They say in space no one can hear you scream.
I hope the same is true for 300 feet up in a Mexican jungle, flying between the mountain tops, tethered by a seat harness and hanging on for dear life. If not, I left some terrified monkeys in my wake.
After 20 years of Mexican beach trips, I thought I knew what to expect: beachy days with my family under the palapa, foo-foo drinks in carved-out fruit topped with umbrellas, haggling in the flea market if we really wanted to step out. But last year a friend with whom we frequently travel, an otherwise very predictable and fairly proper woman, suggested we go zip-lining. After more than a bit of persuading, my husband and I, our 14-year-old daughter, and my friend and her husband booked a day trip for the mysterious sounding “canopy tour.”
Although the tour company guaranteed our safety, it was considerably out of our comfort zone. The canopy in question is that of the jungle rooftop. We climbed straight up the sides of trees, on skinny slat steps, rounding through the jungle on stepping stones that took us ever higher. We were helmeted, harnessed and wrapped in safety gear, with heavy duty leather gloves for gripping the hooks, cables and pulleys that were the only things between us and the river winding through the rocks nearly 100 meters below. The activity leaders were expert, patient and took every precaution. When I was finally pushed out from the safety of my tree perch, the jungle fell away behind me, the lush valley opened out before me, and my heart leapt into my throat.
It was gorgeous, wild, insanely exhilarating, and at least for me, very loud, as I didn’t even try to keep the shrieks in. Fourteen incredible swings from station to station later, we finally descended near the ground, and the adrenaline hadn’t even started to cool. My husband, behind me, was equally pumped by our adventure. He described it well, though. He said that if he had known what it entailed, he probably wouldn’t have gone, but he was thrilled that he had.
That, to me, sums up so much. I realized that afternoon that the wildest adventure of all isn’t the excursion we sought out for vacation diversion, but the one he and I embarked upon more than 20 years ago, having no idea what it would entail. When we set out on our future together, we looked forward to champagne and tuxedos, followed by setting up a merry home filled with family and friends. If someone had told us then that we would occasionally have to hold on for dear life, cursing our impetuousness and screaming into a jungle that couldn’t answer, we probably would’ve stopped in our tracks down the aisle. But we would have missed the excitement and fulfillment of saying yes to things unpredictable and out of our comfort zone.
Life together often feels like swinging free-style through the canopy. Sometimes the monkeys get terrified. But I wouldn’t have missed this adventure for the world. And even now knowing what it would entail, I would have gone.