I can’t remember the exact moment I added Niagara Falls to my bucket list. I think it was after binge-watching ‘The Office’ for the 100th time—you know the episode, when Jim and Pam have to get married on the tour boat because everything was going wrong back at the church. I remember thinking, “Wow, Niagara Falls is such a cool spot. It’s beautiful, natural, and only six hours from me. So why haven’t I seen it yet?”
In college and my early twenties, I took a lot of time to explore other countries. I trekked around Italy, ate Sushi in Japan, drank beer in Germany, hiked through Greece, but there was so much about my own country that I needed to explore. So, I made it a goal to try to see more of my own country, putting Niagara at the top of my list. I didn’t really have a deadline, but more of a ‘when I can I will’ type of attitude, with the hope that one day I could stand at the top of the falls and watch the water rush over the side.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have a career that sends me to many industry events around the country, and this has allowed me to explore cities that normally I’d never actively seek out. In many cases, I may only have a few hours to spend in a location before hopping back onto a flight, so I rely heavily on the Internet to lead me to the must-see spots. Such was the case with my most recent business trip up to Buffalo, NY, with one exception—I knew exactly where I wanted to go.
I always say that when given the opportunity to explore somewhere new, you should always accept. Maybe it’s my wanderlust attitude, or just my love for adventure, but put me in a new location for a few hours and I will easily entertain myself.
For this particular trip, I did all of my planning on the fly. I knew I wanted to see the falls, so getting there just required a quick recommendation from my hotel. I stayed at the Buffalo Niagara Marriott, which is tucked between Niagara and Buffalo, so it made more sense to rent a car instead of rely on taxis to get around—it also gave me more freedom. Being a city girl, driving isn’t something I do on a daily basis, so getting behind the wheel was invigorating. It just added to the excitement of what was already going to be a tremendous day.
With trips like this, it’s important to take in as much as you can in the time frame you are given. For me, travel always gives me a kind of natural high, so I actively seek out adventure, but in short time frames, sometimes I have to compromise the big adventure with something within my means. Luckily for this trip, I had all afternoon to explore, so I really got to take in everything the falls had to offer.
I should also mention that I did this trip to Niagara Falls by myself. Under no circumstances should you ever let being alone prevent you from doing something you love. For me, seeing new places is important, so I’ve learned to enjoy my alone time. So what if I was hopping on a tour boat by myself? I did it because I wanted to, because the regret of not going was bigger than people feeling sorry for me because I was by myself. These trips have become almost therapeutic for me—when reality starts to overwhelm me, I tend to travel not exactly to get away, but to remind myself of the beauty in this world. Niagara was able to give me just that, and it came at such a perfect time. Plus, I wasn’t sure when I would get this close to the falls again, and I really wanted to go.
And I am so glad I did.
Niagara Falls is a wonder that everyone should see. The site is stunning—just think about the first settlers to come across it. You travel for miles along mountain ranges, coming to the flat valleys near the lakes, and suddenly…BOOM! The river you were following suddenly drops. Today, the site is surrounded by commercial properties—casinos, hotels, dinosaur mini golf—but it’s the falls that still sticks in your mind.
So, as I mentioned before, you should always say yes to an adventure. When I saw that I could walk across a bridge to the Canadian side of the falls, I was ecstatic that I had brought my passport—it was time to cross into another country simply because I could. Sometimes that is the only reason you need to do something—because you can. And when it comes to travel, saying yes to adventure is important, because the reward is ALWAYS worth it. You only live once, so walk to Canada.