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It all began when my friend Jo and I went to Costa Rica on vacation and decided to go crazy...and jumped off a waterfall. Okay, okay, we didn't just JUMP off a waterfall, we rappelled. But folks, it sure as hell felt like I was jumping! I have always had a fear of heights, and while I often force myself to face those fears and do that thing that I really, really don't want to do...this was much different. It was about 60 feet down and I was terrified! We had to face forward and jump backwards off the cliff, and I literally could NOT bring myself to do it for the longest time. I was so scared that my knees were shaking. So...the first of the 8 Crazy Things I've Done While Traveling is Waterfall Rappelling in Costa Rica! this is what really prompted me to face my fears, given any situation, and just go for it!
While I still have a fear of heights - I don't think that it will ever completely go away - doing these things have made me realize just how much I could miss out on if I didn't just do them anyway! Of course there are certain things that I will just never do, not only because of my fear of heights, but because they seem to have a far greater risk, such as sky diving and bungee cord jumping...but other stuff? Well, take a look at the rest of the 8 Crazy Things I've Done While Traveling!
8 Crazy Things I've Done While Traveling
White Water Rafting
Now, I actually went white water rafting in Costa Rica on that same trip, but my friend and I decided not to buy the CD with out photos. Instead, I'll share the photo of my family and my daughter's ex boyfriend, from the time we went White Water Rafting in North Carolina.
I've also been white water rafting in Tennessee while on a press trip - I swear, once you do it, you realize that it's not really THAT scary, and then you ALWAYS want to do it!
I have only done as high as a class 4 rapid, which can be scary, but once you get through it, you realize that it's not AS dangerous as you thought it would be. Now, I have to say that having an experienced guide managing the raft makes all of the difference - I would never know how to maneuver a rapid on my own. Once you realize that the guide is actually in control of the raft and that you're essentially just "helping," it is a lot less frightening.
Cage Diving with Great White Sharks in South Africa
When I took Angeline to South Africa for Spring Break in 2015, one of the things she most wanted to do (besides the safari in Pilanesburg National Park), was go cage diving with great white sharks...we are both huge followers of the Discovery Channel's Shark Week, and this was something we both have been fascinated by for years! So of course I booked the day trip....and then promptly tried to chicken out of going into the water.
The great white sharks weren't as big as I imagined they'd be - everything seems bigger and more intimidating on tv - but they were terrifying none the less...
Zip Lining in Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Florida
I have zip lined in several places, the first being in Florida in 2012 (I think?) on a blogger retreat. I was sooo scared, as this was actually the first time I'd ever faced my fear of heights. Now, I don't actually have any photos of that trip, but I do have a plethora of photos I've had taken in other places...like Costa Rica!
The first time I zip lined, I was afraid that the pulley system wouldn't work. I had visions of free falling through the air and smashing into the ground at 100 miles an hour, shattering into a million pieces, blood everywhere...
Clearly, that didn't happen. What did happen was an overwhelming sense of freedom, a surge of adrenaline, and my newfound favorite thing to do on vacation: zip lining! Since then, I have zip lined in Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico...and I think that I am forgetting somewhere. I've actually zip lined in most of those countries twice (or more!). The only time I am actually fearful while zip lining is that split second when the guide opens my caribiner and latches it onto the next one. I hold onto the tree for dear life. Ha!
Hot Air Balloon Ride in Dominican Republic and Orlando
For some reason, I have never had any fear when it comes to a hot air balloon. I think it's probably because I feel like I am safe in the basket, or that it feels like I am in a vehicle of some sort. There is just something about riding in a hot air balloon that makes me actually feel SAFE.
Swimming with Manatees in Homosassa, Florida
Now, this may not seem like a wild and crazy thing to do, but when I swam with manatees in Homossasa on a press trip last year, I was actually pretty nervous. Wild animals are wild animals, and they can be unpredictable. What if a fat ass manatee sat on me? What if I got pinned against a boat, or it shoved me into a boat motor? I had NO idea what to expect.
To be completely honest, I found them so boring that I didn't even bother getting back into the water for the second stop on our manatee tour.
Thank you to Stef at MommyMusings.com for this photo - this was the time I was NOT in the water.
Hang Gliding in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Okay, this one was actually pretty scary, yet somehow not as scary as waterfall rappelling in Costa Rica. There is like...no back up. No safety net. NOTHING.
That photo may make it seem like I was all confident and not scared at all, but it's a total front. Apparently I am quite the actress.
I kept wondering what would happen if the hang glider thing just suddenly DROPPED out of the air...but once we got up there and took off? Absolutely calm. It was such a slow, steady, smooth ride, I wasn't afraid at all.
I'd highly recommend giving hang gliding a try the next time you're presented with the opportunity!
Parasailing in St Pete, Florida
Oh geeze. This one is sort of embarrassing. I was given the opportunity to go parasailing during a press trip in 2018 and I almost didn't do it. I refused to agree until I actually got over there and had to make my final decision. I was with two of my best friends, also bloggers, on the same trip and they both wanted to do it, even though they were also pretty nervous. We made Rick go first, and once we saw that he didn't die - thanks for taking one for the team, Rick - Stef and I went together.
It was AMAZING, guys!! Completely not scary at all, completely liberating and the views? Breathtaking! You're totally all strapped in, and you don't really go high enough to even really worry about if the balloon begins to fall. And these guys totally know what they're doing! I actually felt super safe the entire time...and wished that I could go again!
Big thanks to Rick from Rick on the Rocks for snapping these pictures of us!
So, those are some of my most adventurous vacation activities. I would do them all again. I think at this point, the only thing I would NOT do is skydive or bungee jump. Those just seem a bit too risky...but we'll see. I said the same thing about most of the activities above, yet here we are....