||VAWN HIMMELSBACH, Chic Savvy Travels
I was flipping through a magazine the other day and came across an article about “most embarrassing travel moments.” The winner was a woman who went bungee jumping and lied about her weight to the super-hot instructor, telling him she was about 10 pounds less than she actually weighed. As a result, when she jumped, she didn’t graze the surface of the river below — she plunged in waist deep and, when she rebounded out of the water, her top was gone. You can see why this woman won.
Thankfully, I’ve never lost my top while bungee jumping, but I can recall plenty of stupid things I’ve done while traveling — more, perhaps, than I’d like to remember. Years ago, I went white-water kayaking on the tributaries of the River Kwai in Thailand. I was with a group of Aussies and Kiwis (and a super-hot guide), and we had the choice to kayak solo or with a partner.
Now, I had never been in a kayak before, let alone navigated one through some serious rapids, but I figured, hey, I’m Canadian, I’ve been in a canoe (though always on a placid lake with other people actually steering it). And with that flawed logic, I decided to head into the rapids on my own.
It probably comes as no surprise that, when I hit the first set of rapids, I went flying out of the kayak. I still remember a Kiwi couple effortlessly gliding past me in their kayak, yelling out with concern, “Are you okay?” as I was dragged through the rapids clinging onto the upside-down kayak trying to act all casual. I made it through, regrouped, then did it all over again when I hit the second set of rapids.
With two days of kayaking still ahead of us, our guide (yes, the super-hot one) forced me to partner up with someone far more competent than me — and made me sit in front, so I couldn’t steer. To further my embarrassment, I managed to rip my forearms to shreds in a bunch of thorn bushes because I was chit-chatting and waving my arms around. Thankfully, it was nothing that a bonfire under the stars and a little Mekong whiskey couldn’t cure.
Travel, to me, is about pushing my limits, about trying all sorts of things I never thought I’d do. But I’ve learned it’s also about accepting your limits. Clearly, there’s a lot more at stake than a bruised ego.
A few years ago I trekked to Everest Base Camp, and I met several people along the way who were determined to get there, no matter what the cost. Of course I wanted to reach Base Camp too, but I had learned (through growing up in the Canadian North) not to mess around with Mother Nature. A little frost-bite from a night of bar-hopping taught me that lesson pretty quickly.
I did make it to Base Camp, and it was pretty cool (literally and figuratively), but from the start I had accepted the fact that I might not make it. And I was okay with that. It was one of those cliché revelations — that travel is about the journey, not the destination. And when I think about those two weeks hiking through the Himalayas, there are moments that stand out more than actually standing at Base Camp.
So get out there and push your limits — just don’t lose your shirt over it.
Date Added: June 28, 2011 | Comments (0)
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