights but I overslept
so missed out on the full day’s tour. Saw the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, also all the major buildings and various historic

It was my birthday - spent it alone but I had done what I set out to do _SPEND MY BIRTHDAY IN NEW YORK. It was a lovely
day just exploring the shops and the sights. I got lost when the bus returned to the terminal I thought I was getting off next to
the Empire State building which was only 2 blocks from my Hotel, but I was very wrong. The tour had ended and I had to find
my way back to my hotel. I was in peak hour pedestrian traffic SOOOO many people. My phone rang, it was a text from my
youngest son, he was upset with things at home and when I told him I was lost in Manhattan surrounded by thousands of
people he decided his problems were not quite so bad. But alls well that ends well, I found my way back and along the way
found the biggest TOY shop ever. A ferris wheel in the window. I just had to go inside and explore it.

That night I went to meet up with a friend that I had told I would meet in New York for my birthday. Jeff. He got such a
surprise that I had called as he didn’t know I was in the States. I had told him a long time back that I wanted to spend my
birthday in New York. So it was the day after my birthday but I was still in New York. We had a meal at Two Boots Restaurant
in Brooklyn. Had Jambalaya, this would have to be one of my all time favorite dinners now.  On the way from Manhattan to
Brooklyn I asked the Cab driver to stop on the top of the Manhattan Bridge so that I
could take a photo of the Brooklyn Bridge, "What Lady - are you crazy" - well the guy wouldn't talk to me, so if nothing else I
got him chatting.
The following morning, 4am I had to set off for JFK to continue on to the next stage of my US exploring tour. I did a terrible
thing, I was so tired I forgot to tip the Bell Boy when he put my bags into the Taxi, I wonder if he ever forgave me, but hey it is
4am in the morning and I haven’t got home from my dinner date until 2am.
Anyway off to Atlanta  I was heading.
  • My First Travel adventure alone
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