"Let me say just one more prayer!" I sheepishly muttered to the man holding my harness. Irritated, he gently nudges, "you've said enough prayers". I mean he was right. I was basically on my seventh prayer of Al-Fatiha by then. But at a time when all you're faced with is a 111 meter fall, what would you do?
Here's how it started:
On the lovely day before we left Zambia to head back to South Africa, we went to Victoria Falls. My friend had told me that there was bungee jumping and I kept raving about how I just HAD to do it! Going on and on about how long it had been on my bucket list, I was jumping no matter what!.
We went to the bridge and as I saw one person after another fall off of that bridge. Victoria Falls was no joke. My heart started racing, my hands got clammy. I was scared. I decided that if I was going to fall to my death, I needed a partner in crime. I asked my friends who was jumping with me? Anyone? Anyone at all? No-one was up for the task.
Thoughts raced through my head. Should I go alone? Can I go alone? But I need someone to do this too! I can't do this on my own. "Screw it", I thought to myself, " I'll just come back with someone who will jump with me!" Looking back, I wonder what the hell kind of logic that was? When was I ever going to come back to the Zambia/Zimbabwe border? When was I ever going to be back at Victoria Falls? When was I ever going to jump off of the bridge AT Victoria Falls? When was I going to do all of this again? I don't know! As it seems, I was lying to myself so I wouldn't feel as bad about chickening out of a task I raved for years about wanting to complete. Fear guided me in failing myself. I sheepishly settled for zip-lining.
Ok let me not downplay my zip-lining adventure. It was totally awesome! I went from Zambia to Zimbabwe on a freaking zip-line. How many people can say that? It gave me a rush, but not the one that I was looking for. I wanted more, and my only disappointment with zip-lining is that it wasn't the bungee jumping adventure I saw myself doing. With the adrenaline pumping through my veins from the zip-lining, I signed up for swinging (basically bungee jumping but right-side-up) and the big jump itself! End of life, here I come!
(Check out my zip-lining go-pro video here or at the end of this post!)
It was getting late, and the manager told me to come the next day to go on my extreme adventure. "Great!" I thought, "now I actually have time to think about this rash decision." I tossed and turned all night.
The next day was our flight out of Zambia back to South Africa where we would spend a couple days before heading back to the states. I needed to be at the airport by 12 latest, and headed out of the hostel we were staying at by 9am, to be the first bungee jumper/swinger of the day. Three hours was plenty of time, right?
Here's where it gets intense:
They suited me up to bungee jump and I remember thinking that if I was going to fall off a bridge 111 meters high, then I'm glad it's here. I sometimes question my sanity during this time.
I was suited and booted to jump off, and this is all I see...
Beautiful, I know, but also extremely frightening. I was jumping to my death, and I could feel tears welling up in my throat.
The staff were giving me all sorts of instructions and all I remember thinking is breathe, breathe, pray, breathe, breathe, pray, breathe, breathe, who cares about breathing when I'm about to die?! PRAY! PRAY! PRAY!
By my seventh prayer, the staff member was fed-up. I had watched him subtly push jumpers off the day before, and I did not want to be them! I was determined to be brave.
It was time. I heard them calling out "5...4...3...2...1" It was at this moment that I faced death. Free-falling is an experience unlike any other. Your stomach doesn't drop like when you're on a roller coaster, but you just feel...I guess, free!
(Check out my bungee jump go-pro video here or at the end of this post!)
For me, the scariest part of bungee jumping was finding the strength to do it. The strength to actually jump. To be able to let go of my inhibitions and act as I have always felt, WanderlustWad: Warrior Princess.
It seems silly I know, but ever since I've jumped, I feel different. And not a 'completely new person' type of different, but just different. I feel strong, and I feel badass, like I can conquer the world, and do anything, and go anywhere. I feel like I'm finally working towards becoming the me that I always knew I could be.
Here's where it gets interesting:
I had done it, bungee jumped and all, met face to face with death and kicked that sucker in the face! I could do anything! Except...make it to my flight on time?
So in the rush of the whole "finding myself" ordeal and discovering life and being the greatest wonder woman alive, I realized that it was 11:50. Please recall that I need to be at the airport no later than 12 to make my flight. Not to mention, I still needed to go back to the hostel to pick up my bags before I could head to the airport.
As my friend sat next to me in the taxi semi-freaking out, I was weirdly calm. I think it's because after I thought about it, I realized that if I was going to miss my flight, then I did it for a DAMN good reason, and I could live with that!
Here's my advice:
Bungee Jump! Skydive (next on my bucket list)! Zip-line! Do whatever your little heart desires. Whether it be performing on a stage, or learning to draw. Do not let anyone, especially yourself, get in the way. Don't let your fears hold you back from something you've always wanted to do. Don't allow yourself to make excuses for yourself! Own your life and take the risk! You will feel like you are on top of the world. Seemingly uncomfortable moments will not be so uncomfortable anymore. Seriously! What's talking to strangers at a networking event, when you just jumped out of a zooming airplane? Nothing!
I'm telling you, I feel capable of anything and everything. It's crazy that all I had to do was breathe and well...JUMP!
Check Out My Go-Pro Zip-Lining Video Here
Check Out My Go-Pro Bungee Jump Video Here
Share your crazy stories below, and let me know what fears you've conquered!
Stay Fearless & Happy Wandering...