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The Thrill (and Fear) of Adventure

Earlier today, one of my co-workers showed me a video of her brother-in-law crawling his Jeep up Moab’s “Hell’s Revenge” Trail. “I’ve done that in a Hummer,” I said, smiling. She put her face in her hands, indicating her terror at the mere thought of high adventure off-roading.


Several years ago, I probably would have had a similar reaction as my co-worker. Even now, I still get a little nervous every time I face a steep off-roading obstacle or climb a sheer cliff face. I have had hours upon hours of training and practice and I feel comfortable relying on my instincts. Yet there is that part of my brain that always says, “Remember how there’s only a clip and a long piece of rope keeping you from a 70-foot free fall? Are you sure you want to do this?”

So how do I deal with fear better than before?

First of all, I remember that these small instincts of apprehension are healthy. Our brains are programmed to be defensive of anything that would put us in danger. So it’s a good sign when my brain asks if I really want to skirt around a churning rapid or rappel 120 feet. Even if I want to try something new or adventurous, I should never be ungrateful that my defense mechanism pipes up.

Next, I take baby steps. When I started rock climbing, I was completely and utterly terrified of heights. I remember my leg shaking uncontrollably as I climbed the wall (the so-called “sewing machine leg” response); I was only a foot off the ground, but I felt that I was at unreachable heights. The only thing that kept me going was sheer pride (I’m an only girl and I hate to be outdone). But I made it to the top. And I went again and again and again. It got easier every time I did it and now I fly up climbs that used to scare the tar out of me.

Finally, I always respect my environment. When rafting in high-class rapids, it’s important to remember that water and Mother Nature are two powerful forces. I may have training, safe equipment, and trusted partners, but that doesn’t mean I control the water. As a guide and a private outdoor enthusiast, I am confident, but not arrogant. Safety is always better than bold displays of showmanship.

Let’s face it: some of us are overconfident and some of us are scaredy cats. Moab offers some incredible opportunities to try thrilling adventures that enrich our lives. For the brasher among us, remember that you can still enjoy any activity while respecting its limitations. And for those who are branching out for the first time, I encourage you to push yourself out of your comfort zone! When you believe in yourself, you’ll be amazed at what you can do and open doors to unforgettable experiences, whether it’s river rafting, canyoneering, or off-roading! Adventure is out there!

Ready for an adventure to help redefine your relationship with fear (and thrills)?

Learn about the Moab Vacation Sampler Package
Annie Fuller

Annie passionately guides "everywhere" in Moab, Utah, and is pursuing a Master's in S&S Leadership.

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