Before kids, (BK), I went tandem hang gliding in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Twice. First time, my pilot — a very cute 22 year old Carioca — forgot his camera. He told me that he would take me again for free. The first time we ran off the cliff together (literally) to start our ride, I closed my eyes. That’s how frightened I was.
On my second ride, this time with the camera, I made a deal with myself: I put my fear in a box. I told myself that today was not the day I was going to die. And I ran off the cliff with my eyes open. And I wasn’t scared — at all.
Would I do this again today? Running off a cliff with a 22 year-old Brazilian hang glider? Hell no! It’s crazy! What if I died? What about my kids? (And my husband?)
When I showed my parents these photos, their reaction was: “I’m glad you didn’t tell me you were going to do this. We can’t even look at these photos.” My parents are not adrenaline junkies. Our family takes more brain-based risks: graduate school, writing, book clubs.
So now that I’m a mom, I do reconsider the risks I take on my travel. I’ve always wanted to sky dive — but not so much anymore. I have less to prove to myself. I don’t need the adrenaline like I used to. But I do miss it. Then again, I do miss being a young woman traveling on my own.
I went ATVing last month. It was kinda treacherous, but only if I drove like an idiot. I would have to actively participate in my own demise. Still, I don’t want to lead a life led by fear. Challenging things that I still want to do include learning to surf in Costa Rica – or wherever, white water kayaking, preferably in Idaho, and heli-skiing. I like small, conquerable lists. I can always add on or create more.
How do you want to challenge yourself? And where?