Travel can really make you face your fears and take you out of your comfort zone. It challenges you by putting you in different situations and with people who push you. In Central America, I faced two of my biggest fears by climbing Tikal and swimming with sharks. Here is what I wrote on the road: I’m feeling very proud of myself and our group today. Over the past week we have all faced fears and really pushed our limits with things that scare us. It hasn’t been something I was expecting but its such an exhilarating feeling to say we’ve done it. I have a real knee-shaking, heart-racing, tear-inducing fear of heights and so did one or two of my fellow travellers. We challenged this when we went to Tikal.
The temples were incredible and the setting couldn’t have been better. Suddenly in a opening of the jungle trees, you glimpse the first temple and it is breathtaking. Towering above us, they were dominating features and it began to feel like you could step back in time.
Climbing halfway up to look across at the main complex gave a fantastic view. I loved exploring and being able to walk around these ancient ruins. The views from every angle were spectacular!
It soon became time to face the tallest temple and set off up the wooden stairs to the top. I was really nervous and I know a fellow traveller Sam was terrified of heights. Our tour guide Alex asked us to push ourselves and face our fears. Off we went and…
We all made it to the top! It was a big step for me to do this even feeling so scared my legs shook. My heart was pounding and occasionally I would look down through a gap and get a jolt of terror but I kept going. This made me feel very proud.
During our snorkelling tour, we went to Shark and Ray Alley. This was the second stop and I was last in the water! I’ve always felt nervous about getting in the water with big fish and mammals so the nurse sharks (although they have no teeth, still looked menacing!) and stingrays were a challenge. We had some people in the group who didn’t swim or didn’t feel very confident but before long we were all jumping in! The sea life was well worth the nervousness with brightly coloured fish, big eels and gorgeous turtles. Its been a dream of mine to swim with turtles so it was incredible when we finally spotted one cruising along.
The water came alive as soon as our boat stopped. Large shoals of fish were swimming around next to the boat and then we all started to point out the unmistakable outline of sharks. They were quite small and relatively safe but I’d never swam with anything so big before.
I can swim and generally go swimming every week but for someone who doesn’t, getting in the water is a very daunting experience. Life jackets were worn and we had a safety ring but it was definitely a big challenge for our non-swimmers. Hugely proud!
I think its safe to say we all had a brilliant time challenging ourselves in Central America and the fear was worth it in the end. Have you been swimming with sharks? Have you climbed Tikal? Or maybe you’ve challenged yourself another way, let us know!