Friday, May 22, 2015

Adrenaline Junkie Travel: Bungee Lately?

Traveling itself is a rush. Charting new territory with new people and if you do it right, completely embracing the culture around you. But sometimes you need a little more ... the thrill of danger. Not the fear of being pick-pocketed in a crowded metro or missing the last train to Istanbul, but blood pumping-through-your-veins, black-out inducing fear.

For me, not really. I don't ever need that type of fear. But I've found myself in a few of those situations, and thought I'd reminisce my top five terrifying travels.

5.) Alligator Swamp Tour. Skimming atop the water in a motorboat admiring the flowing cypress trees sounds like a peaceful way to spend the day. But add in ornery alligators and spiders falling from the sky, and you just might not be so relaxed in your seat. Outside of New Orleans, Louisiana, I cruised the bayou and my heart skipped a few beats when we had to swat a gator from our boat that lurched about twelve inches from my toes.

4) Desert Dune Bashing. When in the Arabian desert faced with endless golden dunes, why wouldn't you hitch a ride in an all-terrain vehicle and rip up the sand? It's quite at thrill plowing up and down the hills, executing hair-pin turns and watching the sand fly and mask the windshield ... that is until the grown man sitting next to you projectile vomits his cumin-laced lunch all over your hijab.

3) White Water Rafting. My first time white water rafting I joined five adventurous travelers in a bright yellow raft to navigate the level four rapids on Tully River in eastern Australia. Quickly becoming drenched, swirling through the turbulent white waters and paddling in and out of fierce rapids was exhilarating ... but probably not as much fun for the girl who face planted into a boulder and was carried out of the river with a broken nose.

2) Skydiving. Jumping out of an airplane should be pretty memorable, right? That's what I thought. So despite the fact that it was ridiculously dangerous and I had no desire to do it, I committed myself and a friend as a surprise gift for his 50th birthday. Surprise it was when I told him what we were in for that morning as we headed to the airport. The crew and our tandem jump partners were highly skilled at distraction techniques as we ascended to our jumping altitude of 14,000 feet. My plummet to the earth was only mildly terrifying as I free fell for 70 seconds and then deployed my trusty parachute to enjoy the view of the central Tennessee foothills. My friend had an entirely different experience. When his partner reached to deploy their parachute, the cords were tangled. The pair violently spun in circles and sped through the air at 120 mph for painfully long moments until the instructor was able to cut the faulty chute loose and hoped like hell the back-up was intact. Hugs all around and possibly a few tears when they reached the ground but definitely a memorable experience achieved.

1) Bungee Jumping. In the Rainforest. Over Water. At Night. Definitely not my idea of a good time or anything I would ever aspire to do. When I boarded the bus for "Extreme Spring Break" in Sydney, Australia, I was thinking more along the lines of extreme fun or extreme partying. I couldn't have been more wrong. First event on the agenda was extreme bungee jumping outside of Cairns. As I sipped my vodka soda and prepared to watch the death-wished jumpers, I shook my head at what an idiotic and dangerous sport it was. Bouncing up and down on a wiry cord, back vertebrae stretching and crushing, strapped by the ankles, diving more than 160 feet above a murky dark lake ... pure genius. I watched in amusement as several people jumped but noticed that my friends were noticeably absent from the queue
After a while I decided I needed to mount the 196-stair platform and provide some apparently much-needed positive encouragement. Upon reaching the top I was greeted with anxiety and tears. I can't really explain the sequence of events that transpired, but before I knew it my ankles were strapped and I was waving at the camera. There's proof that I blacked-out well before I took the plunge, and I'm not sure how many times I bounced or if I screamed, but the next thing I knew a handful of men were trying to wrangle me into a boat. Good times.

1 comment: