Go Ahead, Imagine a Jump!

I was just checking my site stats and I was a bit surprised to find out that there’s still some people visiting my blog, even though I haven’t been writing for a while now.

Probably some of them are relatives and friends coming here to check what I’m up to. But there are also random people who end up here while searching for “euromast”, “euromast rotterdam zipline”, “abseilen euromast”, “euromast tower gliding”. And searching for that, they find this.

It’s interesting how that is my most read post of 2011. Well, it was Freshly Pressed (yay!), so it’s not that strange that so many people had read it. But it’s funny how they still find out about it, just searching stuff on Google.

So I went back to that post and I read it one more time.

And even though one of the things I should learn to do is to stop looking back and look forward, I think that I can and should look back at the feeling of that day. How I was feeling scared, but how I was able to overcome my fears, do something I was afraid of, and enjoy it! I should always keep that in mind. Specially when I feel scared of doing something, which is quite often.

Overcoming fears is also the theme of a blog I’ve recently started following. Since I first read it I could see a lot of myself on what it was said about feeling anxious, scared and insecure. But even though I read and relate to it, I have never left a comment. I don’t know exactly why…no, actually I do. What stops me is that I think that whatever comment I may make, it can’t be that interesting. Or something like that. How silly, right?

So what to do about that? Well, first of all leave a comment there. And then let be inspired by that blog’s example. I know for a fact that the world outside your comfort zone can be full of surprises (most of the time nice ones ;-)).

As I let myself (not so gently!) fall from the Euromast, I might as well jump once again out of my comfort zone and see what I find!

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How I Jumped Off the Euromast and Survived

Last week I was on the Internet (wasting time, as usual) and I found out about this: abseiling and the zip wire of the Euromast.

I knew about the Euromast, and I knew that you can go abseiling there (abseiling meaning “a vertically controlled descent down at an independent climbing rope”). One of my classmates at the Dutch course I took (ja, I took a Dutch course!) did it and showed me some pictures.

The zip wire was something new for me. Well, not the zip wire itself, but the zip wire at the Euromast. Anyway, I don’t know why, but I tought “This is something I could do”.

The thought “I can do it” soon became “I want to do it”, then “I book it” and finally “I’m going to do it”. Since yesterday I can say “I did it!”.

So here’s how it went.

The zip wire at the Euromast is available every last Sunday of the month, from May to September. At the end of August we’ll probably be travelling, at the end of September we might be moving (but that’s another story), so we had to decide between the last Sunday of June (yesterday) and the last one of July. Why wait the end of July, if you can do it in a week? So we booked our descent for yesterday around 1:30 p.m.

I had less than a week to think about it, imagine how it would go and get scared. I looked at the pictures on the website, I even found some videos on YouTube, and it didn’t look that scary to me. Yes, you’re practically falling from 100m, but you’re all tied up, it lasts just about 15 seconds…it’s not a big deal, is it? So, I wasn’t feeling scared. I actually almost forgot about it, until Friday or Saturday.

The weekend approaching reminded me that we had something programmed for Sunday. That “something” was falling from 100m at a 100km per hour speed!  And I started having second thoughts, maybe it was better not to go, not to do it. But there was also another voice inside me saying “Come on! You’re afraid? So what?! Just do it!”.

Saturday night I even had a dream (nightmare?!) about it. I don’t remember exactly what happened in the dream, just that after taking the elevator to go up, I had to wait for one hour or so before my descent. And I think the most you wait, the most you have time to get scared!

Luckily, I think that it took just 15-20 minutes from the moment we entered the Euromast, paid the tickets, signed the disclaimer (“If something happens to you, it’s not our problem”) and the moment I actually went on the zip wire.

We arrived at the zip wire point and a big guy that looked like Mr Clean welcomed us saying something in Dutch. Ehm, can you speak English? Right now my brain is going “Aaaaahhhhh!!!!”, I don’t think I can speak Dutch, or speak at all for that matter.

I was then harnessed, and hooked on the  zip wire. There were two other guys there, one of them started explaining me what to do and what was going to happen. He told me to sit on the edge of the railing, facing outwards, slide down a little bit and stand. He told me that they were going to count to 3, then I had to bend my knees and I would start falling.

Well, I think he said those things. I guess a part of my brain was actually listening! The other part was going “It’s freaking high up here!!! I don’t want to do this anymore!!! What was I thinking!?!? I’m going to have a heart attack!!! I want my mom!!!”. Pretty brave, uh!!

Anyway, I obediently did what the guy told me to do, and even if I almost wanted to scream “I don’t want to do it!! I don’t want to do it!! I don’t want to do it!!”, all I could say (ehm whisper) was “I’m kind of scared…”. Yeah, right! Kind of scared, that’s kind of an understatement!

He was very nice and told me not to worry. It was perfectly normal to feel scared, it was even a good thing, and I was not the first one to feel like that. OK, if you say so…

Too late for second thoughts. One…two…three…bend your knees!

And whoosh! I started falling. Fast. And faster.

For about 4 seconds I was literally breathless. I don’t know if I closed my eyes. For sure I was not looking around me, at first. Then I started realizing that I was suspended mid air, descending fast. I thought “I did it! I’m here and I’m doing it!”.

Whoooo!!

Yes, I screamed a bit. A little, liberating scream.

After just a few seconds, I arrived at the landing spot where there were other guys who helped me land safely (but still in a clumsy and awkward way!) and took me off the zip wire.

I then waited for M. to make his landing, and we went back up to return harness and hooks, look at the pictures they’ve taken of us, and then enjoy the view of Rotterdam from the Euromast in a less adventurous way. Even though another crazy thing happened…but that’s another story, maybe another time.

So how was it after all? Scary, that’s for sure! But a great experience, and a good way to test yourself, see what you’re capable of, overcome your fears, and be thrilled with an adrenaline rush!

Before doing it, I thought that I would have enjoyed it  so much that I would have wanted to do it again. Well…no! At least not in a short time, I guess. I did enjoyed it very much, but I’m still feeling scared when I think about sitting on the edge, bending my knees and falling…

I’m proud of myself. I think I needed it to forget my insecurities, and see that even if something looks scary, you just have to try and go for it.

Count to three and let yourself go!