On one of our excursions, we went to the Mayan Ruins in Belize. Our amazing tour guide, who had adopted the name Ralph Lauren, gave us the best experience ever. He was a Mayan himself and he was so knowledgeable about everything his culture had to offer.
As we made our way to the tallest Mayan temple in Belize, I slipped and fell. Banged up and bruised, my new family helped me up. Luckily I had the GoPro camera on. You can see for yourself on the YouTube Channel. When I managed to find my feet again, I turned around to look at the temple. 99 steps. 99 steps to the top. 99 steps I was encouraged to climb. Obviously they hadn’t read my blog post on zip lining, or they would have known of my huge fear of heights that had always limited my adventures to ground level, or thereabouts.
99 steps! Super Sue yelled “Come on, Stormi!” as I hesitantly walked up to the first step.
99 steps. It’s not that bad, right? Oh yeah, I couldn’t even stay upright on the path to the temple, and they expected me to climb 99 steps? Breathe.
How could I do this? Baby steps, I decided. So crawling it was. Focus on the task at hand. Literally. “Don’t you dare look up or behind you,” I chanted to myself. Ralph Lauren followed closely behind offering encouragement like, “Take Your Time”, “You’re doing great”. 99 steps.
Every time I reached a platform I took a cautious look up. More?! Why was there always more?!
The thought, “Oh God, how am I going to get down?...” continued to creep into my mind. I began to visualize a rescue air lift, or a secret escalator that was hiding in the back, knowing very well neither would be there to save me when I reached the top. 99 steps.
Once I finally made it to the top, Super Sue greeted me. With a helping hand, she pulled me up the final step shouting, “You did it!” I carefully turned around and dared to look at the people below. They had us smile as we took pictures of our accomplishment. As I shared a weak smile for pictures, I couldn’t stop obsessing about the 99 steps I now had to find a way to successfully descend.
Everyone suggested for me to go down sideways. I recently went down sideways and crashed and burned. There must be another way. Oh yeah, carefully sliding one step at a time on my butt like a toddler while staring only at the step in front of me.
Some other tourist coming up laughed at me. I didn’t care. I had 99 steps to slide down while getting an extreme arm workout in the process. Ralph Lauren came skipping down the stairs like it was nothing. “You’re doing great!” he would encourage. My friends gave me a standing ovation at the bottom. I’d done it! Not gracefully, but successfully, and all in one piece. And I got to see some gorgeous scenery as a reward for my bravery.
A girl just trying to find her way, stepping outside of her comfort zone, trying new things, and making new friends along the way!