Every life has a story, and every story has a lesson. Lessons made up of defining moments in a person’s life. Those moments that change you forever…
Little did my father know then, that his spur of the moment decision to pack the family into his 1979 Chrysler Cordoba, on a cold winter’s night, to drive us to New York City would be the moment I fell in love with travel.
Though my sisters and I were young, we knew that something special was about to happen as we stared out the window, watching the familiar Toronto backdrop slowly fade into oblivion. My father’s AM/FM radio played the hit tune “pass the dutchie on the left hand side,” until our excitement gave way to exhaustion and we fell asleep. This song will forever remind me of that special night when we set off on our first family vacation.
Hours later I awoke to the sun’s rays as I struggled to open my eyes, and when I did I found my father driving us through graffiti painted streets, old buildings with large fire escapes, and what I can only describe as the destitute. Far removed from the stylish SoHo we’ve come to know today with its endless designer boutiques and famous restaurants. What I saw before me felt so foreign from the little city I called home.
I continued to stare out the window in awe until the landscape began to change and dilapidated buildings gave way to skyscrapers and bill boards with flashing lights. Everything felt so different, so colorful, and in that instant something happened. After all, this was the New York City of Studio 54, artists, and a booming music scene. The place where people of different cultures, backgrounds, and sexual orientation came together to create an edgy and fascinating city, and I could feel its energy pulse through me. I was awestruck by the enormity of it all, as I lost myself among the buildings, yellow taxis, and sidewalks filled with fascinating people. Everyone walking with such confidant strides in the midst of chaos was captivating. In that moment I was forever changed for I had just discovered the allure of travel, that exciting rush you feel when discovering new places and I had become addicted.