It’s a question I get asked a lot…
After seven years of travelling at someone else’s expense, I’ve done some of the craziest things you could do – both on and off-camera. (But let’s stick to the on-camera stuff for now!)
Part of the reason we love to travel so much is for the opportunities to try things we just can’t do at home. Many countries have far more relaxed rules when it comes to experiencing their cultures – can you imagine a Running of the Bulls through Pitt Street Mall?
And common sense plays an important role in staying safe while enjoying these experiences. Sure, the lions might look calm and friendly sitting there under the tree, and sure, it looks like you could just walk over and pat them, but when a Japanese tourist casually gets out of your open-top jeep and walks over to the pride to get a closer look, you realise that it’s about 100 kinds of crazy too far.
Most of my favourite experiences involved jumping into the unknown, literally. Paragliding off a mountainside in Zermatt, Switzerland meant running as fast as I could to the edge of a very steep drop and jumping off. The “what ifs” come thick and fast as you descend into the valley, floating over the skiers below. Legs dangling, the wind in my ears, I had just enough time to scream out to the cameraman floating beside me who was getting far too close for comfort!
Abseiling off Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa is another highlight for those who are brave enough, but conditions can change quickly. A ‘table cloth’ of cloud could potentially spoil any paying customer’s adventure, but not mine. My excuse? I didn’t pay. A bit of cloud wasn’t going to stop me. I kept on going, much to the operator’s dismay.
A crazy leap into the milky sky and an endless rope did give me the jitters halfway down, I’ll admit. Scared, cold and feeling very foolish, I eventually made it to the bottom to rejoin said operator, who wasn’t thrilled that his staff didn’t stop me at the top.
Zip-lining through Costa Rica’s cloud forests was amazing. As a 14-year-old instructor hooked me onto a steel cable and pushed me out over the treetops, the huge rusty pylons started to creak and sway. Once you’re in, there’s no other way out. I loved it!
But not every adventure has to involve jumping, swinging or flying. Just crossing the street in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam is crazy. I learnt quickly that the trick is to look straight ahead and not stop until you reach the other side. If you hesitate even slightly at an oncoming moped, they’ll clip you for sure. And the riders don’t take too kindly to human obstacles!
Go ahead and try the homebrew in some faraway country like Kenya. I did. Just don’t worry about the fact that the key ingredient is pig’s blood! That didn’t make for a happy tummy.
Sampling an age-old family recipe for limoncello in Cinque Terre, Italy will get ya buzz on. Lesson learnt: don’t plan anything for the afternoon. Then there was the nice old lady on the Wicklow Way in Ireland, who made me blood pudding for breakfast… “Um, lady, you have to actually cook it first!”
Crazy comes in many forms. Just the fact that you’re overseas guarantees you’ll come home with many great stories to tell family and friends – and memories you’ll never forget.