“Life Begins at the End of your Comfort Zone”

As someone who has been swimming nearly their whole life, there is absolutely nothing I love more than being in the water. For me, the water is my comfort zone. I know I am a strong swimmer. When I heard we were going snorkeling, I could not have been more excited. I love aquatic animals and fish, and more importantly, I love to swim.

To my dismay, Dr. Rodriguez informed us all that the snorkeling was cancelled because of the high surfs. While I was disappointed, I knew that things happen, and I was excited to hear we might go to the beach instead. The next day plans had changed and we were informed that we were going ziplining. Although I hate admitting it, heights aren’t exactly my favorite, so when Dr. Rodriguez told us that we would be ziplining, I began to grow anxious.

A million thoughts rushed through my brain. I was so scared, that I even considered using my stomach flu illness as an excuse as to why I couldn’t zipline through the rainforest. However, I quickly realized that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and that I could not let my fears take over and miss seeing the rain forest from a bird’s eye view.

When we first geared up, I surprisingly was very calm, but I suppose some of the people around me could sense my fear so many people started joking around with me trying to scare me. The man putting on my harness even asked me, “Is this your first time?” when I said yes, he followed jokingly with “Me too, I am learning with you guys.” What really got my stomach in a knot was when he said “Hopefully heights aren’t a problem for you, because each line gets higher from the ground.”

After that, the lady proceeded to give us all these instructions on how to break, and what to do if we didn’t make it to the end of the line. This increased my fears even more. At that moment, nothing seemed more terrifying than not making the end of the line and dangling in the air. I followed directions carefully, and went on the first line. To my surprise, I was not scared at all. I loved being in the air. As the lines progressed, they did get higher, but I enjoyed them, except one.

When we first arrived to the site, there was a huge red structure with a nearly vertical ladder and a platform. I remember talking to Emily and Emma saying “There is no way I am climbing up that.” Being experienced zipliners, they assured me that I would not have to climb up to that platform and that you simply just zipline to platform to platform and the ladder was just there for precautionary measures. After the fourth line, the man running the even looked at me and said, “alright go to the ladder and climb all the way up.” Because I enjoyed ziplining so much, I forced myself to conquer my fear. When I got on the ladder, my legs instantly felt like jello. Even members of our group who weren’t usually afraid of heights were scared on the latter. To make matters worse, when I was half way up the ladder, it began to pour rain. The steps became slippery, and I looked down by accident. I took a moment and a deep breathe, and with the encouragement of peers, I made it up the ladder. I was so proud of myself. From then on, the views were absolutely breathe-taking, and I felt like I was soaring above the clouds. Zipliing for me was one of the best experiences of my life, and gave me a sense of adrenaline that I craved for me.

The Crew before taking on the ziplines!

If I didn’t face my fear, I would never have had this amazing experience. This was a large lessons I learned throughout my time in Puerto Rico. In order to experience the world, you have to go out and try new things. Rarely are things ever learned in your comfort zone. Never in a million years would I have thought I would get up on a platform and jump on it into the depths of the rainforest, but if I hadn’t I would have never known what it was like to fly. Often times, traveling abroad scares a lot of people. People always fear the unknown, and dwell on possible things that could happen to them. Traveling to Puerto Rico has given me a further desire to travel the world and do things that scare me. I can confidently say that I am definitely over my fear of heights, and I hope to zipline again wherever I end up in this world. I learned that life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

3 thoughts on ““Life Begins at the End of your Comfort Zone”

  1. This is a great way to describe your feelings about zip-lining! I think there is a lot of raw emotion in the beginning because you said these exact things when we were on the bus. Everything in life goes along with if you don’t try it how do you know you don not like it. That being said. when you are in a different environment it can be so easy to do activities that keep you within your comfort zone, but it is so important to take a step outside and enjoy what new experiences countries have to offer. Also, I love the picture and (Like Kai) think that we should definitely include those pictures because they really capture the fun we had on the trip.

  2. I have the exact opposite problem as you; I love heights but I am not very comfortable with swimming, so zip lining was something that I found almost relaxing! It’s very impressive that you managed to climb all of those ladders and platforms even with your fear of heights. There were a few times that you definitely seemed a little nervous, but you never let that stop you! I think that this was one of the coolest days that we spent in Puerto Rico, between the zip lining and the bioluminescent bay. Both the rainforest that we zip lined in and the bay are beautiful and unique things that I never would have experienced if I hadn’t been brave enough to study abroad! Puerto Rico inspired me as well to try my best to travel as many places as possible to experience new and sometimes scary things. I think that both this story and some of the pictures and videos that we took of our time zip lining would be a good way to convince some people to study abroad who might have been scared to otherwise. Leaving your comfort zone can be scary, but once you do it, it feels great!

  3. Great story!! I really enjoyed reading it. I also thought climbing the ladder was the scariest part of zip-lining. I like how you mentioned that it is important to face your fears and venture out into the world. There is so much to learn about all the cultures and traditions of different countries. Getting to understand the world through travel is perhaps the best way to start thinking of ways to solve world problems. I definitely think we should include pictures of our zip-lining trip to encourage our audience to experience new things.

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