Hannah Fierle, a junior at Miami University, leaped out of her comfort zone on Adventure Week with LEAD Cape Town. Congrats to Hannah and our other students who conquered their fears!
My ankles weighed down and a thick bungee cord hooked to my harness, I am shaking with fear as I hobble to the edge of the Guinness-certified world’s tallest bungee bridge. I am currently 709 feet above my comfort zone. Everyone is cheering and chanting my name as I inch to the ledge. I close my eyes and motivated by the encouragement of my peers behind me, I jump. When I next open my eyes, I am quite literally on top of the world. The view of the ocean framed between the mountains, complete with a picture-perfect streak of sunlight, was an indescribably surreal perspective of the world that most people will never see. At the bottom, as I dangle upside down by my ankles, there is a sense of quiet peacefulness and natural beauty that I have never experienced before. Not more than a minute later, I am back on the bridge with my friends, celebrating this exciting, adrenaline-filled moment.
Jumping off the world’s tallest bungee bridge may at first seem like a reckless thing to do. This activity is something I never imagined I would have the opportunity to do, let alone actually do. Even after committing to travel to South Africa this summer, bungee jumping remained seriously out of the question.
However, I realized that for me, this activity was much more than just an awesome Instagram post and bragging rights. This experience helped me to redefine my comfort zone, showing me how with strength and an open mind, anything can be accomplished. Before the jump, our program leader gave us a truly inspirational pep talk that I will never forget. He told us to “jump into a new life,” leaving all negativity behind us on the bridge. This metaphor stuck with me, convincing me to partake in a truly once in a lifetime experience, while also symbolizing a new way of thinking without the burden of negativity.
This afternoon was once of the most memorable days of my life, aside from the actual jump. After crossing the walkway to the bridge, reminding us how unbelievably far away we were from the comfort of flat ground, the group was instantly invigorated by the loud, fun music blasting and the unavoidable excitement in the air. It was incredible how much we bonded through this shared experience; everyone was full of encouragement and support, cheering for each and every trembling person who made their way to the edge and running to greet them with a high-five when they resurfaced from the most exhilarating two minutes of their lives, despite how many times they had insisted they would never jump. The vulnerability of sharing our fear and the triumph of sharing our victories united us in a truly unforgettable way.
Without all the amazing individuals in our group, I don’t think I would have been able to conquer this unique feat. This experience exemplified how the kindness and support of others can help to overcome any obstacle or fear, and has inspired me to encourage others with this same kind of positive energy.