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Bungee jumping: Sometimes it just takes a push


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by Erin Wolosz

There I was, tethered to a cable car suspended more than 450 feet over a valley in Costa Rica. I shuffled to the edge. My feet felt like rocks, maybe because of the harnesses on my ankles, or maybe it was just the sheer terror.  I looked out over the open edge- there was no way I was jumping from there.

The guide double checked the chords: good to go.

“Cinco, Cuatro,” my heart was racing.

“Tres, Dos,” almost time.

“Uno-BUNGEEEEE.”

Nothing happened. My feet were cemented and had no plans of moving any time soon.  The guide pried my fingers off of the railing and placed my hands on my chest. I knew what was coming, and I was not ready for it. As I felt the guide’s hand begin to apply pressure on my back I grabbed onto the railing hugging it in fear. Not yet I thought. I can’t go just yet. In a third attempt the guide, again, pried me off of whatever I could get my hands on and held my arms down on my chest. Then he pushed.

As I plummeted, face first, toward the lush green valley below, the adrenaline pumped through my veins like a drug. I was speechless- nothing came out but a helpless yelp. It was amazing, terrifying, exhilarating, and mind-boggling all at the same time. As I sprang back up after reaching the end of the bungee cord, I knew that I did not regret anything. I was as happy as could be.

A friend had told me earlier in the day that it does not truly count if you need to be pushed, because you did not actually jump.  At that moment, hanging helplessly by my feet in the middle of Costa Rica, I knew it definitely still counted.

Sometimes all it takes is a little push.

It brought me instantly back to my decision to study abroad. I had never thought I had what it takes to live in another culture. Learning a new language seemed impossible, and I was afraid to leave the life I had made for myself at UMass. What about my friends, my extracurricular activities, and my journalism classes? I filled my head with “yeah-buts” and successfully convinced myself it was not possible.

Then one day last spring I got the push I needed. I had just lost an officer election for one of the clubs I am in, and was overloaded with work. I needed to get away, so I did the next best thing I could do the week before finals- I went to the International Program’s office.  With brochure in hand, I weighed my options with more “yeah-buts” then ever. One call to my grandfather changed it all- he told me flat out to go. He did not give in to my excuses. He told me to go and I sent in the application.

Without this push to go abroad I would not be the same person that is sitting writing about bungee jumping while looking at a palm tree and listening to the iguanas scratch the tin roof. Had I held on, and not let myself be pushed, I would have never reached my full potential.

Writer Jeff Goins, in an article explaining why to travel while you are young, wrote, “Be careful of the ‘yeah-but.’ The ‘yeah-but’ will kill your dreams.”

There will always be reasons to not do something, whether it be the possibility of a bungee cord breaking and plunging to your death, or the fact that you might miss something happening back home. There will always be a “yeah-but”.

After experiencing the sensational feeling of bungee jumping in Costa Rica and realizing that my UMass friends will be there when I return, the “yeah-but” quickly became a “Let’s Go!”

Erin Wolosz is studying abroad with Universities Study Abroad Consortium in Puntarenas, Costa Rica this semester.  She is a junior Journalism major and can be reached at [email protected]

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Bungee jumping: Sometimes it just takes a push