How Travel Writers Stay Young
When’s the last time you had a real adventure? I mean the kind that sweeps you off your feet and leaves you feeling young, refreshed, and full of life?
As a travel writer, adventure is always around the corner. All you need to do is say “yes.”
Freelance travel writer Steenie Harvey did… and she got the ride of a lifetime. Read her thrilling story below…
TALES FROM THE TRAVEL WRITING EDGE
By freelance travel writer Steenie Harvey in Ireland
Half upside-down, I dangled in fresh air at an angle of 55 degrees — a terrifying 38 floors above street level.
I’m not normally the screaming type. But with only a metal safety bar between me and sidewalk splatter, I couldn’t help but scream.
Howling at the Filipino moon, my companion sounded remarkably like a werewolf. Initially, I didn’t suspect he was insane. A young real estate agent, he only started grinning manically after producing the Sky Adventure tickets.
“My boss has arranged us a treat,” he said.
Hmm. Some treat. I also write property stories, as well as travel. So, before dark, I’d been viewing apartments in Cebu, a frazzlingly hot and humid city in the Philippines. A shower and chilled beers were my idea of a treat.
The Edge Coaster runs on a track around the Crown Regency hotel, Cebu’s tallest building. Fun for teenagers and twenty-somethings, maybe. It didn’t look much like fun to me.
But in poor countries like the Philippines, such adventures are usually reserved for thrill-seeking rich kids. The young agent could barely contain his excitement at the prospect of flipping his innards into unnatural positions. He’d never ridden the Edge Coaster before.
It was awful to think he might need to return the tickets if I refused. So, with a nauseous smile and visions of impending doom, I said: “Fantastic.”
Strapped into the two-person contraption, at first I felt idiotic for being petrified. The next moment — within seconds — we tipped over the edge. Utterly pointless, but I gripped the safety bar like grim death. Whether knuckles turned white, I don’t know. My eyes were closed.
“Miss Steenie — please look,” begged Mr Insanity. “All the lights are like fairyland.”
So I looked. And yes, Cebu’s night-time glitter of colors is magical. I regained some composure when he found the control-stick and brought us to a less extreme tilt. In truth, I enjoyed the ride — once the shock of defying gravity had passed.
Travel writers get lots of chances to try new things. What the Edge Coaster taught me was that there’s no age limit for craziness. I shouldn’t be so timid about adventure activities — or at least some activities.
I had the chance to go zip-lining in Ecuador last year, but turned it down. Surely swooshing through trees on ropes was only for youngsters? I later learned that people way older than me had loved the experience.
Refusing now seems silly. I’m not physically incapacitated. I’ve crossed rickety rope-bridges in Malaysian jungles… tried white-water rafting river in Thailand.
Age is a state of mind. One great-grandmother from Utah recently leapt into the record books by taking a paragliding flight to celebrate her 101st birthday. New adventures are more likely to keep you young — or feeling young — than trusting in lotions and potions.
Plus, they help prevent you getting into a writing rut. Death metal clubs in Spain, anyone?
[About the Author: An accomplished and proven freelancer, Steenie is International Living’s roving Euro-editor.
She also writes about travel, folklore, and real estate for publications like The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, and the Washington Post. Recent travels have taken her to Malta, the Greek islands, the jungles of Malaysian Borneo, and Italy.
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