As I stood atop the bridge, my breathe started to quicken and my heart began to pound, my thoughts jumbled together into a blurb, “What have I signed up for? There’s so much more I want to do with my life, so much more to experience. Can I turn back now?”
However, there was no more time to think as the instructor counted down “3, 2, 1,” I hesitated, I admit I hesitated if only for a second, as I debated the risk versus the reward. And then without any further thought I jumped.
â–º SEMI FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
That was the summer that I promised myself that I would stop living a life based on fear and “what ifs.” I spent that summer in Nepal, a place that’s filled with opposites and contradictions, a place that has an extraordinary mixture between the old and the new. Walking down a street in the capital city, Kathmandu, I would find a tall glossy glass supermarket next to an old crumbling concrete clothing store. I’d see motorcycles zooming past sacred cows that strolled across the street at their leisurely pace. When walking in the capital city, it seemed impossible to escape the noise of car horns and screeching brakes, and then I’d turn a corner and find a hidden nook set up for prayer, where the noise of the streets didn’t seem to reach.
Up in the hills of Nepal it was incredibly serene and peaceful. It was there that I became part of the contradiction; when I broke the peace with my loud piercing screams, when I decided in that moment closest to death, that I wanted to live.
Look at my first jump:
I was never really the type of person to go bungee jumping; I was originally just there to support my brother when he took the leap. But as I waited, the words “once in a lifetime experience” kept swirling around me as strangers who had recently become friends encouraged me to jump. I was still debating it as the instructors strapped me into the harness and I looked down at the 100 meter drop to the wide rushing river, and the large rocks breaking the flow of the waves. Even when the instructor finished counting down to one, and even when I had taken the leap, I was still debating it. My eyes were wide open, and fear pulsed through my veins as the river filled my vision. I felt my legs moving trying to backpedal up to the bridge as if I could undo the jump.
Somewhere in that 100 meter drop, I realized that there was no turning back. There there’s just to live and experience each second as it comes and passes. So, my screams began to die away and I felt myself enjoying the fall, savoring the pressure of the wind on my face and the beauty of the majestic mountains that surrounded me and I just thought to myself “I’m not dead yet.” In that moment I vowed to myself that whenever I do die, at whatever age it is, I’ll be able to say to myself “what a wonderful full life I led,” not, “I missed so much, there’s so much more I wanted to do.” I made a promise to myself, that I would fill this life with all that it has to offer, and that fear would never hinder me again.
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