Sunday, April 6, 2008

Rushing (Away ) from Adrenaline

I have a position on adrenaline. I’m against it.

My husband Kerry, on the other hand, is a thrill junkie. He constantly pushes me to LEAP into adventure while I would rather look and look and look some more before finally deciding: “Nah. I don’t really want to leap.’’

This push and pull has played out for the 20 years of our marriage, often on vacation. All I want is a hammock. All he wants is for us to hurtle somewhere fast until the adrenaline is pumping so hard I’m sure I’m two heartbeats from death.

Now, I’m taking a stand for thrill-o-phobes everywhere. As the travel season approaches, I’m here to say you don’t have to “Just Try It.’’ Instead, heed my advice on the top 3 things the adrenaline adverse should never ever try:

** Zip-lining. “Imagine,’’ Kerry said, “flying on a cable through the tree-tops of an old-growth forest.’’ Now imagine me dangling from that same cable awaiting rescue, trussed up like a duck in the window of a Chinese butcher. It turned out the zipline folks didn’t really mean it when they told me I could quit if I didn’t like it before completing all the runs.

A staffer tried first – and failed – to get me back to the starting point by wrapping his legs around my body and inching us hand-over-hand along the cable like early Sylvester Stallone. Finally, they had to call for a truck and a tow rope to haul me backwards, against gravity, to where I could safely disconnect and descend.

** Whitewater rafting. In Florida, our rivers meander slowly, gently. Plop my bottom in an inner tube and I’ll happily float all day. But sharp rocks, churning water, violent rapids that send a six-man raft spinning? What was I thinking?

Normally, I repress adrenaline-related memories, but there’s photographic evidence of this one. A huge boulder looms. Water roils. My husband’s up front in the airborne raft, wide smile. I’m crouched in back next to the guide, mouth gaping in horror like that guy from “The Scream.’’

** Snow-skiing. As Kerry raced over Black Diamond trails, I ventured onto the Bunny Slope … and was immediately mowed down by one of my beginner-class mates, an 8-year-old with no fear. I sprained an ankle, and had to be carted off the hill. Which proved my point: A middle-aged woman has no business trying to learn to ski, especially if her sole snow experience was growing up eating Sno-Kones in Florida.

So there you have it, fellow quiet types. Travel adventures I’ve tried -- and hated. Check back next year for possible additions. Kerry’s dropping hints about hiking a glacier.

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