I can’t say that I do one thing every day that scares me, but if my day includes something that requires me to be higher than 5’ off the ground, then that would definitely be my one thing for that day!
I don’t just dislike heights, I am ‘throw-up, make-me-dizzy, I’m-going-to-die-today’ afraid of heights.
We found ourselves at the Casino Queen RV Park in St. Louis late on a lovely, September evening after a 14-hour day on the road. St Louis was our first stop on our trek into the Deep South, and the Casino Queen was the only place in St. Louis proper to park our trailer. This RV Park is an asphalt parking lot named for the casino that shares the parking area.
St Louis is a lovely place (even though it’s a little sketchy getting down to the Casino Queen) and is worth a day of seeing some of the city’s lovely gardens, cathedrals, historic homes and museums.
We stopped in for one reason, though. We stopped there to see the Gateway Arch. The Arch is a solid stainless steel monument honoring the Westward Expansion of the United States. It is the tallest arch in the world, as well as the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere. It sounded like something we definitely needed to see and I had put it on our itinerary.
I suppose, however, that I never really faced the probability that we would actually need to ascend up into this thing…
So there we were at the Casino Queen setting up camp the best we could on asphalt, with this 630’ high colossal arch looming over us. Eddie doesn’t like heights any more than I do, so to avoid the conversation about whether or not we were actually going to go up 630’, I was assessing the best spot to take pictures (from the ground of course), and going over information about the Gateway Arch. The Arch is the center piece of the Jefferson Expansion Memorial and was designed in 1947 by Eero Saarinen. Construction began in 1963, finished in 1965, and the Arch was opened to the public in 1967.
We eventually decided that we’d come a long way to just take a picture from our campsite, so up we decided to go! The following morning gave us gorgeous, blue skies and we were able to see for miles from the top. Getting to the top was a little bit like riding an enclosed Ferris wheel, and being inside made us both feel a little less intimidated. It was awesome and we were so glad that we had made the effort!
I have since learned something about myself concerning my issue with heights.
After falling madly in love with a helicopter ride that Eddie made me do in Ketchikan, Alaska (although Eddie hates heights, he makes exceptions for helicopter rides), I realized that it’s not being up high that causes my distress, or even the fear of being dead (which I’m not the least bit afraid of). It’s the fear of falling that leaves me debilitated! I am now learning (or at least, trying to learn) how to focus on the enjoyment of seeing things from a different perspective rather than feeling and picturing myself fainting and falling.
I can now share that I have:
Climbed the Eiffel Tower in Paris; Stepped into the Sky Box at Willis Tower in Chicago: Enjoyed the sunset from the Empire State Building in NYC; Seen Abe’s Face from a helicopter at Mt Rushmore; Scaled 463 steps to the top of the Duomo in Florence Italy; Peeked over the edge of the Colorado Monument in Grand Junction; Been on the Roof of the Churchill Downs Racetrack in Louisville; Crossed the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge in Vancouver; Seen Seattle from the Space Needle; and I have even zip lined across the top of a cruise ship!
Have I come to love heights? Nope. Am I still afraid of falling? Yes. Absolutely. Will I stop pushing myself (and allowing myself to be pushed) upwards? NO WAY!
I hope that travel will also inspire you to face your fears and conquer the obstacles that hold you back!