I´ve written about fear before, as have so many others, and yet, it´s a theme that just doesn´t go away.
A few days into my trip, I went sand-boarding, which, as the name might suggest, is like snow-boarding, except in the desert. I´m known for being somewhat dexterously challenged, so I was pretty worried about sand-boarding from the beginning.
First dune. Ten metres or so in height. I stand on the board, launch into it, fall epically, but it´s fun. I laugh, pick my board up, and go again. All good.
Then we are driven in the buggy to the next dune… Gulp. This one is easily more than ten times the height of the last. Oh lordy. The instructor, having seen our poor quality upright boarding ´reassures´ us by telling us we won´t be doing this one standing up. We´ll be going down on our fronts. This provides some relief, until I realise that it means essentially I will be lying face down on a shiny flat piece of wood launching head first down a steep sand dune. There is no safe way of stopping, except for reaching the bottom. Gulp.
No-one dies doing this, I remind myself. I lie on the board, being held in place at a 45 degree angle by the instructor. I wriggle into position: elbows tucked in, legs raised off the ground. The instructor lets go. And then there´s nothing for it. No more waiting. Just – go. A little shuffle, and… I´m off! Head First. And, it´s amazing! A freedom. A semblence of flight. Hurtling down so fast you can barely see. I land at the bottom, welcomed by a round of applause from my stranger-friends. Exhilaration! I want to do it again!
So, see. There was nothing to be afraid of. Yet, if it hadn´t been so daunting, it´s likely that it wouldn´t have been as much fun.
Isn´t that always the case? Risk is always intertwined with reward. Risk nothing, gain nothing.