Thursday, January 7, 2010

Vera Cruzing

I started reading a new book yesterday. I always get just a little bit excited when I find a book at the library that looks like it will be interesting enough to make me want to get home and curl up with it for a little while. This one had great potential - its about a woman who is unsatisfied with life for no apparent reason and she does some spiritual life altering journey thing. But on the very second page, she describes how her husband got a used camper van off the internet. So, what does that matter? Well, the van had previously belonged to a kayaker who had gone down a river one day and had never been found again. So his mom was selling his paddling van. Cheap.

Page 2! I've barely begun the book before I'm taking it as a sign that I should quit this dangerous sport I have gotten myself tangled in.

Normally, it wouldn't have bothered me a bit, but I've been holding out on you all. Next week, I'm going back to Mexico. But this time, I'm going with my paddle, helmet and PFD, for an all women's week of paddling class III and IV rivers outside of Veracruz, in the Sierra Madre Oaxaca mountain range.

It wasn't my idea. Some of the women from my paddling club had gone on a weekend retreat with a female kayak instructor over the summer and had such a great time that they decided they wanted to do her Mexico trip. And they harassed me, and cajoled me until I said that I would go too.

But I was scared then, and as the days tick down, I'm getting more nervous.

The trip caters to women and is designed to help us improve our skills and confidence in a supportive, testosterone free environment. I mean, we all know that girls and boys learn differently and respond to encouragement differently. I prefer to be coached and gently encouraged through difficult rapids and new places. Instead, when we are paddling with the boys, what I normally get is something along the lines of "Do it, you pussy!!" Yeah. Not so encouraging really. Forget admitting that you are scared. It just doesn't fly.

You know what else doesn't fly? The flight we were booked on to get to Houston, where we will catch our connection to Veracruz.

A week before we are set to leave, Continental tells us that they've canceled our flight and have rebooked us on a flight that gets to Houston just in time to catch our connecting flight. Yeah, with an act of god, maybe. Those bastards think that 33 minutes between the arrival and departure is plenty of time. Even if our first flight took off on time (ha!) we would be hard pressed to push past all those people getting their damn carry on luggage from the overhead bins (careful when you open the bin, it could have shifted during flight!), pee, find the train that would take us six terminals down, run down the people mover belt and watch our plane pull away without us.

Anyone think this is another sign? Or am I just paranoid?

I'm trying very hard to focus on the awesome aspects of the trip. Exploring two new towns in Mexico, experiencing the clear water and beauty of the mountains, seeing monkeys and crazy-ass jungle birds, learning how to salsa dance, and becoming an empowered kick ass girl kayaker. But that fear and anxiety keeps edging in.

So, I've been checking the website several thousand times a day to reassure myself that this trip is designed to keep me alive and relatively unharmed. Sending it to my friends and seeing them drool with jealousy has also helped alleviate my fears. And if you want to be jealous and help me get over my fears, you can check out the trip here too.

If I survive, it will probably be the best way I've kicked off a new year in a long, long time.


Kim said...

Looks like it will be a blast - you'll have a great time!

ISA Brokers said...

Gosh, if only one of your blog followers were and expert in Int'l Travel Medical and Trip Insurance....

Have an AWESOME trip. That part of Mexico is completely wonderful this time of year.

Ms Behaviour said...

The extent of my whitewater kayaking is one, very long weekend in Squamish, BC. I spent the entire weekend thinking I was going to die. I was anxious and nervous and a complete freak, unlike my usual calm and collected self. However, I had an amazing time and think back on it as one of the most amazing things I have ever done. I fairly certain you will think so on the flip side as well.

Susan said...

Wow... If ONLY one of my blog readers was a an expert in how to not kill myself while on an international trip! Damn. I'll know next time! I'm getting less nervous and more excited as it gets closer. Dangerous rivers and rocks be damned. I'm ready for some warm weather!