A day in the life of Nik Wallenda

A day in the life of Wallenda

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -Nikolas Wallenda was born 40 years ago in Sarasota. With three TV specials involving Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon and Chicago, he's not a worldwide celebrity.

So what's it life like for him now?

When you arrive at Nik Wallenda's sprawling 15-acre property, there's something going on at every turn. His sister's son is playing in the driveway, a colleague is working in the garage, and inside the house, Nik is being a father and husband in the kitchen.

At every turn inside his house, there's something that lets you know the head of the household comes from a circus background. From the centerpiece in the dining room, to the wall hangings, to his office, which leaves no doubt you're in Nik Wallenda's home.

High-profile events and TV specials watched by millions have allowed Nik to move into the home of his dreams in a rural neighborhood east of the interstate. But this big backyard has a purpose - a long wire, 750-feet long, hangs there.

"We're putting up a 20,000-square foot building soon that will allow indoor training because of our weather being so strange here," Nik added.

In the backyard, we could see Nik's sister, Lijana, in the distance resting between practice walks on the wire. She's Nik's only sibling and a single mom who lives in Las Vegas. But before the walk in Times Square, she was in Sarasota to practice the walk again and again.

Nik says his sister isn't as outgoing as he is, despite also growing up in the spotlight, and says their relationship is special.

"When we got in trouble, we were sent to the back of an RV. Eleven months in the back of an air-stream most of our childhood," Nik recalled.

He began a family on the road.

One-on-One with Nik Wallenda

"We lived in an RV until I was 26. We had three kids so, I talk about it in my book that my marriage almost ended because of that."

But in the past seven years, since doing his death-defying acts on a worldwide stage, his life and his income clearly have changed.

"I pinch myself. I never imagined I'd be this blessed," Nik said. "To still live here but here and have everything I want."

But it has come at a price. He admits some family and friends have been jealous and are no longer as much in his life.

"Ask any successful person that, and that's your answer. I have been blessed with a platform beyond my wildest dreams. Never been a circus perform with TV specials, so I'm blessed, but with that I lost a lot of people, including people who I thought would be my closest friends for the rest of my life," Nik said.

But Nik’s not suffering. He’s been married for 19 years to the love of his life, has three kids and four pets. He also has had a strong faith all his life and a tight circle of friends, many of whom are on his staging team for events like the walk over Times Square.

Nik said, "I dreamt up this idea. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time. I performed at the Meadowlands as a kid and could see the skyline. Always intrigued by it. There was something mysterious about it. It's been on my bucket list for a long time and of course Times Square is Times Square."

You would think with other death defying feats, this wouldn't be stressful, but Nik said he's "Absolutely [nervous], no question."

"Just being in front of 20-plus million alone people is fairly daunting, then risking your life... I may be wearing a tether, but my career would be over if I had to use that tether so that changes nothing at all."

“I hope people are blown away,” Nik said. “Everyone’s on a wire trying to make it to the other side.”

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