Oh the places you can go. How about trying a new locale off the beaten path…Sri Lanka. It’s beauty is waiting for you. Have you visited Sri Lanka? Tell us your experience. Are you eager to learn more before you visit. Tell us what interest you. http://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/destinations/asia/sri-lanka/know-before-you-go-sri-lanka/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_content=link_tw20160807travel-srilanka&utm_campaign=Content&sf32654247=1
You didn’t begin swimming at eight-years-old, or execute your first gymnastics vault at five. It takes years of practice and hard work to make the cut as an Olympian. You think without youth on your side there is simply no chance. Not true…you can become an Olympian at the ripe age of 50 or older. Check out these Olympians who are not youngsters, but who are still going for the GOLD! Imagine it…You, entering the stadium during opening ceremonies, your head held high…even if it’s full of grey hair. What an honor to be part of the chosen few. Your bones may not muster the 400 meter race, and you may not be quite agile enough for diving. There are still sports that are kinder to the more mature anatomy. What Olympic sport would you choose?
Up above Fenton, Michigan some 8,000 feet in a hot air balloon, fifteen of my pals and our pilot could see as far as Ontario, Canada. It was a perfect June evening, the winds were calm, no precipitation, just a clear, bright day.
The splendor of the horizons below seemed majestic: vast farmlands, rivers glistening, and treetops where only those with wings and sharp claws could climb. Our pilot glided us so close we could actually touch the tops of the trees, and like a kid I was gleeful to do what I couldn’t without the aid of this flying contraption.
When we reached about 9,000 feet, internally I began to panic. My brain did an assessment. There was no ladder, no safety harness, no net to capture us should we fall, and no parachute. The sixteen of us were nestled tight in this basket, with a vinyl balloon a tank of propane…a nightmare ready to ignite. What was I thinking? I inhaled slowly, took several short breaths as I viewed our sister balloon some miles away, it too grazing the skyline, assuredly buoyant, determined to stay its course. I calmed and listened to conversations onboard, took selfies, and recorded videos.
I focused on the moment, the air tousling my hair, the warmth on my neck, the smiles and excitement of my fellow passengers. I took it all in, including when we safely landed in a seven-acre field owned by a neighboring couple, who were surprised, but delighted to see us. Jubilant chatter about the next ride began. “What about a sunrise tour?” someone asked. “Fall…that’s the best time,” another passenger offered. And like that, I quickly put behind me the frightful thoughts of earlier. One month later, July 30, 2016, the horrific hot air balloon that crashed in Texas taking the lives of the sixteen onboard brought the world and all of us who experienced our flight to a chilling pause.
The text messages I received were instantaneous. All to some degree saying, “See what happened?! Don’t do that again.” “Girl, that’s why I would never get on a hot air balloon.” “Sheri, you were so lucccckkky.” The funny thing is, more people die in auto accidents and even in their sleep than death by hot air balloon. No one ever texts me to say, “See, that’s why I will never cruise on I-75 again,” or, “Forget about sleep, I may never wake up.” I get it though, ballooning is a thrill ride, an adventure dump, we really can’t avoid driving (at least not in Detroit) and certainly not sleeping. If you never get on a hot air balloon the chances are you will never die from one.
But, the euphoria. If a hot air ballon is not for you, or even hair raising things like sky diving, that’s ok. But, I hope that you are always open to that quake in your heart, that flutter on your skin, that rapture of your soul. I dream of a Fall air balloon flight one day. Maybe, not soon. When I do, I will pray that all goes well. What do you think? Are there any adventures that make you pause?
I was the last one on board after some serious convincing and still I wonder how they persuaded me to go whitewater rafting when I didn’t even know what whitewater rafting was. But my friends’ energy, love, and excitement pushed me to a level of intrigue, trust, and adventure that I couldn’t have imagined.
Prior to that, I honestly didn’t have a desire or see a need to travel anywhere without my husband. Once I decided to go, I shared the news with him. He was actually all for it; so, in July 2009, we jumped into a truck and drove from Detroit to West Virginia for an escapade on the New and Gauley rivers.
The morning of the adventure I was excited and nervous. We prayed, we squealed with excitement, and we held moments of silence just to get our minds ready. For a city girl like me, even the drive-through town was a reminder that I was in unfamiliar territory.
