At least that's what I told myself as I clung to a miniscule platform built around a jungle tree 100 feet up in the air. In front of me was the thin tightrope I had to traverse to get to the next platform way, way off in the distance.
When my daughter told me she wanted to go ziplining I was all like, "Yeah, great idea. So fun!" I've been ziplining before and am familiar with the procedure.
Ordinarily, you're strapped into a harness, climb a tree with a 'ziplining professional' who makes sure you're connected to an industrial strength cable in compliance with all applicable safety regulations. They show you how to push off, you take a deep breath and zip to the other platform where you're caught by another 'ziplining professional' who hooks you up to the next cable.
It's a lot like riding a roller coaster. You might be a little scared at first, but you do it and then you want to go again.
The name Adventure Challenge Ziplining didn't clue me in that this experience would be different.
Neither did the intense tutorial we got on the ground about safety precautions. I did start to get an inkling when our instructor insisted both my daughter and I complete a practice course on the ground two times before we could go up to the trees. But it wasn't until we were on that first platform and I realized we were all alone that panic set in.
"Aren't you coming up with us?" I called down to our instructor. "I notice no one's there to meet us on the second platform."
"Yes, very good. You go first, Lady!" he called giving me two thumbs up.
Did I mention his command of English was... well, I can't really complain because it was better than my command of Thai which is limited to 'Hello' and 'Thank you'.
I looked back at the tightrope I had to walk.
"Mom, are you scared?" asked my daughter from behind me. Her face was serious and I could tell this whole Adventure Ziplining thing had the potential to go either way. It could be an embarrassing defeat or a challenge we both overcame.
I hooked my crampons to the cable and then, in contradiction of Adventure Ziplining policy I hooked her up right behind me because, while there are many things I trust my daughter to do,
standing alone while she transfers the crampons designed to keep her from crashing 100 feet down to the jungle floor is not one of them. Since it was just the two of us up in the trees, there was no one there to stop me.
Although I'm not certain, it's possible that watching my daughter inch across that first tightrope was harder than crossing it myself. "You're halfway there," I told her. "Just look at me and keep coming." And she did! We hugged and did a (subdued) victory dance way up high on our platform in the trees.
Adventure Ziplining, it turns out, is one treacherous passage after another with the occasional zips thrown in for fun.
We leaped through the air landing on boards that swung and teetered under our weight. We inched across bouncy rubberbands and we balanced on round logs. We bounded. We flew. Despite the fact we were always safely harnessed, we still felt incredibly brave.
By the time we got to the zipping it felt like the easiest part of the course."Can I go first on the second half?" my daughter asked and of course I said yes.
It took us close to three hours to finish our tour of duty in the tree tops. By the time we climbed back to the ground our preliminary trepidations had disappeared. We were drenched with sweat, victory and an important mother/daughter life lesson. Sometimes the only thing standing between you and what you want to do is irrational fear. And in those instances, the best thing to do is pretend you're Indiana Jones until you actually believe it.