Stop right there! I know what you’re thinking…I am not that gum smacking, loud talking tawdry leopard print pant wearing girl. This tale is a bit more subdued than the before mentioned character, well at least I think so. Before the craze and extreme popularity of the hit reality TV shows Jerseylicious, RHWNJ and Jersey Shore, the garden state wasn’t on the map the way it is now. Tourism was mediocre at best. My infinite curiosity didn’t lead me to this location as in most cases, this was also a work related trip. I was actually more excited to visit NJ than NY, imagine that… I wanted to find Vinnie (from the movie) and learn if it is really a mob hideout. Silly, I know, but it preserved my juvenile interest until I boarded the plane. I had also read about the entertainment there and look forward to squeezing some time out of my schedule to seek it. Luckily, I was traveling alone on this trip and it prove to be the beginning of a new love affair.
I land in Newark feeling like Mary Tyler Moore (old school TV show character), kind of confused, while girlishly excited about the new pursuit. I’ll have to tell you later about how I am freakishly infatuated with retro TV shows aired and produced in a time I was yet to be born. I get my rental car and head to the office for my training. It was nice to meet and learn from co-workers with a similar background as me, urban assertiveness, and straight-shooter approach with a down-to-earth mentality to keep them assessable. After the day’s training, we talk about hanging out later. We go to dinner and enjoy great conversation. I tell them I want to see some of the sights if time allows and they encouraged me to do so; however my days were filled with training and was now booked for PA for the second half of my tutorials. I grimaced at the idea of not doing anything fun, but I can’t complain because this is a business trip. Don’t  stare at the screen with a raised eyebrow, I see you. I am sure everyone who is reading this that has traveled for business for more than 2 days, would expect to get some kind of leisure experience, even if it was for just a few hours. I contemplated on my plan and I was actually able to fit a couple of things in , but the most exciting was Six Flags! They have the fastest coaster in North America debuting at the park, and I was destined to ride this baby! I read about it before I came and I said if I had to add on a personal day, I am going to do it. On the last day I finished training early – lovely. I head to the hotel to change into my thrill seeker outfit (still no leopard print) and head over to the park. It is on a week day, so hardly anyone is there which should make the lines short, so I thought. The other coasters had pretty reasonable wait times, but this new coaster was the main attraction and had half the park in its queue. I kept watching the clock, thinking…I need to get on this ride in a hurry or I am going to miss my flight (how am I going to explain this one to my manager). I waited with baited breath…still excited about getting on, but interrupted every 5 minutes by my apprehension of getting out of the line to make my flight. I finally get to board the ride! The first car and strapped in next to a Naval Pilot, it doesn’t get any better than this…he leans over and says, “this is like taking off in a rocket”! What the Pho??? I look at him with my eyes doubled the size and exhilaration in my heart – let’s do it! After all, this is what I waited for…the ride was everything I anticipated. Almost 2hrs of waiting for a 50 second thrill…but worth it. I am fulfilled and wish I could get back in line to do it again, but this pleasure Penelope has got to go. I bid my adieux to the pilot and headed to the car. I went back to the hotel to shower and change. Did I forget to mention my hotel is in PA?! I get on the road to head back to Newark – I made my flight, whew!
This is a story of pure excitement and pushing the envelope, which I attribute to the Jersey Girl attitude. They have this impetuous energy about them that I admire and appreciate. I crown myself as an honorary Jersey Girl in the name of this ridiculously impulsive act of achieving my completely unrealistic goal. Perhaps the vitality of the Jersey Shore air, or the subliminal influence of my vivacious east coast co-workers mixed with my own determination is what drove me to this edge. I walk away from this experience knowing that I can do anything I put my mind to, and most of all, how I enjoy the freedom of traveling alone. Perhaps this is the induction of my new credo for exploring all new roads ahead. Being alone allowed me to test my limits…hmm…I think I ‘m falling in love with myself. I say to you and anyone who will listen, when you think something is impossible to attain, consider all the stories of triumph (small and large), then remember if you commit to the task with focus and determination, there’s nothing you can’t do.
 Want to ride the rocket (formally known as “Kingda Ka”), or maybe just the normal person’s experience? Check out these links for good info on cool places to visit in the underestimated Jwerseey. Have fun and SAFE TRAVELS!

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