Journal entry by Anna Larimore: Week 3, Day 5.
“It was a Thursday. I was on the Garden Route of South Africa, Eastern Cape, living in a hostel on the Indian Ocean…pretty far from my apartment in Cape Town. I was on Global LEAD’s “Adventure Week.” We headed over to the Bloukrans Bridge to do the tallest bungee jump in the world. That’s right — I was about to jump off of the tallest bungee bridge in the entire world. A big Guiness Book of World Records sign and everything. Go ahead, Google it. I’m not making this up.
I had to wait a while for my turn, and by the time I finally got to go, the sun was setting. It was gorgeous. The mountains were on one side, the water on the other…mesmerizing. I was trying to take it all in, but I couldn’t really get over the fact that I was about to jump off this bridge as if it were nothing. So nonchalant. Was I really that crazy?! ALL of the activities I had done during that week, and during the whole trip, rather, were adventurous, impulsive, and downright exhilarating. But I had no hesitations, because I was dead-set on doing them full-out and head-on. This one was no exception.
They were playing super loud pump-up music underneath the bridge where we did the jump. All of my friends were cheering each others’ names and being so encouraging and enthusiastic. The DJ wasn’t taking requests, but I really wanted to request “Lose Yourself” by Eminem. Just thinking of 8 Mile, I couldn’t imagine a better song to walk out onto a bridge to and take a big jump into the air. But, they couldn’t play it for me, so I just thought of the intro in my head, and I curled my toes on the edge of the bridge. Here we go. Let’s do this.
“If you had one shot, or one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment: would you capture it, or just let it slip?”
Well…safe to say I captured it. About 5 seconds after this picture was taken, I remember what I was thinking: “WHY AM I DOING THIS?!” But after the initial shock (and that’s all it was: shock), I realized a few things: the sound of the bumping music had faded. I couldn’t hear my friends cheering me on anymore; I heard nothing but the wind. It was quiet. I looked around, still falling, and was amazed at the beauty of the omniscient mountains…they were just everywhere, all around me. I’ve never felt such peace in my entire life…and then I remembered I was in the middle of the air. Flying. Attached to a cord that I couldn’t even see. And I did all of this willingly. It was, literally, a leap of faith.
Later that night, we all went to a bar on the way home to have dinner and celebrate conquering the bridge and our Adventure Week coming to an end. I turned to Carole Anne, deep in thought, and said, “People are too concerned with finding themselves.” She looks at me, confused, and goes…”What?” I said it again. “People are too concerned with finding themselves. It’s more about losing ourselves. Like today. When we jumped off the bridge.”It had taken me jumping over 70 stories in the air to realize that LOSING yourself is the best way to find yourself. Let me explain:
When I jumped off that bridge, I let go of everything. I let go of fear. I let go of hesitations. I let go of the ground. Just like Eminem said, “there goes gravity.” I just DID it. I lost it all and I flung myself into the air so that I could feel like flying and experience an out-of-body sense of peacefulness beyond comprehension. And in that moment, I learned a lot about myself. I found myself to be a strong and adventurous woman. I learned that fear is temporary, but regret is forever. I learned that I am brave, courageous, thrill-seeking, and, well, kind of outrageous. It was a special realization for me. What an accomplishment.
To build on that — I think every twenty-something is WAY too wrapped up in “finding themselves,” or at least, goes through a period where they feel that way. Every experience you ever have in this life gives you an opportunity to learn something about yourself. Every conversation you have, every person you meet, every place you visit. Or, if you’re me, every shark you swim with, every plane you jump out of, every lion you get chased by. It all will teach you something if you just pay attention. STOP looking for your answers. They will come to you. If you submerge yourself and immerse yourself in the things that force you to let go of your inhibitions, clear your mind, and just go for it…those things that probably scare you…they will be the things that help you find yourself the most.
I also did a lot of service while I was in Africa. There’s a Gandhi quote that pertains to this very subject: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Let go of what’s in it for you, focus on somebody else for a second, and give them all of you. You will learn so much about humanity, the world around you, life, other people, and yourself.
So YOU. Yes, you. STOP being one of those crazy people who is obsessed with finding herself. We are all guilty of it, but seriously, the best way to find yourself is to stop looking. Just do things. Do the things that scare you, and give them your all. Do things wholeheartedly, with no fear, and with open ears, open eyes, and an open mind. Make your mind be still for a second. You will learn way more about yourself than you ever imagined possible, like I did on this study abroad trip. And if it means that you have to jump off of a bridge like I did…well, so be it, because that was pretty awesome.”
Reflecting on this lesson that Global LEAD taught to me is so incredibly valuable. This moment was a powerful turning point in my personal development, and I cherish it deeply. If you want to experience these life-changing epiphanies, this is the program for you! We know you will love the personal development aspects of our curriculum — you’ll grow so much intellectually that you’ll be able to use the lessons in and out of the classroom…like I did on the bungee bridge. Sign up today! Your journey awaits.
-Anna and the Go Global team