Costa Rica: Facing My Fears on a Shaky Bridge in Central America (Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone) by Sheri B Doyle
One thing I love about traveling is how it often forces me to step outside of my comfort zone. In the Manuel Antonio region of Costa Rica, up in the hills of the jungle is a daunting suspended bridge. During a vacation, I took a trip to see a waterfall and village in the hills. Our tour guide explained to us if we took this narrow suspended bridge, we would see a beautiful river on the other side. I was all for it. Until I stood in front of the bridge. As I stood facing this long, high bridge swaying over the river underneath, my heart started beating quickly. What had I gotten myself into?
My sister and her brother-in-law seemed to be unshaken, so they followed behind the guide. I, not wanting to be the one who didn’t do it, followed along, too. As we stepped farther away from land, the three of us started to feel the rush of fear from standing on this rickety bridge. We had to decide whether to go forward or turn back. Our guide stood in front of us grinning, knowing we were squeamish but not fully understanding why. He does this regularly, as all of the locals do, so they can’t relate to our feelings.
Without any words, we each decided we didn’t want to be the ones who couldn’t do it. So we moved forward. With each step we moved quicker, until we were almost jogging across. The view below was beautiful, but we were moving so quickly, we barely took it in.
When we reached land on the other side, there was no waterfall. There had not been enough rain. Instead of disappointment, I was elated. I had overcome my fear and made it across the bridge. Now, we had to make it back.
Returning to our starting point was not much easier, but by that point I was able to slow down to enjoy the view. It was spectacular. As I approached the end of the bridge, I felt so proud of what I had done. It didn’t matter that the water had dried up – it only mattered that I had stood up to my fears.