A part of me wanted to lead with a hilarious introduction about how I’m not gay – and thus wouldn’t be advising you on what to wear, what bars to hang out at, or where to go on a romantic getaway – but I’ve decided to keep quiet about the whole thing and play it out as we get to know each other better.
We can start out nice and slow, and we’ll just leave it at this: My name is Will, I run a daily blog called Wake and Wander, and I’ll be your adventure tour guide until further notice. It makes sense considering I first met Editor Jimmy Im in Puerto Rico, and that I’m the only one who knows he figuratively pissed himself on a zip-line called The Beast.
Now I understand that zip-lining may not sound as sexy as some other adventure activities, but riding The Beast is the closest I’ve come to feeling like Superman since I donned the pajamas as a five-year old. It’s also unique in that you experience horizontal velocity almost entirely. It is zip-lining – not skydiving – that offers us the closest glimpse of what it feels like to fly. Think about it: To skydive means to fall, not to fly.
The Beast is one of the longest zip-lines in the world at just under a mile (4745 ft), the river and jungle floor a significant 853 feet below. Unlike traditional zip-lining where you’re in the seated position and hooked at the waist, The Beast sends you off in the flying position, parallel to the ground. It grabs you in two places – one near your neck and the other under your thighs – allowing you to do your best Superman impersonation at 60 mph.
Although the guides recommend keeping your arms at your side to increase speed, I found it hard to resist putting them out in front, if only for a few seconds. When my head was down, all I could see was the canyon floor and the flowing water – not the ropes or even my legs – and all at once something happened, my mind went blank and I forgot about the harness, that I was on a ride. I have experienced feelings of being weightless during skydiving and other amusement park rides (which we’ll talk about later), but never with such forward velocity and never with the mechanisms of safety so out of sight (think about how having your feet on the floor of a roller coaster detracts from the illusion of flight).
This is the type of thing that we’ll discuss in this column – the adventure side of travel – as well as the thrills and memories that come along with it. Feel free to follow along with my travels, hit me up on Facebook (facebook.com/wakeandwander) or Twitter (@wakeandwander), and/or recommend activities you think will make me scream.