“Yes, I said it — You need balls. So many people consider traveling, consider moving to another country, consider a new way of life, but many will never take the next step. When it comes down to it, it’s all a matter of who’s going to make it happen and who just wants to talk about making it happen.
The harsh reality is that people want certainty. And travel can never promise you that.”
– Kate from the States
While this avid adventurer’s outlook is really aimed at traveling and world exploration, her mantra can be applied to so much more. Adventure, getting outside, doing something you’ve never done before; these are all things that, in Kate’s words, you need balls to do. Believe me, I know its not always that easy to step out of your comfort zone, but, when you do, the reward is worth the risk.
There were a few days last summer, before school started but where most people were back in Athens, where I went on an adventure that I’ll never forget. A group of friends and myself drove about thirty minutes outside of the Classic City, windows rolled down, wind whipping through our hair, watching the traffic lights and clusters of cars turn into long, winding roads with nothing but trees and fields lining their sides.
We parked on an old dirt road, unloaded the car, and trudged through tall grass and pricker bushes, clad in Chacos and swimsuits. We came upon the rock quarry within five minutes. There were two; they were ominous pools of midnight blue water. Their surfaces were like glass, unmoving, uninterrupted. Small, flat rocks lined their edges, submerged, glowing a mossy, lime green just beneath the waters’ surface. They were surrounded by solid rock. Cliff walls, graffiti-ed with spray paint, around the pools stood thirty and fifty feet tall.
I stood on the edge of one of the cliffs, looking down into the water below me. I kicked a pebble off the drop and watched as it plummeted into the water, sending ripples across the flat surface. The sun beat down on my back as the weight of what I was about to do fell on my shoulders, bringing doubt into my mind. The water looks so far away. How high am I? What if I slip? What if I don’t clear the rocks? I shouldn’t do this. I turned away from the water, shaking my head, trying to silence my thoughts. Before I let them get any louder I whipped around, ran the three steps to the edge, and jumped.
I jumped without thinking about it. I jumped before I could talk myself out of it.
Fear and doubt and uncertainty are the death of adventure. They seep into your mind and implant themselves, feeding off of any thought that resembles spontaneity or being daring.
Don’t listen to them. Don’t let the little voices in the back of your head become so loud that they drown out the part of you that will take risks and be adventurous and have fun with life.
I jumped off the cliffs at the rock quarry at least ten more times that day. Sure, that first jump was the scariest, but it was also the most exciting. Propelling forward into the unknown, taking that leap of faith, falling through the air, suspended, watching the world rush past you and the water fly up at you, waiting for impact, and being greeted at the bottom by a cool, crystal blue pool of water. Plunging, breaking through the barrier of air and water, sending ripples across the surface, being surrounded by bubbles, emerging from the water kicking and smiling and gasping for air, filled with that rush of adrenaline. That is what it feels like to be alive.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought about that experience when going through life. Whenever I feel like I’m overthinking something or whenever I feel like a new situation might seem scary, it is like I am standing on the edge of the cliff, looking at the water, letting the doubt and fear and uncertainty overwhelm me. And so I take a step back. I turn around for a minute. I take a deep breath and remind myself that, no matter what, at the bottom there is going to be the splash of that cool, crystal blue water to catch my fall. I dive forward without another thought, and, most of the time, the new thing I am faced with ends up being something I love. And if it’s not something I love, well hey, at least I tried it, at least I learned something.
In the words of Kate from the States, have some balls. Get out there and try something new. Stop just dreaming about it. When you’re standing on the edge of your comfort zone, don’t think. Just jump
By: Sarah Walls