Life’s about taking risks.
Well, calculated risks, at least for me. I love doing crazy, adventurous activities when I am traveling. Pure adrenaline rush moments that are hard to repeat and generally make a trip unforgettable. But I try to do ones that have a low death risk. You know, because I love my life and I don’t want to die. So bungee jumping, hell yeah but base jumping, hell no!
However, sometimes I am hit with a sudden urge for total spontaneity and do foolish stuff without thinking about it, all in the name of a thrill. I have a willful, impulsive streak to my personality, which makes traveling with me both really adventurous and equally annoying.
Exhibit A: one time I jumped off a 12 meter bridge in Most na Soči, Slovenia (that’s around 40 feet for my fellow ‘Mericans).
That may not sound so high when you talk about bridge heights for bungee jumping and the like, but for me, jumping off a 40 foot bridge into the water below is pretty freaking high. I used to be a total scaredy cat. I was that kid who would scramble up the monkey bars in recess, then look down, freeze, have a panic attack and cry until the teacher would come and pry me off. Luckily, I have spent the past decade challenging myself to get over a fear of heights, and it’s worked (for the most part).
Rewind three years: I was backpacking through the Balkans when we arrived at Lake Bled, quite possibly the most beautiful place I have ever been. Seriously, this place looks fake. Not to drone on and on, but Slovenia is my favorite country in Europe for a good reason. Breathtakingly beautiful and relatively unknown as a tourist hub, Slovenia is jam-packed with adventure activities, big mountains, crystal blue lakes and rivers, and some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. It rocks, go there.
I was itching to get up into the Julian Alps and explore around Bovec, after falling in love with this area while watching the making of featurette of the Chronicles of Narnia. Nerd alert!
After hiking in the Alps, swimming under a waterfall, and white water rafting down the Soca River, we stopped in the itsy bitsy village of Most na Soči to test our daring before heading to Bohinj to watch the sun set. We pulled up on a tall stone bridge straddling yet another bright blue river. The water was perfectly still, not a ripple in sight. In the distance we could see the leafy green mountains we hiked around earlier.
“Ok, who wants to dive off this bridge?” Asked our burly Slovenian guide and driver as we cautiously peeped over the railing to the cerulean waters below.
Cue the sound of crickets.
Eventually two Australian guys stepped up to plate (Aussies are the best adventure travel buddies!) Built into the middle of the bridge was a short, wide diving board. The Soča river flowing down from the mountains is particularily deep in this spot, making it a safe place to dive into the turquoise waters below. And as it flows directly down from the mountains, it is glacially cold, which I wish I had taken into account before I yelled, “Me! I’ll jump!”
As the second guy flopped off the board, our guide said, “any other takers?”
As we say in America, go big or go home.
I looked left and then right at my friend L, she shook her head and then looked the other way. Sighing, I handed L my camera, then quickly pulled my shorts and tank top off (I had a bathing suit on, you dirty minded readers). I grabbed the metal bars of the board and hauled myself up in front of our mini tour group and a bunch of locals, undoubtedly hoping the silly tourist would belly flop or drown. Without looking down I took two steps, pinched my nose and flung myself off the bridge.
My thought process on the way down:
“Holy s***, this is high, omg I’m wearing a strapless bikini top, this thing’s gonna fly right off and I’m gonna end up topless infront of 30 strangers, I better hold on tight but that means water will go up my nose, I hate it when water goes up my nose, F*** IT’S FREEZING!”
Actually that last bit I screamed out loud. SMACK! Bone chillingly cold, as I pierced the water, the breath was literally knocked out of my chest and I thought I was going to drown, but only for a second. All was ok, my bathing suit top stayed on. Resurfacing, I couldn’t breathe for a minute because of how cold the water was. Flailing around like some uncoordinated wet dog, I eventually calmed down enough to swim over to the ladder and climb out, sputtering and choking on all the pretty blue water I inhaled.
As I shakily climbed back up to the bridge, L wrapped me in a towel and I high-fived everyone in the village. I may have done something really dumb, but I got major badass girl points. Boo-yah!
Only later I realized that my legs and ass were stinging as if I had just engaged in some illicit act out of 50 Shades of Gray.
We regrouped and headed back to an open air car train to ride back to Lake Bled. As a reward for my boldness, we all got free Slovenian beer, yum! I definitely needed a stiff one after that adrenaline rush. The next day after I got out of the shower, I realized I was blue and black from knees to my lower back. I guess when I hit the water, I didn’t land completely vertical, bruising my legs and ass for a week. Ouch!
I jumped off this bridge because I knew I would have regretted it if I didn’t. It was worth it, and it made for one of my favorite stories to tell from my time spent in Slovenia. Sometimes you have to be impulsive and do crazy things while traveling to test yourself. It’s important to create a solid balance between finding your courage and being adventurous though not totally stupid.
What’s the craziest thing you have ever done traveling? Would you jump off a 40 foot bridge
Someone else doing the same jump