Victoria Falls: Gorge Swing

One of the activities I had been really excited to do in Livingstone, Zambia was to swing off of the bridge over the lower Zambezi river that connects Zambia and Zimbabwe. 

Don't get me wrong, I was a bit nervous about it, but very gung ho.  So one afternoon we made the schlep to the bridge to watch the excitement.  First, we watched a guy bungee jump by hanging from his legs. The jumping part didn't seem so bad but watching confirmed that I had absolutely no desire to hang upside down for a couple of minutes over a rushing river waiting for someone to retrieve me.   I'm up for adventure and fun, but that just looked painful.  Everyone I had talked to who had bungee jumped off the bridge said they didn't really enjoy it as much as they thought they would.  On the other hand, swinging off the bridge came highly recommended.  Up next was a jumper who was going to swing and it looked a little something like this.

Something happened to me when I watched that jumper fall and keep falling - fear.  BIG FEAR.  Fear I didn't even know I could have just from watching.  It came quite unexpected as I am not afraid of heights.  I was beginning to second guess my desire to jump.  Luckily, one of our group members was recovering from being sick so we were going to wait a couple of days before making the big leap anyway.  On the other hand, this gave me a couple of days to fester in my fear. 

This was when I realized that I had a very real problem with fear.  Swinging off of that bridge was going to be by far the safest thing we did that week.  Even if I passed out during the jump, I would still be safe.  No one had ever died from jumping and there was still this part of me that wanted to do it.  Honestly, it made me wonder how much opportunity I'd been missing out on because of illogical fears.  When it came to cliff jumping that week I had chose the small jump on two different occasions.  Just moving to Malawi was 8 years in the making.  Was I allowing fear to rule my life more often than not? I questioned a lot of my life choices.

I decided to conquer my unnecessary fear this time and jump.  However, jumping off the bridge was a bit pricey and as it turns out there was a gorge swing in the area that was 1/3 of the price but only half as high.  I was once again overcoming my fears halfway, but I suppose you have to start somewhere.  The night before the jump I had difficulty sleeping.  My stomache was in knots and I was popping antacids like candy.  This sun did rise, I did get out of bed, and I did hop on the truck to take us to the gorge.  I decided to put on a brave face and feign excitement BUT I was terrified.  Yet....

 I put on the harness.

I walked out to the platform.

I shimmied to the edge.
(I didn't dare look down.)

I leaned back.

I fell!

I kept falling!

And, I triumphantly whoohooed, repeatedly.

This swing wasn't about being adventurous, this swing was about not letting unnecessary fear rule my life.  I conquered.  What have you conquered lately?  If you could use a little perspective when it comes to fear Seth Godin's book, Linchpin, is a book I have been reading that views fear from a different angle. 

Click here to read more about my Victoria Falls trip.

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