I’m afraid of A LOT of things.
Deep water diving.
Commitment. (Just kidding!)
The list goes on and on…
Yet, the one fear that I have that has been especially limiting is my fear of heights.
Do I want to jump off of that 40 foot cliff into the ocean? NOPE.
Skydive? NO WAY.
Bungee jump? FORGET ABOUT IT.
I’m aware that this is a very common fear and I feel some comfort in that, yet I feel that at the root of all fears is the fear of the scariest thing of all… DYING.
Not to get morbid or anything, but I am always convinced that I am going to die.
“This is it. This is how I go. Goodbye mom and dad.”
And yet, it has never happened. Obviously.
Knowing that most people only die once, I have tried to be more intentional about facing my fears and trying new things.
I figure that if I’m going to die it mine as be while doing something cool.
After all, being afraid that you are going to die is no way to live.
You can quote me on that.
I don’t know what force of nature or higher power compelled me to sign up for rock climbing, but I did.
I simply walked into Goodtime Adventures, filled out a form, and paid my deposit. Simple enough. They told me to be back at 10am the next day.
I slept soundly that night. I think I was in denial.
Learning to Rock Climb in Koh Tao
The first half of the day was simply learning the ropes (pun intended).
We learned how to tie knots, belay for other climbers, what phrases to use, and, most important, how to be safe.
Of course, we were only practicing on a flight of stairs at that point. I jokingly told the instructor, “Welp, that’s enough climbing for me.”
He wasn’t having it.
After lunch, we met up again and that’s when the nerves started kicking in. Good thing I hadn’t had curry for lunch.
After a bumpy taxi ride, we get to the mountain, and instantly I’m like NOPENOPENOPENOPENOPE.
I wasn’t alone in my feelings either, as one of the other girls straight up REFUSED to climb it. Maybe she was onto something…
We were told to free climb about ten feet up and to the left, hook up our safety and then our rope, and repel down.
I had NEVER repelled before.
I don’t think I had even climbed over ten feet before… and that was a gym climbing wall with colored rocks!
The instructor said I had to do it. He wasn’t messing around.
Defiantly I did it, mostly because I wanted to show him I wasn’t a little wimp.
I clung onto the wall for dear life and crawled slower than a sloth on a Sunday.
I made it. I triple checked everything. I contemplated the safety standards of a small island in Southern Thailand. I wasn’t feeling especially confident.
But there was nowhere to go but down.
I repelled down…….
I came out of my mental blackout.
And we hadn’t even started yet.
Over the course of 4 hours, we were introduced to 6 different climbs. I attempted all of them. I completed 4 of them. On the other two, I made it half way.
And I felt like a goddamn mountain warrior goddess.
Maybe it was the “booty rap” that I insisted that they play on the iPhone. Maybe it was the fact that I had chugged two Coca Colas.
Or that I was just so naturally high on adrenaline that my body went into Super Climb Mode without me having a say in the matter.
But I LOVED it.
Absolutely loved it.
A few days later, I went climbing again and completed some more difficult climbs.
I was so proud of myself. (And I was able to gloat at the instructor)
And I was amazed.
Because on a whim I had decided to try something I was totally terrified of and in the process I found a new hobby that I hope to continue from now on.
I gave myself a mental pat on the back.
I felt good to not die. #fearconquered?
Who knows, maybe in a year from now I will be jumping out of an airplane.
A little tip though…
it really helps to not look down.