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Parasailing Travel Diary: a Fear of Heights Conquered and a Bucket List Check

Posted on September 21, 2016 by Jessica Buck & filed under Travel
Nicknamed The World’s Most Famous Beach, the Floridian city of Daytona Beach is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the United States. At 165 kilometers long, Daytona boasts one of the largest beaches in America and is nicknamed The Spring Break Capital of the World. Once you get there, it’s easy to see why! Daytona is also home to NASCAR, and is well known for hosting motor sports and bike races. Locals and tourists alike can wander down the boardwalk or visit the nearby water park to get a true taste of the city.

I’ve always wanted to go to Florida. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve dreamed about visiting the sunshine state. I wanted to go to their beaches, and feel the golden sands between my toes and gaze at the endless ocean, with its turquoise green colors glistening in the light. I recently visited Florida for the first time and, when I was offered the chance to go parasailing on Daytona Beach, I totally jumped at the chance!

I was, and still am, completely terrified of heights. Like seriously terrified. I get anxious, I start sweating uncontrollably and I generally start freaking out. For some strange reason though, I was drawn to parasailing and was so eager for my experience to begin. I guess it helps that Daytona is absolutely stunning; it’s brimming with beauty and there’s so much to see and do. I couldn’t wait to feel the waves lapping at my feet, get hoisted up into the air and then gaze down at the miles of ocean stretched out below me. And then it happened. In a few seconds of craziness I was up in the air, 600 feet up in the air actually, with nothing but the ocean beneath me.

It was truly breath-taking, all I could see for miles and miles was blue sea after blue sea, and the faint outline of the headland in the distance. It took me a while to catch my breath, and to take in my new surroundings. I screamed at first, as I adjusted to the height, and as I shakily clung on to the ropes beside me for dear life, the backs of my hands dripping with sweat. But then, I relaxed, and I felt a sudden sense of calmness despite being 600 feet up in the air. I don’t know whether it was the quiet sea beneath me, with no sound of waves, or just the sheer beauty of what I was witnessing, but I experienced something I’d never felt before. Normal me would be panicking; what if the ropes snap? What if I fall? What if I suddenly feel sick? But this new me was totally at ease and at one with the world despite taking on my biggest fear.

I was in the air for around 20 minutes when the descent slowly started. Still calm and peaceful, I made my way slowly back to the boat before being dipped in the water and then landing firmly on the back of the boat, where my instructors greeted me with open arms. During my descent I saw something even more breath-taking than miles of ocean; I saw a pod of dolphins swimming nearby! Actual, real life dolphins. I’ve never seen dolphins in the wild before, and it was amazing! They swam with such grace, so majestic and beautiful. I only saw them for a matter of seconds, catching a glimpse of a fin and seeing the splash of a tail before they disappeared beneath the waves, but in those split seconds I had to pinch myself and wonder if I was dreaming.

Parasailing was one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. I’m not a risk-taker, I don’t do water sports, but this was something else. It was a once in a lifetime bucket list experience, and I am so happy I pushed myself and was able to take part in something so incredible. I learned a lot about myself that day. I learned that I can be calm in situations where I might otherwise panic. I learned that I love the sea a heck of a lot more than I thought I did, and I learned that I can take on anything if I put my mind to it. Conquering a fear of heights is one thing, but being able to sit back and enjoy something once the fear has vanished is a different thing altogether.

So thank you, Daytona Beach, for allowing me to experience something so rich and beautiful, in your wonderful city, and for helping me conquer something that otherwise has affected my life for as long as I can remember. I now feel as if I can fly. I can soar, and I can take on heights with a new perspective now that I’ve found peace while parasailing.

About the Author: Jess is a 22 year old travel-obsessive, always planning her next adventure! She loves ticking iconic landmarks off her bucket list and has a particular passion for fun filled European city breaks. Follow her latest news over on her travel blog ‘Journeys with Jessica.’
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