Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The New Me at the San Diego Zoo

If you know me at all then you know that I am terrified of heights; not just scared, but purely, sick to my stomach, absolutely paralyzed, terrified. 

 If you know me at all then you also know that I am passionate about travel. I possess a serious case of wanderlust, more than a desire, but a need to explore new places, experience new adventures, and see new things.

Often the fear interferes with the exploration. I’ve tried to overcome it, but it is always there, a part of who I am. I was too afraid to go on an ultra-light flight over the Hungarian countryside, too afraid to go hot air ballooning in Tuscany, too afraid to ride the London Eye, too afraid, even, to take the elevator to the top of the Space Needle.

That photo of me on the viewing floor of the Santa Barbara Courthouse? I had to inch my way cautiously with arms outstretched, reaching for the railing and then focus on looking out - never down. In my head I know that the railing prevents my falling but my stomach is doing flip flops and all sorts of improbable and even impossible scenarios are flitting across my imagination. What if a there is an earthquake? What if a sudden gust of wind picks me up and dashes me to the ground? What if a deranged person lifts me up and throws me over? What if I faint and somehow in fainting I fall over the railing and off the building? Seriously, this is what I am thinking whenever I am more than 10 feet off the ground.


Yesterday we went to the San Diego Zoo. We walked through the gates and looked at the map. Mike asked me “Where do you want to go first?” Without a moment’s hesitation I said “I want to do that” and pointed to the aerial tram. I’m not sure which of us was more surprised. Mike asked if I wouldn’t be scared and I said “probably”, but for once the fear of being scared didn’t stop me.

 Our car left the gate with a few big bumps and before I knew it I was in the air. There was a moment when the panic started to set in but I made myself focus on the experience rather than the fear and it was perfectly amazing. I even looked straight down! I’m fairly certain that I am still afraid of heights and I know without a doubt that I will never go sky diving or bungee jumping, but it was a  very liberating  experience and today I’m feeling positively empowered.


  1. Janet - why would you "never go sky diving"? Of course we will. It's magnificent, and you'll love being strapped to a young hunk for a free fall through space.

  2. hmmm Deb interesting point - I may have to revisit the idea of sky diving as well...after all it's so #bucketlistworthy as to be cliche!

    soooo proud of You Janet - I have similar fears but made myself go when Kara, Jill and I were out there some years back; was looking for the picture Jillie took of my "trying hard not to be terrified" face but charity rules and I cannot locate it...You sound like you're about ready to climb to the top of the Duomo now...? that was really hard!

  3. So here's a thought - Deb and Margy, you go sky diving together and I will wait for you at the bar. I'll even buy the first round.