A Reluctant Adrenaline Junkie

I have decided that I’m a reluctant adrenaline junkie.

I know what you’re thinking:
That sounds like a contradiction in terms.
I don’t look like your typical adrenaline junkie. I’m not young, fit, tanned and I don’t have a six pack.

Let me explain.

About 10 years ago, my partner asked me if I wanted to sail a boat as he was considering buying one. My response was “I have no idea. I’ve never sailed before” So he bought a boat.

The boat could sleep 6 people. It had two masts, lots of ropes and wires and important looking bits of electronic equipment. Everything had a name that I couldn’t relate to anything I knew. I didn’t have any idea what the bowsprit was or the main sheet and I didn’t know if they were important and if they were, what to do with them.

We waited for a lovely blustery day and we headed out for our first sail. We made our way uneventfully, out of Portsmouth harbour, which is one of the busiest harbours in the world. Just outside the harbour mouth Ian said he wanted to get the sail up and could I please keep the boat heading into wind. Of course I didn’t know what that meant and I certainly didn’t know how to do it. So I didn’t. And it went badly wrong. There was a lot of sail flapping and shouting and waving of arms and there was a really large passenger ferry coming out of the harbour mouth which honked quite rudely at us a number of times at us. We were then visited by the harbour master in their fast boat and encouraged to go back into port and moor up our boat. Perhaps it was too windy today. The mooring was also rather exciting in a very unpleasant way. This involved some more shouting, some blood, a few lifelong scars and a very important boat hook dropped overboard. I had had enough and I had the answer to Ian’s question: “No, I don’t like sailing and I don’t ever want to set foot on a boat again”.

Unfortunately we had a beginner sailing course booked the following weekend. So, to keep up appearances I went on the course, as a polite goodbye to sailing. AND I LOVED IT! The instructor had us sitting on the high edge of the boat as it leant over at 20 degrees and then he’d “tack” and we’d be lying with our feet up in the air towards the middle of the boat, with our bodies inches from the water. It was exhilarating and a little scary but it was so much fun. While we were in that position he asked someone to go down below and make us all a cup of tea.
My decision to never sail again was completely overturned. I decided that I was petrified and exhilarated and the best thing to do was to learn as much as I could and practice as often as I could. 10 years later I’ve completed numerous courses, and sailed hundreds of miles, sometimes out in the open ocean at night with nobody else around, sometimes up close to cargo ships, sometimes taking split second actions to navigate between racing boats or keeping clear of complete novices coming out of busy harbours while not smashing our boat on the rocks. I still find it scary almost every time, and I still love it. We learned some really easy ways to moor the boat without personal injury. And we also learned that the blasts from the ferry were officially called “I don’t understand your intentions” and unofficially, something a lot ruder than that.

Apparently this was all just the start of a trend:

Going up a ski lift knowing that I hadn’t skiied for 5 years and at the top I would have to hunker down and glide off the ski lift and down a ski run. I apparently looked terrified but when asked if I wanted to stay on the chair lift and go back down, I shook my head and continued up. I skiied down that hill and I loved the feeling of the free gliding down the hill.

Zip lining at Grouse Mountain: About to walk off the edge of a safe wooden frame into the valley below and trust that this gadget above me wouldn’t just collapse and leave me flying swiftly down to earth? And what if I smash both wrists trying to stop at the end, like the guy at work told me had happened to his friend? I’ve been zip lining on two other occasions since then.
Diving off the back of a boat in the middle of the big open ocean, and then looking down and seeing the most amazingly beautiful world below. And not wanting the dive to end.

Yes, I’m a reluctant adrenaline junkie. The thought of doing something scares me, but for some reason, I go ahead anyway and it makes me feel so alive. Perhaps I’ve got the right balance -I have a healthy respect for what I’m about to do but that doesn’t stop me.



Today’s Guest Post is brought to you by Alida O’S a wonderful lady, great friend, business partner and the person who always says yes when I ask “shall we do this?”