HangGlidingRIO2Before 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?)

HangGlidingRIOWhen 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?

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