What a spectacular week of Caribbean cruising with the LeGrand’s and the Wolff’s aboard the Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas! Celebrating Bev & Ron’s 48th Anniversary – WOW! Good friends – scrumptious food – all kinds of entertainment on board – all types of adventures and excursions to choose from at each port of call! What’s there not to like?!
Did I say ‘excursion?’ While we participated in several excursions, let me say there was one outing that most definitely is a class above excursion: it fits the criteria for what my family calls a “Character Building Activity” (CBA). It’s called “The Canopy & Challenge.” The title alone should have been a big clue. In fact, Jay & I did question our Concierge Director Diego – oh, but he said, “Go with your friends!” So we went with our friends.
The Ziplining part? Oh, that was quite exhilarating! The thrill of zipping from one platform to another through the Antigua Rainforest will long be a favored memory. Eleven Ziplines with one 36′ drop in the midst of the course – “No Problem!” It was “The Challenge” at the end that caught us by surprise.
We caught a glimpse of some of “The Challenge” along about the 9th Zipline. “Five bridges” – only 5? Seemed like about 7 or 8 by the time we finished – all combinations of ropes, cables, and boards – the engineering feat of it all was something to behold…unless you were “beholding” it to try to solve how to move through it and not break something!
Scribblenauts” (a popular problem-solving game) was a piece of cake compared to this! At one point, Ron, Jay and myself were waiting on a platform for our turn- we started discussing lessons we could learn from our experience. If you’ve listened to Ron’s teaching, you’ll remember hearing these – funny how they apply to all kinds of life situations!
Trust – we listened to and trusted the Rangers on the course -they were instructing us and setting us up for success.
Do your research and choose carefully – this is a voice of experience. *Nuff said.
Preparation – in retrospect, probably 6 months of weight training would have helped me immensely in conquering this challenge. But life doesn’t always give us notice of what lies ahead. And we actually have been in training all our lives to solve problems. So perhaps it’s just as well we proved to ourselves we could make it through using the ‘tools’ within us as well as the experiences of the people around us.
Get rid of pre-existing ideas from previous experiences – Growing up, my siblings and I made a similar downward trek on a swing hanging on a cable between two big trees; there was no one to stop you at the end, so you had to stop yourself or ‘kiss the tree’ and endure scratches and scrapes. At the end of each Zipline there was a big padded cushion as well as a Ranger to keep this from happening. I had to totally change my thinking to be successful in this new experience!
First Steps – that first step off the platform for the 36′ drop was a totally foreign concept. Looking over the edge, there’s lots of trepidation. Factored in with Trust, it was easy to take that step with confidence.
Focus – moving across the ‘bridges’ required intense focus – definitely no time for distractions – “stay on task” took on new meaning!
Mentor/Coach – I was thankful to be part of such an encouraging “team” in working through “The Challenge.” One member in particular was very helpful to me – in fact, I adopted him as my Mentor/Coach. We met Steve and his wife Stacy on the taxi ride to the Zipline course. Steve was just ahead of me on the course. I watched what he did and followed his example as best I could – he was always telling me encouraging things as I followed where he’d been – and he gave me other tips that he had used along the way. There’s lots of reasons why we all need a Mentor/Coach!!
Purpose of ropes – grab hold of them – use them to solve the problems of the moment – kinda hard to let go of them – after all, they do lend a sense of security – but some ropes we have to be willing to let go of in order to grab the next rope and keep moving forward.
At the end of the day, we count it a good memory. It’s what most days are made of: beautiful moments as well as challenges. We are thankful to have both from our Zipline experience – the experience of viewing the rainforest while traversing through its canopy as well as meeting the challenge of maneuvering through the course using both our own problem-solving skills and the help of our friends!