At this moment, when the AJ Hackett crewmember with the neck tattoo invites “Who’s next?,” I feel liberated by a decision to give up. Ignore the 134 meters between us and New Zealand’s Nevis River; remove my harness with the maturity of someone who understands her limitations.
“Take a leap of faith tonight,” Kelli hums to me, quoting a Kiwi band from the radio. This is the place that never sleeps, where your dreams are brought to life….
If she offers further words of advice, I’m not listening. My heart is frozen, my legs turned into licorice sticks as I’m seated and ankle-sheathed. No light-hearted conversation, just positive reinforcements from the crew. “Stand up? You won’t regret it – move forward please – ready to go?”
A crewman has his hand on my spine, preventing me from shuffling backward. For the last time, I observe my feet. Mere centimeters separate white rubber soles from the open abyss.
It’s impossible. I can’t do it.
Or can I? A leap of faith – is that not the placement of your belief over the clatter of your distrust? Willingly choosing to step beyond daily boundaries for places yet unknown? Travel, in all its entirety?
Maybe it’s just the 8.5 second ground rush of a hysterical American tourist shrieking “Sh******” as she releases herself into the blustery effects of gravity for the first time.
Independent of weight or direction, arms hanging like tentacles and bladder bursting, my freedom is a choice. Nothing to hold me back but a length of elastic. (This 2009 experience was adapted for submission to the WeSaidGoTravel’s Independence Travel Writing Competition).
Today, obstacles defined me, and I struggled to answer, “Ready to go?” What held you back today, and how did you throw yourself beyond it?