Our hearts pumping, we prepared ourselves for our first rapid—a level 3! Our mission, to not fall out of the raft. When we conquered that rapid without losing passengers, confidence washed over us. Again, we took on this challenge a few more times and were simply thrilled with ourselves. There were high fives all around and a lot of exhaling.
Just when we thought things were settling down, a large wave swept our guide from the raft. Pure panic set in as we witnessed fear surge across our guide’s face. Thankfully, a few of us moved into action, holding out the end of the paddle as our guide instructed us in the beginning. Of course, that was in case one of us fell off, not her.
In just a few short hours, we shared moments of fear, excitement, and triumph. None of us fell out of the raft! We bonded and emerged victoriously!
Encouraging one another and sharing the adrenaline and excitement of the day felt great. While we were individuals with unique journeys, we came together to support and push one another to overcome any fears prior to our next adventure… Because there surely would be another adventure.
Has there ever been a feat in your life that seemed so insurmountable you had no idea how to master it, weather it, or endure it?
Those times in life can be chilling… basically, they can take your breath away.
We all have been there. No one will walk away from this planet unscathed from that one moment (or several) where the floor underneath your feet shifts and causes you to adapt, adjust, and somehow find your way.
The Dare Divas are set to tackle a big mountain. It is gargantuan. It stands 19,341 feet tall; the altitude is thin; and if not properly equipped, the trek can be hair-raising and dangerous. So there is the disclaimer.
IT IS A JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME. Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is the highest mountain in Africa and has been trekked by both seasoned and novice hikers since the 1800s. You don’t need to be an expert climber to do this. This will be the first time the Dare Divas have ever climbed. We each will check with our physicians and get the OK, but we know it is DOABLE.
The eight-day trek is manageable, and we will have expert guides on hand to help along the way. We are doing it because, well, WE CAN. And so can you. Even if we don’t make it to the top — to be honest the top is not the goal, trying is the goal – we will be successful.
Won’t you come with us?
This journey, trekking Mt. Kilimanjaro can be your way to celebrate a recent accomplishment. Maybe you need to heal and need this outlet, or you need to add a zest of life to your mundane one. Whatever your reason, join the Dare Divas as we hike Mt. Kilimanjaro in September 2018.
My favorite dare, so far, was the NASCAR Racing Experience. Growing up in Detroit with a household full of car guys who could quote Chilton repair manuals chapter and verse, I regularly overheard conversations filled with exotic words like “chassis”, “engine torque” and “suspension systems”.
And even though I barely understood a word of what they were saying, the message was clear: Cars are cool; and the faster, the better. Once I learned how to drive, I wanted a piece of the action. Unfortunately for me though, my first car was a well-worn 1976 Chevy Chevette with a 4-speed manual transmission (stick shift) …not exactly the stuff an aspiring car girl’s dreams are made of. It didn’t matter though. The seed was planted; and like Walter Mitty, my imagination was fertile ground.
Fast forward to December 2015 when the DARE DIVAS decided to drive actual NASCAR race cars on the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina. I was so thrilled you could have knocked me over with a feather. When we finally arrived at the race track, I could feel my adrenaline pumping as drivers revved their engines and cars took steeply banked turns at super high speeds. Let. Me. At. It.
And then I noticed something that snapped me out of my own thoughts and opened my eyes to the best thing about being a DARE DIVA. I saw my girls nervously chatting with one another and grilling our instructor about what to expect once we got out there. I really wanted to know too, but there was something about the way they sought out information that grabbed my attention. They pressed in and listened carefully out of sheer determination to do this despite any fear or uncertainty that was trying to bubble up inside.
They defiantly stepped out of their comfort zones. I watched them steel their nerves and learn how to drive a stick shift for the first time – on a NASCAR race car, no less! Then, when the time came, we each slid into our cars in true “Dukes of Hazzard” style; and after giving each other a vigorous thumbs up, we held on to all 900 of those “horses” and went on the rides of our lives! We were exhilarated, empowered, and scared as all get-out – but we were in this thing together. And that’s what’s in the heart of a true DARE DIVA.
Dare Divas™ are all about adventure… and support… and friendship.
On TheDareDiva.com, risk-taking, make-it-happen women share their exciting exploits and travels as they encourage women of all ages, backgrounds, and nationalities to reach beyond their comfort zones and live their lives to the fullest.