Ever since I was a child, there have always been a few different things that I’ve been extremely afraid of. A few different things that even the thought of give me a sinking feeling in my stomach, tightness in my chest, and a sense of fear and dread inside of my mind. Spiders, snakes, drowning, plane crashes, and more, but one fear of mine sticks out in my mind and stands out head and shoulders above the rest, and that fear would be heights.
You certainly wouldn’t catch me on the roof a tall building looking out over the edge, going up in a hot air balloon and taking in all of my surroundings, or skydiving out of an airplane. Heights just aren’t exactly my cup of tea. However, having said that, heights is the one fear I had always wanted to conquer. I certainly don’t want to overcome my fear of snakes or spiders by being stuck in a pit or a room full of the creepy crawlers, but my fear of heights was just something I knew I could come to terms with. I just needed to find the right opportunity to do so.
That opportunity presented itself to me earlier this year while on vacation in Orlando, Florida with my family. We went to a local adventure park known as Gatorland, and when we arrived, we noticed they had opened a new attraction since the last time we had visited. This attraction was called the Screamin’ Gator Zipline, in which guests who pay a small extra fee can have the chance to zip line in the air over top of live alligators and crocodiles. At first, the thought of doing so horrified me to death, but after watching a few others up in the air, strapped on the zip line, having the time of their lives, I worked up the confidence to sign myself up and give it a try for myself. I was ready to conquer my fear of heights using a zip line.
I had never been on a zip line before, but as soon as I climbed to the top of the tower where the course began, got strapped into the equipment by the tower attendant, and was awaiting my turn to set off, excitement kicked in. I was ready for this, and no amount of preparation could have had me properly ready for the adventure that followed. There I was, strapped into a zip line, zooming over top of live alligators looking up at me. I felt like a stuntman in the sense that if I were to fall, I’d be gobbled up by gators and crocodiles in no time at all. The entire time I was up there, I’m pretty sure this huge grin never left my face. I felt alive, I felt free, I felt adventurous, and best of all, I had finally conquered my fear of heights. It truly was an incredible feeling, and the second I was back on solid ground once I had run the course, I was ready to go back up and do it again. Time didn’t allow for another go of the course, as the first time through took approximately 45 minutes, but I knew I’d have another opportunity in the future.
To date, if anyone asks me what the wildest thing I’ve ever done was, I tell them about the time I went on a zip line over top of real crocodiles and alligators, all waiting eagerly below for an unexpected meal. You can bet a story like that acts as a nice conversation piece, as well as draws some admirable gasps from anyone who cares to listen. It’s actually funny nowadays to look back and think about how I had this irrational fear of heights. Nowadays, as far as I’m concerned, bring on the next adventure, but my fingers are crossed that it involves another zip line or two.