I’m on the edge. My heart beats harshly against my chest as adrenaline surges through my body. Not even my pride can stop me from admitting that I am petrified. Fear grips me and I am immobilised. Unable to do anything. What the hell am I doing?
Having decided that one day of tubing was enough I wanted to see what else the surrounding areas of Vang Vieng had to offer. A short tuk tuk ride away was the Blue Lagoon. Taking a break from the usual idle pastime of watching friends in a lie down bar, I thought the Blue Lagoon sounded like a pleasant idea.
After a rather bumpy ride through some picturesque countryside we arrived at the Blue Lagoon. There are some caves close by so off we went exploring donning some trendy head torches. Deep in the caves we tried turning off the lights and walking round in the pitch black. I wouldn’t recommend it.
Making it safely out of the cave the Blue Lagoon awaited. There is a tall tree right above the lagoon and as we approached there were some people jumping off the tree. Seemed like a good idea to me!
I paced up the length of the tree manoeuvring to the top with ease, edged along to the overhang and took it all in. Then it hit me. This was not a good idea.
Amar you are afraid of heights. What part of this did you think was a good idea? I was stuck. My pride wouldn’t allow me to back down and yet my fear wouldn’t allow me to jump. I tried counting down; 1, 2…3….3…..3…….3…nothing.
Time started to drag and even worse I was standing in between where some ants were and where they wanted to be. The length of a fingernail, these red ants were painful little nippers. The painful bites would make most people either want to jump or at the very least fall out the tree. Still nothing.
Time started to drag and a small crowd had started to form as they casual ate lunch and gazed up at the idiot who was stuck in a tree. The tuk tuk drivers had also gathered on the small bridge to have a giggle. My audience even started to either taunt me or offer words of encouragement.
The longer I stayed up the less likely it was I was going to jump. After an hour it was time to go. I either had to jump or climb down. It pains me to say it, I climbed down. I sat in the tuk tuk all the way back in stunned silence, embarrassed at my inaction. A tree had bested me. I burnt with humiliation and I swore this wasn’t over.
This isn’t the end of the tale. Fast forward to a couple of months later, a tour in Queensland stopped off at a waterfall. You could either swim at the base or better yet jump off the waterfall. This was my time for redemption.
I didn’t think, I just climbed, scrambled up the rocks and mud right to the top. Standing on the edge peering down, the cascading water seemed to slow and I could hear each thud against my chest. No. You are not getting me again. Jump.
Next thing I know I am deep in the water kicking upwards. I break the surface like an Olympic diver winning a gold medal. The cards read; 10, 10, 10. I bloody did it! I had finally redeemed myself.
A lot of people don’t have an irrational fear of heights and would quite happily jump off a cliff or ride a rollercoaster. I am not one of those people. Jumping off that waterfall was a personal triumph, my own victory over my personal demons.
My leap of faith was quite a literal one but what jumps have you made recently? Buy that one way ticket to Australia, tell that person you love them, go for that dream job, and write that book you never started. Don’t get stuck in a tree.
Amar was born and raised in England and embarked on an 11-country round-the-world gap year after graduation and then became well and truly hooked. The first gap year inspired a second, which ended up being a 23-country down-the-world trip from Canada to Antarctica. Since then, Amar has spent the last 14 years traveling the 7 continents.