I am afraid of everything. But, I am not afraid to do anything.
It’s funny, when Samba Days gave me the opportunity to select from its seemingly endless list of gift experiences, rather than choose from categories such as Wine, Gourmet, Getaway, Body and Soul, or Life and Culture, I found myself choosing from Explore and Adventure.
Yes, I passed up the opportunity for delightful spa treatments and tasty pampering experiences to harness myself to a cable 35 feet above the hard, rocky ground, and wear (an impressively disinfected) helmet that may not have been conducive to maintaining my hairstyle, but was beneficial in making me feel like a stunt-double in a Michael Bay movie.
I went ziplining.
Ziplining is not one of those things I’ve always wanted to, or at least I never realized it was.
To soar across an open landscape at 45 kmh is something I often tried to do as a kid. Jumping off the rocking chair was the closest I ever got however.
And for that millisecond, I did fly. Of course, my imagination made that instant feel like an eon.
But on this day, I didn’t need my imagination; I just needed courage.
You see, I have been known to do crazy adventurous things...
But to accomplish feared feats does not make one fearless.
Some years ago, I was “Danger Girl,” a radio personality who started out broadcasting while submerged in a tank of water – for 48 hours – to raise money for sick kids.
I got the gig on the premise that I wasn’t afraid of anything. But, like I’ve told you, I’m afraid of everything. Especially water.
The instinctive response to fear is to walk away, but sometimes the logical response to fear is to face it. From far away it can seem much bigger than it actually is, and the closer you get the smaller it can become.
Two years ago, a lady in an SUV ran a red light and ran into my car and me – perhaps the worst and best thing that ever happened to me.
Suddenly, I realized I was not invincible. I have an expiry date. So, I want to take full advantage of the life I have and live it. Live big. (Though some may argue that my hair has always lived big.)
Now, standing on a staircase, made up of four steps, with 35 feet of air under it, with rocks and the hard ground under that, and a skull fracture and broken bones atop that, I look out at the 1000 feet of cable that runs from the top of the hill to the bottom, and realize something:
Four-year-olds have done this. In fact, a four-year-old is about to take to another zipline beside me.
And I’m off.
At around 45 kmh the flight is way faster than the ones I took from the rocking chair as a kid.
About 20-something seconds later, I’ve made my way down the hill, and a spring abruptly stops me. In an act of fury, perhaps determined to protect my head on its own, my hair throws my helmet off, and my head does hit the cable once stopped. And within that split second, the spring launches me forward.
Even without my helmet, I’ve managed to maintain Chicopee Tube Park’s “flawless” safety record.
And it’s back up the hill to fly again four more times.
Admittedly, if you have neck problems from, say, a car accident, the spring “landing” can feel a bit harsh, but if you’ve been in a car accident the overall experience of the adventure may make it worth it.
And a harness that adds a little J.Lo to your assets definitely makes it worth it.
After the ziplining, tubing serves almost as a digestif. On the same hill are two tubing courses made of some sort of slippery plastic: One windy, and one speedy.
Get comfy in your tube and slide right down with virtually zero element of fear, and without having to brave elements below zero.
Like sledding without snow, it’s perfect for a Canadian like me who hates winter.
(Hmm… am I still allowed to call myself Canadian?)
So there you have it. My first adventure as a Sambassador...
And I lived – big – to tell about it.
If you want to check out my complete zipline photo album, with perhaps some photos of me making a fool of myself, zip on over here.
And for my tubular escapades, check out these pics.