You know you really love someone when you are willing to go zip-lining through a rainforest when you’re deathly afraid of heights.
The same could be said for taking the front seat in a helicopter and flying over an active volcano.
I can stake claim to both.
When Rich and I were planning a trip to Hawaii, we were faced with a conundrum. I wanted to escape for a while, dreaming of beaches and drinks with umbrellas in them. While Rich was happy to participate in relaxation, he really wanted to do some adventurous stuff too.
I realized that it was time to suck it up. It was time to participate in my own life. I mean, what fun is a trip to Hawaii otherwise? Especially to the Big Island. There’s so much to do and when I really thought about it, I’d be bored after a few days on the beach (unless I had a great book). I really am more the explorer type.
We decided on the Big Island of Hawaii, which for most is not the main destination when planning a trip to Hawaii. I’m here to tell you: The Big Island has something for everyone.
In Kona, we spent the first 3 days in the water, snorkelling. It provided the relaxation I was looking for. After renting snorkel gear at Snorkel Bobs in Kona, we headed further south to Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park.
I can’t even describe to you how great it was.
Schools of fish in an array of colours surrounded us, with coral shimmering in the refracted sunlight below. While Hawaiian law requires swimmers to stay 20 feet away from the endangered green turtles, the turtles didn’t get the memo. They approach like a new puppy, curious about everyone, trusting someone will ‘scratch their bellies’. Of course, we complied with the law – I’ve never seen Rich back-pedal so fast.
Seriously, we couldn’t get enough. It was the relaxing element I needed.
Then we kicked it up a notch on the adventure scale: Zip-lining. I’ve always thought of myself as adventurous. I’ll try most things once (although I rule it out at bungie jumping and ocean diving – and before I get emails telling me what an idiot I am for not trying these things, I do have my reasons) but my fear of heights kind of limits me.
Truth be known, I had the ‘Amazing Race’ show in my head. I had to convince myself that if I really wanted to compete on that show, I had to zip-line. I mean, come on. It’s part of every season.
So, I did it.
As scared shitless as I was when being suited up, I was okay once I stepped off the first ledge and let the line catch me. It was kind of exhilarating actually. We were flying through the air at 9 a.m., 300 feet over waterfalls, admiring the rainforest around us. Granted, they ease you into the course with gradual changes in distance and heights. As we progressed, I started to relax and really enjoy the peace of the rainforest.
It was jumping off the cliff-face that was the heart-stopper! After running full force off a cliff, in order to miss the edge as the line caught me, I quickly forgot all that was behind me. Instead, I focused on the gushing waterfall on one side, and Maui in the distance on the other. It was breathtakingly stunning views and as long as I didn’t look down and saw how high I was, it was fine. Just fine.
(NOTE: We went with a company called Eco Adventures which provides a Zipline Canopy Tour. We recommend the tour, but not the package which includes accommodation. We suggest you find your accommodation elsewhere, preferably somewhere that other Trip Advisor travelers recommend…unless relentless mosquitoes, live music until the wee hours and loud sex grunts heard through paper-thin walls are your thing)
After the adrenaline spike the zip-lining provided, I was ready for some relaxation. As we made our way to Hilo Airport (for our next adventure), we planned a stop for a lovely lunch, admiring the spectacular ocean views along the way. But, all I could think about was what’s next…
Being strapped into the first row of seats on a Blue Hawaiian Helicopter was the moment I thought I was done for.
We were scheduled for a tour that promised waterfalls and views of the lava fields. That was the bit I had to remember rather than the fact that there was only glass between me and…
Rich was excited. Really excited. To top it off, it was his wonderful Dad who’d called in a favour for this trip for us, and we were now experiencing the VIP treatment. I was excited. Really, I was.
I just had to get over the heart palpitations first.
Once we were up in the sky and admiring the spectacular views, it truly was worth it all, my camera snapping away, trying to take it all in. As the ground turned from emerald green to a scorched brown, we entered the lava fields. It was devastating and surreal all at once. As we reached the ocean area, lava poured into the sea giving rise to a torrent of steam. We could just glimpse the orange glow of lava through the mist. My heart palpitations were no longer due to fear, but to the awe inspiring glimpse of what mother nature is capable of.
But, we weren’t done yet.
We were staying in Volcano, in the neighbourhood of one of the earth’s most active volcanoes. As we explored Volcano National Park, we walked through some really devastated areas. We went from stunning rainforest areas that had regenerated through lava rock, to a little further along where burned out tree trunks stood eerily along destroyed sections of the road. The power of it all was shocking to see. Scary for sure.
Rich, seeing all I had signed up for on the days before, thought he’d push it just a little further and suggested a hike down into the crater. But I could see the vog (sulphur fog caused by the active volcano below) piping out of the base and that’s when I finally put my foot down. Yeah, adrenaline or not, that was just a bit much for me.
Here’s the crazy part: the cabin we stayed in was truly my favourite part of the trip.
Kilauea has been erupting continuously erupting since 1983 and yet, I was more relaxed than I had been in ages. The cabin made me forget all about what was happening beneath the earth. It was actually the best ending we could have had to our otherwise heart-thumping adventure.
What I learned through this entire trip was that while I may be scared to do some of these things, it was a great experience. It tested and expanded my limits. Rich learned to be more patient and understanding with me. We compromised.
Sometimes you have to fight through the fear because otherwise you are missing out on great experiences. Which is why this post is titled: Participate in Your Own Life. Suck it up and Just Do It.
Because your life matters too much NOT to participate.
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