Freedom: Ziplining in Jamaica

Day 18 of 100 Days of Blogging

Saying, “YES! led me to an experience of freedom.

My husband Hurley was a born explorer and adventurer. He was a skydiving jump master, a falconer and a lover of roller coasters. When he was diagnosed with cancer, he was in the process of building an ultra-light airplane. He planned on learning to fly it when it was finished. He died 10 months later with a few more adventures in the works.

My idea of adventure is long distance road trips, museums, nature walks, the ferris wheel, the merry-go-round and walks on the beach.

A year after my husband’s death, a friend invited me to go on a Shaklee bonus cruise to Jamaica and Cancun and the Bahamas. Betsy and I both love to travel and this was an incredible gift. When we arrived on the ship, Betsy and I were looking at the off shore excursion choices. We both jumped at the idea of going to the Mayan ruins and temples, shopping and lunch in the Bahamas and a variety of spa treatments on the days at sea. Then, Betsy found something she had always wanted to do, ziplining above the canopy of trees in Jamaica. Although not as extreme as skydiving, I could feel the palms of my hands begin to sweat and my stomach doing a flip flop. I wasn’t sure if I could do this because of the heights, but with Betsy’s eagerness and the thought of my deceased husband, Hurley, I decided to go for it. I felt into the, “YES!” rising up from my heart.

When my husband died, I didn’t feel survivor’s guilt for being the person who continued to live. But, I did feel a responsibility to live life fully, to add adventures to my life that he would never have the chance to do. I felt inspired to appreciate waking up and living each day.
In Jamaica, we were transported by bus to a location with zipline guides, and equipment. As I suited up in the harness and helmet, I felt my husband’s spirit strapped in with me. Standing on the edge of the cliff, with the guide giving me words of encouragement and explaining how safe I was while connecting me to the zipline, I took a minute to close my eyes and feel the connection with my husband in my heart. “Okay, Hurley, let’s go. This one’s for you!”
I jumped off the cliff to fly over the first riverbed releasing a scream of nervousness and excitement and joy. For the next 45 minutes, we moved along the zipline landing on one platform after another. On the last zipline run, the longest one in the series of leaps, the entire line was above the tops of the trees. One of my passions is watching birds fly and soar. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was a bird flying over the tree tops.

I wanted it to go on forever. My heart soared as I felt gratitude to have had the experience. Between the eagerness of Betsy and the inspiration to live life fully, I had experienced one of the most powerful, fun moments of freedom in my lifetime.

Someday I will do it again for the pure joy of the adventure and the gratitude for being alive. I will not waste one moment of the precious time I have here. I will embrace it all and live a life worth celebrating. I say, “YES!” to life…

One comment

  • What a great description, Andrea! Thank you for sharing that adventure, and being an inspiration for saying “YES”!!!!!. A long, high zipline experience is absolutely on my bucket list! I have only experienced the one at Terrapin Adventures in Savage, MD… 30ft high and under 400ft long… and even that was a rush. Flying over forests and onto different landings… wow!

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