I Was Terrified Of Sharks, So I Swam In Shark-Infested Waters

All through my lifetime, I’ve primarily held onto two nice fears: sharks (galeophobia) and heights (acrophobia). These are two pretty frequent fears, and to some extent, worry is just a traditional a part of being human. Nevertheless, after I grew to become an grownup, I spotted that my life was an open e book and I used to be the one holding the pen. I actually didn’t need my e book to be about all of the issues I wished to do however couldn’t due to worry, so I resolved to face any and all fears I had head-on, starting with my aversions to heights and sharks.

A good portion of my fear-facing journey started in Belize, a phenomenal Central American nation solely marginally smaller in measurement than the state of Massachusetts. My husband, Jeremiah, and I had spent precisely sooner or later in Belize when it had been a port cease on a cruise we had taken, and the short go to had enraptured us. Ever since then, Jeremiah had been decided to return to Belize and get an opportunity to essentially discover it.

Collectively, Jeremiah and I had beforehand traveled to Europe to fulfill my Eiffel tower and Roman coliseum desires, and now he wished us to impulsively e book his fantasy journey to a distant Belizean island miles away from the mainland, known as Ambergris Caye. Even if I used to be presently residing solely off of caffeine and adrenaline on the crux of engaged on the thesis paper for my grasp’s diploma, I agreed to take a writing break and go along with him on this unique trip.

To succeed in our vacation spot, we needed to take a industrial flight from Florida to Georgia, after which to Belize’s solely worldwide airport, situated in Belize Metropolis. As soon as we arrived in Belize Metropolis, we had two choices to select from to get to our resort on the island of Ambergris Caye: we may experience within the undercarriage of a cramped boat, loaded with individuals, or we may catch a puddle-jumper airplane (so small that we might certainly see and really feel each bouncing and shaking sensation that entailed being at a excessive altitude) to fly us the remainder of the way in which. Being as afraid of heights as I used to be, I opted that we take the boat, and we did. The boat experience over lasted an hour and the flight would’ve lasted minutes.

As soon as we’d been on the island a number of days, we discovered there may very well be some wonderful adventures available if we booked one of many tour excursions on the mainland that took teams from Belize Metropolis into the jungle. The catch? We’d have to decide on easy methods to get again to the mainland once more: the crowded hour-long boat experience or the short flight on a tiny airplane? This time, I made a decision to not let my worry of heights get in the way in which of what made essentially the most sense for our journey, and we booked the flight.

As soon as we arrived on the small airport we might fly out of, we had been rapidly instructed to stroll immediately from our airplane’s runway onto a ramp to board a tiny puddle-jumper airplane that allowed area for in all probability twelve individuals complete. For somebody with a worry of heights, this measurement was not preferrred, to say the least. I may see the pilot immediately in entrance of me, flipping switches and getting ready for flight. I snagged a window seat, as if seeing what was occurring outdoors the airplane would one way or the other give me extra leverage to regulate the flight’s end result.

I felt the conventional surge of hysteria that occurred after I knew I used to be about to be at a excessive altitude. I closed my eyes and gripped the armrests. However then, once we took off, rattling and rumbling our manner into the air, it occurred: I felt an uncommon rush of braveness. We had been on one other a part of the planet, a number of nations and a big physique of water away from our routines, house, jobs, courses, and regular lives. I used to be doing one thing I’d by no means achieved earlier than and my sense of journey overrode my anxiousness. I pressed my hand in opposition to the tiny glass window and watched as we soared into the sky. As I noticed the sky in complete wonderment, the much less worry and anxiousness I felt.

The view round us was unbelievably breathtaking: a imaginative and prescient of impossibly blue, inexperienced, and turquoise seas by means of shiny, tufted clouds of white, with tan patches of small islands recognizing the scene. I out of the blue felt free, unafraid, and completed. I used to be doing this! Our airplane’s so-called touchdown strip could or could not have been manufactured from filth, however we made it, and it felt unimaginable.

After we had been achieved exploring the mainland for the day and had taken one other flight again to the island, I made a decision it was time to face my subsequent nice worry: sharks. I booked a tour which was designed to take passengers out on a ship experience with the precise goal of anchoring and stopping to swim with wild sharks. Early the morning of the tour, our boat left straight from the dock of our resort and traveled out to the deep waters of Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley. Because the boat cruised by means of the floor of the water, the breeze brushed previous our faces and we surveyed the Belizean splendor surrounding us. It was really unimaginable. The setting we had been in created the feeling of collaborating in a live-action topical trip vacation spot brochure, however all I may hear in my thoughts was the ominous soundtrack of Jaws on an infinite loop. One way or the other, I’d spent my whole life avoiding doing something that might probably contain sharks, and now I used to be about to leap willingly into shark-infested waters for a day swim.

The boat anchored and we started snorkeling as a bunch. Led by our information, we swam collectively by means of heat, clear waters stuffed with colleges of colourful fish and a number of other innocent jellyfish that appeared like tiny ghosts as they floated by, illuminated within the sea. There have been alien-looking vegetation of all sizes and styles, and as I took every little thing in, I knew there needed to be sharks swimming close by.

After we encountered the primary nurse shark, albeit just a few toes in size, I really volunteered to carry him whereas my husband took an image. I gently stroked his again, feeling his rubbery, barely gritty texture, and loosely positioned my arms round him for the picture. And nothing scary or unhealthy occurred. I’d achieved it—I’d actually appeared my worry within the eye. It was exhilarating.

With every “great fear” confronted, my worry shrank slightly bit. That very same journey, I went ziplining lots of of toes within the air for the primary time on the mainland, deep within the Belizean jungles. I used to be afraid at first, however I confronted my fears in that setting as properly. The truth is, earlier than the journey’s finish, I’d ridden within the beforehand talked about tiny airplane not as soon as, not twice, however 3 times! For me, this felt like a herculean feat within the battle in opposition to my worry of heights.

Since these Belizean escapades, I’ve taken numerous flights on small planes (and as soon as a helicopter), I’ve walked the best hands-free stroll on the earth on the CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario, I’ve stood upon the glass ledge atop the Willis Tower in Chicago, and I even obtained a tiny tattoo of the phrases “fear not” etched onto my pores and skin in New Orleans as a reminder to proceed to reside fearlessly.

Our repeated travels have finally helped me to turn out to be a stronger lady, to step outdoors my consolation zone, to make buddies world wide, to eat international meals I couldn’t establish, to discover Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius, to play with monkeys in Honduras, to experience a camel in Africa, to face atop the mighty Cliffs of Moher in Eire, and a lot extra. Collectively, my husband and I've saved up and ventured to greater than 20 nations in 10 years, crossing gadgets off our bucket lists and making recollections to final a lifetime.

I can’t verify that, on a psychological degree, dealing with worry head-on would work for everybody in all circumstances. I can, nevertheless, attest to the truth that in my life, dealing with my fears has immensely helped me. Once you see that one worry could be confronted, others can turn out to be much less scary, too—just like the worry of pursuing extra tutorial levels, public talking, or writing a private essay for buddies, household, and strangers alike to guage and critique. Once you turn out to be much less afraid, you develop stronger and extra assured, which overflows into all areas of life, and that may be a fantastic factor.

As I write this, my husband and I are planning our sixth (sure, sixth) journey again to Belize the place we'll reunite with individuals we met there, dine on scrumptious meals and drinks, take pleasure in a lot of solar, cycle across the island, paddleboard, and possibly even go on some excursions involving heights or sharks.

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