The 103rd Floor


I have a minor fear of heights. I say minor because I don’t freak out like my mom. My knees would just buckle. So when I found myself standing in line with my hotel roommate along with a few of the group members in line to board the elevator to the 103rd floor of the Willis (Sears) Tower on the afternoon of my third day in Chicago, I couldn’t help but feel nervous.

The Willis Tower is the world’s tallest building structure after surpassing Taiwan’s 101 Tower. It was the Sears Tower until its name changed a few years ago. It was built with an impressive amount of material. I was a civil engineering major and wondered why I didn’t study this in my structural engineering class.

“You can always go back to the hotel,” someone told me when I addressed my fear with my roommate.

“Yeah, and get lost? No way, I’m sticking with you guys,” I said.

It’s sucks not having a smart phone or anything with a handy 4G internet connection. NO GPS and NO Google Map. I had no idea where I was even after wandering for three days. So what choice do I have but follow the group and I’ll just have to face my fear.

60 seconds. That’s how long the ride lasted. My ears pop several times as the elevator shot to the 103rd floor and then we arrived on the skydeck, the 103rd floor. I took a deep breath and followed the crowd out of the elevator. I can do this, I told myself.

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The view was spectacular. I could see all the city and more. In the above picture, you can even see one of the drawbridges shooting sky high.

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This is another view on another side of the tower. If you’re wondering, this wasn’t the part I was afraid of.

On one side of the Skydeck, there are two glass ledges. When you are standing on it, it makes you feel like you’re floating mid-air. That’t the part that freaks me out. I was afraid that if I look down, my legs would go weak and shake.

“Can you hold my hand and help me out there?” I asked my roommate shamefully. After sharing a room for three days, she had become kind of a big sister to me. She agreed.

We got in line and my turn arrived, I grabbed onto my roommate’s arm like an old lady as she led out to the ledge. As I stood there, I realized that it wasn’t that bad. Maybe I’m not as afraid of height as I led myself to believe.

Don’t I look victorious in this picture?

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I even decided to take a picture of down below. I felt as though I’m standing on top of the world.

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After that, we made our way back to the elevator while taking a few additional photos.

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I am fascinated by the construction of complex freeways. You can see they’re constructing a new section of freeway.

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“No way!” I said suddenly. That’s our hotel, that narrow long rectangular building. I didn’t understand. How could it be that close? Still, I think I’d probably get lost trying to find it.

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I think that’s the freeway. So different. So much more complex than where I live now.

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Daily Post Photo Challenge – Victory

18 thoughts on “The 103rd Floor

  1. I suffer a similar phobia myself, I used to joke I got Vertigo standing up to my full height. When I was at College we did a trip around some of the National Parks of North America. When we were at one of them (Moab or Arches National Park I think, it’s been 15 years) there was a ledge between two parts and you could see all the way down. Group photo was announced… three guesses who took the photo.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This brought back memories. I visited the tower about 20 years ago. It’s such an incredible view, even my fear of heights was quenched (mostly) when I reached the top. You were very brave to stand on that plexi-glass section. Thank you for sharing that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, I was very nervous but once I stepped on the glass and peeked down and all I saw was the roof of the buildings and my reflection, my fear went away. I think it’s only in open air that I’m afraid of heights.

      Liked by 1 person

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