step out of your comfort zone.
I could feel the adrenaline pulsing through my veins as I stood at the entrance to the Haleakala national park and tried not to think about the descent down the side of the volcano. The ascent was easy mainly because it was before the sunrise and I couldn’t see just how high we really were. Post sunrise, you could tell we were at least 8,000 feet above sea level. My knees buckled as they called my number and handed me my old rickety bike with worn out brakes. “I’m suppose to ride this all the way down!? You have got to be joking,” I thought to myself.
Up until the last 3 years of my life I didn’t do anything outside of my comfort zone. I have severe and crippling anxiety at times and my whole life I played it “safe”. Something changed when I turned twenty four years old. I did everything my parents had told me to do my entire life. I never paved the way for myself and I didn’t really have to fight for anything on my own ever. On my 24th birthday I realized I felt kind of cheated out of that experience in life. How can you truly be successful if you didn’t fight for what you want? When my now husband asked me to move one thousand miles away I instantly knew I had to say yes. So I did.
Just give in.
“LET’S GO!” Our guide screamed. I wanted to cry and scream and laugh all at the same time. I was all the way in the back, that meant I would have to keep up with everyone else. Part of me wanted to throw my hand up and jump in the van for the ride down. The other part of me was screaming to just let go and enjoy the ride. One by one the bikes started to move and I had to make a decision, give up or give in. So I thought of my spin instructor’s favorite tag line “Don’t give up, give in”. I strapped on my helmet, took my feet off the ground and gave in.
Deciding to move a thousand miles away from my family and friends was hard. I had already committed to going, but I was still silently looking for an out. Instead of letting myself be upset, I thought about my life. I was trying to figure out who I really was, and in order to do that you need to push yourself. I had Brandon as an amazing support system and my family would still be just a phone call away. This would be my chance to make it on my own. I had to let go of my fear and push my boundaries.
there is nothing more satisfying than facing your fears.
Once we got going, I realized all the anxiety and fear of biking Haleakala was in my head. The scariest part of the entire ride, was everything I was telling myself leading up to it. The ride itself was relaxing, beautiful, AMAZING, and awe-inspiring. We rode through a lavender farm, a pine forest, sugar cane fields, and towns. Ending the route with an awesome view of the beach and pacific ocean. In a total of 6 hours I had froze my butt off at over 10,000 feet, watched the sun rise from above a volcanic crater, biked down about 24 miles of volcano, and stood on the beach. If you want to talk about exhilarating, THAT is exhilarating.
Moving to Wisconsin and away from everything I knew and loved was one of the best things I have ever done. I still am searching to find out who I truly am. I’m constantly growing as a person and I believe travel is one of the best ways to do that. There were 3 major turning points in my life that have made me who I am today. The first, was a cross country road trip with my parents in 2013. The second, was the day I met my husband (ultimately leading to the day I chose to marry him and move 1,000 miles away). The third, was the day I chose to face my fears and bike down a volcano on a bike that was about 25 years old and falling apart.
do not let your fear hold you back.
If there is something you want, do not let the fear of anything hold you back. Fear is the opposite of love. Love makes your life better, fear will keep you from doing the things you love. Give yourself enough credit to know that you will come out on top, and fear is only an emotion. Face your fears. Fear cannot hurt you, so find your volcano and bike the hell out of it.
[The company we used for our tour we found through Viator, the price was fair and the service was fantastic. We had a great time with our guides and enjoyed every minute of our trip. We enjoyed coffee in a small ‘cowboy’ town about halfway down the volcano. Everyone was really nice and our instructors seemed to be having a great time too. We definitely recommend using Mountain Riders if you decide to book.If you have a little more experience riding, you can also solo ride the same route. Experienced biker? Try biking UP the volcano and do the Cycle to the Sun ride.]