Two years ago in the early days of this blog I wrote a post about how travel has made me face my fears and confront my phobias head on. When Maggie suggested writing about scares and fears as part of this month’s travel link up, I thought it would be the perfect time to revisit that post and see how things have changed two and half years on.
Fear of Heights
Probably my biggest fear and also a huge obstacle to travel blogging is my fear of heights – be it small planes, cable cars or precarious situations. It was back in 2012 when I first got into a small plane, on this occasion a seaplane, for a journey of only about fifteen minutes from Rose Bay in Sydney to a beautiful hotel called Jonah’s in Whale Beach. Despite the short length of the journey, I was terrified of getting in that little plane but I screwed my courage to the sticking place and got in the plane…
By the way, I’m wearing sunglasses so that you can’t see the fear in my eyes…Anyway I was rewarded with not only incredible views of Sydney from above…but when we arrived at Jonah’s we had an incredible lunch followed by a surprise proposal…imagine if I hadn’t got in that plane.
My next major challenge to my fear of heights was getting in the cable car at Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa. Visiting South Africa had been my absolute dream trip and I was determined to ascend that iconic peak. When we arrived at the base of the mountain my stomach turned to mush as I saw the height of the peak and that teeny tiny cable car dangling on a string going up the mountain…
‘I don’t think I can do it…’ I said to Mr S as my eyes followed the car up to the summit. ‘You have to’ he replied ‘Think of your blog and all the pictures and the great story it will make’….Well I had quite a long time to decide as it was an hour’s wait in the queue during which time I alternately changed my mind every five minutes about whether I could do it or not. As we got to the front of the queue I bundled my way into the cable car, and sat in the centre (the non-revolving bit) and firmly closed my eyes. We got to the top within about sixty seconds and were greeted by…cloud…
Fortunately after about five minutes the cloud cleared and we had an incredible view from above…and of course I had no regrets about biting the bullet and making my way up there!
Also in South Africa I had to once again board a small plane to get to our safari adventure, but seriously this was nothing after the harrowing experience of the cable car at Table Mountain.
Since then I really have overcome my fear of small planes, as I had to get two of these in South Africa, several in Kenya plus seaplanes in the Maldives….easy.
This one in Kenya being the smallest I’ve never taken…seriously I felt like we were hurtling through the sky in a baked bean tin on this TWO HOUR flight! Ok, so I’ll still never jump off a mountain or a tall building, but I’m certainly ok with the planes.
Another biggie, I’m absolutely terrified of spiders – a fear that almost stopped me going to Australia which I’d always thought of as a place riddled with ginormous spiders. I was assured that it was very unlikely that I’d see them in the city, but a real glutton for punishment, I decided it would be cool to stay in a treehouse in the rainforest EEEK!!
Ok, so there was a (small) lizard on the bathroom wall but mostly I was surrounded by beautiful creatures such as exotic birds and butterflies at Silky Oaks. So staying at Silky Oaks, relatively unscathed by huge spiders I decided once again to stay in the forest, this time Tsala Treetop Lodge in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa.
With it’s unique architecture, stunning interior and beautiful surroundings, Tsala was one of the most beautiful hotels that I’d ever stayed in. Owing to terrible weather while we were travelling the Garden Route, we didn’t have much choice than to pretty much stay in the hotel the whole time – I mean it could have been worse!
One morning we got up early for a excursion to Knysna, after a early shower, bleary eyed I went to rifle through my suitcase and as I was looking for appropriate clothing for the day I looked up and right before my eyes was a spider about the size of my head (well not quite the size of my head but it was huge). Screaming and running out of the bedroom Mr S was alarmed and worried I was hurt, when he heard it was *just* a spider he wasn’t exactly impressed. But ever the hero he scooped it up in a bag and threw out to the balcony.
Did that experience put me off staying the rainforest? Ok yes it did a bit but I still booked a forest retreat for our ill-fated trip to Peru and I would definitely do it again as long as I had Mr S to protect me!
Mr S and I are polar opposites when it comes to the ocean, he absolutely loves swimming, boats and any form of water sports. Me? I was kind of scarred by an incident where one of my friends got stung by a jelly fish…and boats make me sea sick! I prefer looking at the beautiful ocean from dry land with a cocktail in my hand!
However, I’m fully aware that if you don’t bite the bullet you can’t see the beauty that lies beneath so I’m always will to risk the wrath of jelly fish to at least have a look! For example on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia or when we stayed at beautiful Mnemba Island.
I’m not diving in deep water yet but snorkelling is a start!
Not gonna lie, as much as was desperate to go on safari, I was also slightly apprehensive, especially that when I saw that our first drive at Singita Lebombo would be in a totally open vehicle…
I had nothing to be afraid of though as the guides are so highly trained and the animals really aren’t interested in the cars…
Though that didn’t stop my heart beating very rapidly when we found ourselves surrounded by lions in the middle of the night, especially when I saw the teeth on this male! Far from scary, it’s actually totally thrilling and it didn’t stop me from booking another safari in Kenya the following year. Even sleeping in very open tents in ultra-luxury glamping lodge, Sasaab.
I also got up close a personal with big cats when I walked cheetahs whilst in Plettenberg Bay. Everyone asked me wasn’t I at least a little scared…and the answer is yes!
I was also pretty nervous when riding camels in Kenya, ok so it’s not as high as an elephant but I was pretty sure I could break an ankle if I fell off!
One animal encounter that didn’t make me too nervous was eating breakfast with Giraffes whilst staying at Giraffe Manor…
Though I wasn’t quite so sure about kissing one…
I’ve really enjoyed writing this post and it’s made me realise how much travel really has made me face some of my greatest fears and enabled me to have wonderful and unique experiences. I’d love to know if you have any similar stories.