By: Drew Goldberg
I was on backpacking trip through Europe in the summer of 2012 with two friends. It was near the end of our one-month adventure and Switzerland was our 10th country and final destination. Despite being somewhat exhausted, we were looking to end our trip on a bang. We wanted to do something crazy—and we did just that.
A friend told me that Interlaken, Switzerland was the extreme sports capital of the world, but I wasn’t quite sure what that meant. When we arrived, our hostel was promoting skydiving, canyon swinging, paragliding, and bungee jumping and I quickly realized why Interlaken was the king of extreme sports. The beautiful scenery of the city—alongside two giant lakes and in the midst of the incredible Alps Mountains—makes this city very special.
I had never done anything extreme before in my life. Yes, I always said that I want to go skydiving and bungee jumping, but never did I have the opportunity. I have always been a little afraid of heights, but I knew that this was the time and place to overcome my fear: this was my opportunity.
Stepping out of my comfort zone is something that I try to do while traveling. Whether that means getting advice from random strangers, meeting people on the street, or jumping out of a plane. I try to rid my mind of everything and just do it.
With that all on my mind, I bought a ticket to go bungee jumping. But this was no ordinary jump…First off, we jumped out of a gondola (basically a ski lift). Also, it was 150 meters high (450 feet) over a giant lake in the middle of the Swiss Alps. It was crazy.
As time was getting closer, I began to get more nervous. When we got picked up at our hostel in a giant van early in the morning, my palms began to sweat and I felt like I was going to faint. Thankfully, the guys who ran the event were awesome and they gave us beer and blasted music to ease our nerves. There were about 10 people in the van and everyone seemed pretty cool.
After about an hour-long ride, we arrived at our destination. I was expecting them to give us a detailed lesson or tutorial on ‘how to bungee jump’ but that was not the case! All they did was weigh us on a scale, strapped gear onto our legs and threw us on the gondola.
I tried to remain calm on the way up, but it was almost impossible. When we got up to the top and it felt like we were in an airplane because we were so high. One kid volunteered to jump first, so off he went screaming the entire way down. Immediately afterwards, the guy pointed his finger at me and said, “Please step forward.”
Here we go! I put my toes on the edge and looked down. Everything in my mind was telling me, “NO, you cannot jump. You will die!”
The last thing that I told myself was to take that extra leap, go that extra mile and overcome my fears.
I jumped out.
It was the most incredible experience of my life. I can’t explain the feeling unless you’ve gone and know what the thrill feels like. Looking back, I am so happy that I took this risk and I will cherish that moment for my entire life.
The lesson to be learned is: Take the risk, step out of your comfort zone, and do something crazy while traveling. I promise you that you’ll be a more confident person and create lifelong memories.
I can’t wait to do it again!
Have you traveled to Switzerland? Share your story with the Frayed Passport community!
About the Author
Hello! My name is Drew Goldberg. I recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I double-majored in economics and entrepreneurship. In the Spring of 2012, I studied abroad in Prague, Czech Republic, where I had the wonderful opportunity to travel all over Europe. Now, I am living and teaching English in South Korea. It has been an incredible experience so far and I am looking forward to traveling all over Asia! To date, I have been to 40 countries, 44 U.S. states and I speak English, Spanish, Czech (conversational) and Korean (conversational).
Images courtesy of the author.