Post-gorging on street food in Hanoi, a trip to magical Halong Bay was in store. We chartered a trip, met a crew of fabulous Dutch, Germans and Italians and meandered our way among a smattering of Halong’s nearly 2000 islands by boat. We ate crabs, sipped beers, basked in sun, kayaked, swam (well some people swam -not me) and enjoyed the slight sway of a Chinese junk boat.
Now, I’m the first to admit that I’m no Sporty Spice, and frankly the kayaking portion of the trip was stressing me out. But you know what? I did it. I did it anyway. And I realized a few things as I was spraining my thumb on the kayak paddles, and crashing into a cave wall: First, I hate kayaking. Second, I didn’t shy away from my unathletic fears and more importantly I realized that on this trip I’ve even come to face a few of them.
I swam in the sea in Turkey off our boat. As a VERY weak swimmer, I am normally petrified of the open seas sans life vest. In the Maldives, I went snorkeling – many times, and kayaked in the Indian Ocean. And I lived to tell the tales of both adventures.
I know this isn’t adventure travel, not by a stretch. But hey – for me, this is pushing the boundaries. For once, I didn’t fall back on the echoes in my head telling me “I’m not athletic, I don’t like deep water, I won’t be good at this, I won’t have fun, I will be scared, I will not be good at this,” and on and on and on.
I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to even do things that would never have crossed my path living in a city highrise but moreso, I’m proud that I actually did them.
In the end, I learned should I never sit in a kayak again I will die happy, but I also learned that snorkeling a reef in the Maldives and watching scores of fish jump and flit and slither past me in every color of the rainbow will remain once of the greatest experiences of my life thus far.