Adventure, Central America, Costa Rica

On ziplining and not holding the bags

September 17, 2011

My career as an adrenaline junkie began as a 3 year old, when I threw myself off a living room cabinet at least twice as high as I was.

It ended in a late night doctor’s surgery, my mother holding my head down while the doctor stitched up the back of my head. 

I’d like to say I’ve become more fearful as I’ve gotten older, but the truth is that apart from that one time, I’ve never been a risk taker. At theme parks, I chose the carousel while everyone else was on the roller coaster.

On a work trip to New Zealand, birthplace of the bungy jump, I turned down all-expenses-paid sky dives, opting instead to watch those more ballsy than me throw themselves off a bridge and into a gorge outside Queenstown.

A few months later, I swam with dolphins off the coast of Western Australia and went hot air ballooning over Cairns – not because I’d chosen to but because it was work and I was being paid to do it. (To qualify: the dolphin swimming was incredible. The hot air ballooning? Meh.)

Hot air ballooning Cairns

When you travel to Costa Rica, there are certain questions other travellers ask you:

Have you been ziplining? What was whitewater rafting like? Are you going to do a bungy jump? 

My answers to those questions would usually be: no. I don’t know. And no freaking way. I am more than happy to watch my friends participate in potentially deadly activities. But me? Participate? I don’t think so.

But then I met someone. A fellow Australian, she felt the same way I did about adrenaline activities.

But on her trip to Central America she had decided that she wouldn’t be (in her words) ‘the one left holding the bags’ while her companions were off having fun.  

And hadn’t I resolved (as well as taking more photographs) to say YES as much as possible on this leg of my trip RTW, even when I really want to say no?

And so on a drizzling Monteverde morning in the cloud forest of Costa Rica, I got kitted up with cables and carabiners that were apparently going to stop me from plummeting from the zip lines stretched above the canopy to my death.

The guy behind me in this incredibly flattering portrait was one of the guides.

He also ended up being my ‘taxi’ when I decided that the panic I felt on the first couple of wires would probably result in either my braking arm being wrenched off or, even worse, my braking arm stopping myself completely in the middle of an 800m long cable, where I would turn in useless circles on the wire, stuck above a small (though admittedly picturesque) valley.

So yes, in Costa Rica I went ziplining. Even if I did do it the cheat’s way.

But I said yes when I really wanted to say no. I lived to tell the tale. And do you know what?

I actually had fun.

And for once, it wasn’t me holding the bags and looking up at my friends, shouting encouragement from the safest of vantage points.

At least until we got to the Tarzan swing. Because? I am not insane. Unlike other travel bloggers I know!


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  • Reply Mark September 18, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Ahhh it’s all coming together now. A serious hit to the head as child… Just kidding, good on you for taking the plunge and doing some ziplining. Looks really cool! I l really like the idea of saying ‘yes’ as much as possible when travelling, I’ll have to remember that one for the next adventure 🙂

  • Reply Claire September 21, 2011 at 7:33 am

    Haha, this is how I feel about my volcano boarding experience in Nicaragua. I did it, but I don’t think coming down at 2 mph really counts. But I lived to tell about it, so that’s all that matters! Good for you for saying YES!

  • Reply Kyle September 24, 2011 at 10:04 am

    EEEK! Way to be brave and do it! I’d be scared, but I think I’d do it too. Though only if other people were making me. I wouldn’t choose to go on my own….

  • Reply Elise @ Positive World Travel September 24, 2011 at 10:27 am

    I feel the same way as you….although, here in Quito after all the ziplining, volcano boarding, mountain biking I’ve done, it was climbing up bloody to the top of a bloody church on these rickety ladders that had my knees knocking together!!!

    • Reply MeganRTW September 30, 2011 at 11:19 pm

      Wow Elise, sounds like you guys did way more than I did in Quito!! I am wondering what church…haha 😀

  • Reply GRRRL TRAVELER September 26, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Yay! congrats! Doesn’t matter if you did it the cheat’s way or not. You did it.

    I’m not a radical adventurist either. Not in the way we define it in the West. We all test ourselves in different ways and I think there’s a bit of “adrenaline junkie” in all of us. But what triggers our adrenaline is different. 😉

    • Reply MeganRTW September 30, 2011 at 11:18 pm

      That’s so true Christine! I just prefer not to seek out my triggers 😀

  • Reply Julie October 7, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Woohoo! Good for you! We’ll have to seek out some adventure when you’re back.
    Sorry for making you go hot air ballooning all those years ago. At least it wasn’t white water rafting.

    • Reply MeganRTW October 8, 2011 at 7:20 am

      Haha it wasn’t so bad in the end 😀 But yes, thank god it wasn’t white water rafting!! Not sure I could have held on to my professionalism in a life jacket and helmet, clinging to the raft and sobbing in pure terror 😀

  • Reply Micamyx|Senyorita October 15, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Woot congratulations Megan!

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