I am all about adventure and trying new things. Even if the activity scares the crap out of me, at least after I do it the first time I can say I tried.
I have been able to tackle my adventurous side and my fears with ziplining and Tarzan swinging in Monteverde, Costa Rica; horseback riding in Patagonia, Argentina and nighttime kayaking in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.
Ziplining in Costa Rica
Sure ziplining sounds fun – but in the rain? The guides told us it would be extra fun because the rain makes you go faster. Really? The guides went through the coordination required, these prison looking suits we would need to wear to keep us dry and the caution that was needed because of the rain. And that, was what made me decide to be hooked to a guide for this adventure. My coordination isn’t the best and the waivers we had to sign didn’t make me feel all that comfortable with my coordination on wires over the trees, in the rain.
A guide had to go first and last to keep the flow of the group going. They wanted me or the 12-year-old boy to go with the first guide. The 12-year-old told me to go first and I tried to get him to go first but was not successful. I’ve got to say, it was good I went first because I don’t know that I would have gone if I saw someone else go first.
I don’t remember much about the first leg, but the boyfriend does. He said the group heard my screams even when they couldn’t see me anymore. He said they had quite a laugh but did not tell me about it until after the third leg. Once I agreed to continue after the third leg, I was in it until the end. You had to do at least three zips, because an easy out exit was after number three if you decided that you didn’t want to continue on the longest zip line experience in Costa Rica.
The guide, Eduardo, had a good sense of humor and didn’t seem to mind that a twenty-something girl was attached to him, and screaming, over the Costa Rican canopy.
2- The Tarzan swing was an option post-zip line before a hike through the rainforest. Nearly everyone in our group did it, and I decided I could suck it up for a few minutes. And that dear readers is definitely one thing I will never do again. Prior to my Tarzan adventure, the guides told us the chances were slim to see animals in their habitat in the rain. After my blood-curdling screams, we were assured that the chances were nil that we would see any animals.
3 – I crossed the equator and went to another continent to ride my first horse. When we arrived to the estancia (ranch) – the main gaucho (cowboy) asked how much riding experience everyone had. I was the only one who had never been on a horse. Of course I was. He assigned me the horse they give to children. The boyfriend got the ranch horse that they bring in for these tourist rides if they need an extra horse. We had to head uphill at several points, so one of the backup gauchos rode alongside me (I think it’s because the first time, I may have pulled on the reins too hard). Riding on this working farm with the Andes as our setting took my breath away, along with some of my nerves – and I’m certain that the Xanax I took before we arrived at the ranch helped too.
Found out after the ride, that riding in the States, one normally sits on a saddle. There were no saddles. Just a blanket. Each rider only had the reins to hold onto, not that horn on a saddle. Because I had the horse they give to kids, there was a rope attached to the blanket that I could hold on to if I needed backup, rather than holding the reins too hard and essentially choking my horse.
Have you seen a pattern? Not only do I have fears about some of these activities I partake in, but it’s always that much harder, with an unexpected twist. I can’t zipline on a sunny day, it has to be pouring rain. I travel to the other side of the Equator to finally get on a horse, and I hardly have anything to hold on to for my sanity.
4 – When the boyfriend and I started dating we went to Puerto Rico a few months later. We visited the island of Culebra. To get there you could take a 3 hour ferry, or a 20 minute flight. The plane was so small and the radar nil, we were able to videotape our plane ride. Also, I sat right behind the pilot in this eight seater. For all but the takeoff and landing all we saw below was water. This didn’t scare me at all.
What scared me was the nighttime kayaking and swim in the lagoon with bioluminescent creatures. Let me go back and say that I was the one who found this and booked it. This was something I wanted to do. Until I had to get into the kayak, in the dark. At the time, I had never even been in a kayak, in daytime, much less, in pitch black. After we got going, I was good. Did hear other people fall into the water because their kayaking skills were not up to par. Thankfully the boyfriend had kayaked before. He had told me to just lift my oars since I did not have much coordination and was probably slowing us down. Instead I used my oars to protect myself from the branches of the mangrove trees he kept driving us into (guess he wasn’t all that good). When I heard from other kayakers that there were bats overhead, my mind immediately sent me to the ER for emergency rabies shots.
But the experience was amazing, especially when we got into the lagoon. The guide had us all get into a circular formation so he could tie up the kayaks so we could use it as a dock for when we jumped into the water. I freaked. Totally froze. The boyfriend went into the water and was telling me that I was the one who found this (true), I was the one who was totally excited for it (true) and I was the one who even bought an underwater camera to capture the bioluminescence (true). So I jumped in and after freaking out for a few seconds, calmed down and was totally able to enjoy the bioluminescent bay experience. (I can’t find any of our photos, so either we didn’t take any, or they didn’t come out).
For those readers of you who joined me on Spring Break in Cancun back in college, I had a similar reaction when we drove the jetskis out for a snorkeling trip and we had to jump in the water. The last jetski tied up had to be the first duo to jump in. Guess who was on that last jetski to be tied up…
As I attacked each of these fears, I realized I am afraid of getting hurt. I think signing waivers makes me nervous. But once I jump in, whether it’s off a cliff for a free fall or into a lagoon in the pitch black darkness, I attack those fears, one adventure at a time. If you miss out on experiences just because of fear, whatever the fear is (mine is getting hurt) how will you know you won’t just enjoy the experience if you don’t at least try?