The Science Nerd

Pure Adrenaline

April 3, 2012

As you probably know by now, Gayle and I went to ZipQuest yesterday.  ZipQuest is a 2.5 hour zipline adventure through a North Carolina forest.  Our tour began at 1:30, and by 2:15 I was happy to be there.  I did not start out super excited about this trip.  It was something Gayle really wanted to do when she recovered from having major surgery in December and I wanted to be supportive – I really did.

So I stressed and worried and went back and forth about participating in her recovery zip.  For a while, I told myself that if she got enough people to go with her, I could just stand back and watch, holding everyone’s stuff while they went off and flew through the air.  Now that I think about it, that’s what I’ve been doing my entire life – standing back and letting others have fun.  Even when I was little, during recess at school, I would volunteer to be “permanent holder” and hold one end of the jump rope while others jumped.  I was afraid to take a turn.  In college when we would go to Magic Mountain or other amusement parks, I would hold people’s stuff while they rode the roller coasters and had a great time.

Well, not this trip.  About 2 weeks before our scheduled zip day, I made a decision.  Yes, I might be scared, terrified actually,  (Frequently walking down a flight of stairs is frightening to me) but I was going to do this.  I convinced myself that it wasn’t dangerous and just made the choice that I was going to go, participate and have fun, no matter how scared I was.  Celebrating Gayle’s recovery and return to health was more important than a little fear.

And it all worked – until the moment I was strapped to the first zip line and Patrick, one of our guides, told me to go ahead.  I couldn’t let go.  I turned to Patrick and said, “I’m not going anywhere am I?”, meaning “If I let go, I won’t fall straight down to the ground, right?”.  His reply – “Not right now,  you have to let go first.”  So, after a few deep breaths, I did it – I let go.  Here is Gayle’s video of my first ever zip.

Note the look on my face, and the tone of my voice.  I wasn’t having the greatest time.  But, I kept going.  And each one got a little easier.  Stepping off every platform still took a conscious decision and a mental push, but after a while, I was able to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings and even the rush of flying through the air.

Here is the video of a later zip.  It’s obvious by the tone in my voice that I am having fun!  And I was!  It was an amazing experience.

On the ride home, there was plenty of time for me to reflect on the day and how it really could change my life if I let it.  The biggest thing I realized was that I wanted to remember that terrifying feeling just before I stepped off the platforms and let the zipline carry me on.  I need to stop equating that feeling with stopping, backing down or giving up.   I want to remember in all situations, that even though I might be scared out of my mind, the important thing is to step out and enjoy the ride.

I would recommend a ZipQuest vacation to anyone!  The staff was friendly, patient, fun – the perfect guides!  I knew they actually cared about us having the best experience we could; they were not just out there punching a clock, waiting for the day to end.

I think our next adventure will either be Rock Climbing and Rappelling in the North Carolina mountains or a zipline course through the Redwoods in California.  Either way, I will be scared, but willing to let go and have fun!

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