In 2001, Launceston woman Kristy Chugg was 22-years old and travelling the world.
After spending 12-months in Canada on a working holiday visa, Ms Chugg had caught a bus from Toronto into New York City on the morning of September 11.
In what she describes as a swathe of "sliding door moments", her attempts to get to the Twin Towers to buy cheap Broadway tickets had been thwarted since the moment she arrived in Manhattan.
"First I had a drink bottle and I left it on the bus so I walked back to get that," she said.
"Then I got the hostel and I stopped and got directions, but I'm not very good at following directions so I stopped to get directions again.
"And by then someone pointed out that a plane had crashed it into one of the buildings. We could see it in the distance."
Ms Chugg said that initially, she and the other onlookers were horrified but assumed they were witnessing a freak accident.
"And then the second plane went in," she said.
We stood there and watched the building start to fall down and you could see debris falling and then you could see people jumping out the windows.Kristy Chugg
"It was from a distance but you could tell what it was."
Despite the pandemonium she had been thrust in as a young, solo traveller Ms Chugg describes the week following September 11 with reverence.
With the airports closed and all flights cancelled, she and the other young travellers in the backpacker hostel joined the city in its mourning.
The whole city just stopped. There were missing posters everywhere and it was heartbreaking to see.Kristy Chugg
"You were meeting people who'd love their loved ones, you're seeing people losing it, hysterical on the street and people panicking because they didn't have mobile phones and they couldn't contact the people they knew were working in those buildings."
"I think it helped me to cope. You're more worried about the people around you and thinking about how you would feel if it was your loved one in that building."
Ms Chugg said the media coverage in the aftermath didn't adequately capture the moments of humanity that those in New York experienced together.
"I think the media show you the worst parts, but being in New York you were part of the mourning and while it was such an awful thing it was beautiful to see the city come together," she said.
"There were vigils in the streets to honour those that had died.
"There was chalk notes written on the pavement and candles and it was nice to be part of that.
"It really was like a funeral, we were part of saying goodbye and paying tribute."
A week later, Ms Chugg managed to get a flight out of New York and return to Australia.
"I had planned to travel for another six months but I had to get home and hug my family," she said.
Ms Chugg credits Garry from Travel Land Launceston for getting her one of the first available flights back to Australia.
"I remember the flight we went out on was one of the first," she said.
"When we landed everyone cheered."
What do you think? Send us a letter to the editor: