Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Big East Coast Adventure

Having spent about 1004857 days in bed (ok not really but that is surely how it felt!!) I decided it was time for an adventure. 

And, typical, I didnt just dip my toe in and test the water first - I jumped, cannon-balled, right into the deep end. 

Starting first with an Amtrak ride to Philadelphia.  This was my first real train trip in my adult years and I was doing it in a wheelchair.  My nerves were pretty ok - cant say the same for my poor mother. 

Arriving at the train station I went first to the train information desk, promptly asking "how will I be riding the train?" while pointing to my chair.  To which the witty and smiley at 7am on a Saturday morning attendant responded "we'll tie you to the top and you'll be on your way!".  Points for Amtrak for not taking themselves too seriously (Im looking at you Airlines).

Traveling with a wheelchair/disability comes with perks: for one, prioirity boarding.  Amtrak also has elevator lifts for chairs to get into the train.  The access point for wheelchair seating is at the front of the train car; your wheelchair goes straight in front of you while you are able to transfer to a normal seat.  They even have wheelchair accessible bathrooms!  Very impressed by the Amtrak experience.

7 hours or so later I arrived downtown Philly and was met by my bestie Regina and friends Nicole and 'Dela.  We went straight to the Italian Festival, which had some of the most yummy festival food I have ever had. 

I also got to meet one of my football legends, Troy Polamaul.  It was quite an experience - being in Eagles country and meeting a Steelers football god.  My trip was made. 

After a few more days of lovely best friend living it was on to the next stop - Washington DC.  I ubered myself to the train station and then took another commuter train from Philly to DC.  

All. by. myself.  #whatttttt

DC is always an adventure and pulls on my heart strings.  I have had a love affair with that city since I visited as a young child.  It was my dream to live there and when given the opportunity I jumped at it without a second glance back.  Like all good love affairs, mine with DC ended tragically and quickly, with an uproot and goodbye that was basically a whisper in the middle of the night.  Going back brings back all the memories of "the lasts"; the last time I went to work, the last time I went for a run, the last time I wasnt sick.  

But, my few days there was still a nice visit, mostly spend relaxing and sleeping and Pitch Perfect 2-ing. (:

Then came the road trip part - meeting my family in DC and then heading down to the Outer Banks for two weeks.  If you have never been to the Outer Banks, it is quite an experience.  We travel all the way down the island, where it is pretty much deserted.  You have only yourself, your family, and the ocean for entertainment.  And it is beautiful.

We had 14 days of absolutely beautiful weather - 70-80 degrees, little humidity, nice breezes. 

I rented a beach wheelchair and this thing was a BEAST.  It was functional and helped me get to and from the shore but it definitely had room for improvement (for all those wondering for future use).

It did feel great to be able to feel the sand between my feet and sit in the waves. 

One of the days we took a ferry ride across the bay side to the island of Okracoke.  Learned in a few ways that there is such a big difference between handicapped accessible and wheelchair accessible. 

But we did find a restaurant that had great food and a ramp so it was basically heaven on earth.  

We spent our days either by the ocean or pool, reading, playing bocci ball, jeeping, going for walks (obviously I rocked at this).  

So many accomplishments in just a few short 3 weeks; its crazy to believe that I was dying just a few short months ago.  It just goes to show that no matter what comes your way, it's a choice to either dread through it or LIVE it up, no matter what your limitations say.   We are each limited in our ways, but it's really up to you to determine if you will be defined by your limitations or despite them.  

Definitely choosing the despite them path.  but how can you not with the above view?

So, where should I go next?

(If you have any travel questions, please feel free to contact me - I'd be happy to chat with you about how I blindly conquered the train, the uber, and the flying).