The Time I almost Died, White Water Rafting

‘Do one thing every day that scares you!!!’ They said.

I’ve spent my entire life being pretty tame. I once even cried the whole way down an abseiling wall. I’d always liked my feet safely on dry land… Until I travelled. Travel pushes you to your limits. So, whilst in Bali I decided to push the boat out and try white water rafting.

Our guide, a slim, young Indonesian man gave us a quick briefing and explained that when he shouts ‘boom’ we need to duck to avoid fallen trees etc. I recall him saying that if we fall in the water it was ‘bye-bye’, and then he laughed. This didn’t exactly fill me with confidence.

He helped me into the boat with my friend and two Australian teenage boys. They were half my age and lived on the opposite side of the world. In every-day life, we would have absolutely nothing in common. Yet in this hour, smashing through the speeding waters in the jungle, they would become my family.

The start of the rafting was gentle, our boat softly pondering through the waters. Giant, powerful cliffs surrounded us and there would be the occasional family sitting on the banks, farming or making clothes. I could hear rattle snakes and cheerful bird songs. Then things started to speed up…

We each had an oar to help row, but naturally were using it to splash as much water as possible at the passing tourists. The world passed by quickly, my eyes were struggling to keep focus on danger, whilst trying to spot potential water-fight warfare. The rocky, green cliffs were whizzing past me in a hot blur. I believe this is where the ‘fight or flight’ syndrome kicked in… Adrenaline started pulsating around my body. My clothes were soaking wet, my finger nail bent right back and I bumped my helmet-covered head on a rock-wall. All the while, I felt no pain.

A collection of boats had gathered, stuck at the top of a small waterfall in the direction we were headed. Our pathway was blocked except for a large rock protruding from the centre of the waters. We ricocheted from several boats and at high speed slid up the rock and became wedged. Before I even knew what was happening, I felt myself in mid-air, violently flung from my boat. I was face up, watching the sky distance itself from me, aware that beneath my body was a sheer drop into harsh, rocky waters. I wasn’t afraid or worried, I guess it all happened too quickly for anything resembling emotion to settle in me.

In that second, the guide (who was half my size) grabbed onto the shoulder of my life-vest and a large chunk of my hair and pulled me effortlessly back into the boat. He actually saved my life. I couldn’t stop laughing and hugging him.

On my next visit to Bali, what was the first thing I did? Booked myself onto a white water rafting session.

Calling to Travel

Calling to Travel

I never really know where I will travel to next.

Over the years I have felt very aware of the fact that certain countries or places ‘call me’ to them. It’s like something is dragging me to that destination and I have to go, no questions asked. I don’t know if it is a spiritual thing or a sixth sense.

It always ends up being the most significant and life changing experiences abroad. I also travel to places I haven’t been called to and have a great time, but it’s not the same.

The first time it happened was with Bali, Indonesia. I can’t really explain it, I just knew I had to visit. I can’t do Bali justice by writing about it in a blog, I will save that one for an e-book one day. It has since happened with Vietnam which was also a life changing experience.  

After returning from Vietnam, people have been asking me where I am visiting next. I do some research and have a think, but until a destination grabs me by the hand and pulls me towards it, I do not decide. And so, I wait. Wait for the time when somewhere leaps off the map and plants a seed in my brain that I cannot escape from until I go there.

This has just happened to me, the next destination calling is to Iceland. I love the feeling of being called to a place. 

Do you ever experience this?