I had never been an adventurous girl. As a child, I read books, I wrote short stories and dramas and I loved to be in my room. I went outside to play quite a bit because my grandparents made sure we got some sun + exercise and because staying indoors could get boring.
I’d take my books outside, play on the monkey bars with my siblings and cousins, ride my bike, pick fruit from the trees, or play games till it was dark and time for dinner.
I never cared for thrills, save the ones I got from reading. From horror movies to rollercoasters, my first instinct was to cry; and cry I did. A lot. However, I’ve always had the travel bug.
Flying is one thing that didn’t and still doesn’t scare me.
I remember finding places in books and asking my parents if we could go there. My dad always had the same reply: “what’s happening there?” With a sad look on my face, I would ask him, “what needs to be happening there?”. He would reply with a chuckle and that would be the end of it. We spent almost all of our summers in Miami, and what it did for me was deepen my desire to explore the world. Thank you, Mom & Dad.
When I got old enough to plan my own adventures, I realized that there was so much I was scared to do.
So when I visited the Dominican Republic in 2013, I snorkeled, went white water rafting, surfed, jumped from high cliffs, zip-lined, rode up to waterfalls on horseback, and even prepared to rappel off a waterfall and go hang gliding. Unfortunately, the weather deterred the last two; but I had been willing.
I lost my phone to water in the DR and ended up losing all my pictures. The pictures here were taken by our guide on a GoPro. Lesson: Back up your backups
2014 in Key West; I helped my sister -despite my own nerves- face her fears when we went parasailing.
2015 in Mexico; My friend Mofi & I went on an adventure with a company called Aventuras Mayas. The activities included snorkeling in a cenote, zip lining, and rappelling. This time, I wasn’t mentally prepared to step off a building. Especially not one that was 70ft tall.
“Cenote” [seh-no-tey-] – a natural pit, or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath.
Walking up the building was in itself a daunting task, and as I climbed higher, my fear of heights started to kick in. Then I decided to look around me; the view was incredible. Despite my shaky legs and rapidly beating heart, I told myself I was going to enjoy this. So I walked to the ledge with Mofi, turned my back to the fall behind me and just let go. It is both the scariest and most exciting thing I’ve done to this day.
Now I’m not here to tell you to jump off cliffs and buildings if you don’t want to; but if you do, and the only reason you’re holding back is fear, trying might not be such a bad idea. I still have a long list of things I want to do that scare me e.g scuba diving, but my hope is that when the time comes, I’ll be able to enjoy them!
What are some novel travel experiences that challenged your fears? Leave me a comment to let me know!
Thank you for reading & be inspired to ditch your comfort zone!
Postscript: This piece was inspired by a similar one written by Ufuoma. You can read about her scariest travel experiences + how she overcame them here.
Same footprints, Different sands