A month ago, I wrote a post about fear and how it's important to effectively deal with it and not let it ruin your experiences.
I'm currently having a "face your fear" moment. Soon we're heading to Lanquín in central Guatemala. It's supposed to be beautiful and jungly and I've found a new little known hostel that I'm excited about. The area's main attractions are a natural limestone bridge above a great swimming river and a series of bat caves. Travelers go on day-long tours of these caves - swimming, walking, climbing, squeezing through holes, being pushed through holes by large amounts of gushing water... and there are heaps of bats. And heaps of spiders. Tarantulas, even.
I'm reading about this experience on travel forums and in our guidebook, and I'm slowly, instinctively shaking my head side to side. No. No no no. No thank you.
Yes, that's a cool photo of a girl walking (or swimming?) through a cave with a candle. It's a nice idea. But no. Can you imagine if that were me, in a swim suit up to my collar bone in water, only a candle lighting my way, and I saw a tarantula on the cave wall? I would freak OUT. Canyoning in New Zealand was challenging enough. And that was in a relatively open space dappled in sunlight. I'm just not my bravest when there's water involved.
Me being pushed down a canyon outside Wanaka, New Zealand. This is an example of me freaking out in a mild "I'm sort of enjoying this" way... not to be mistaken for how I would react in a tarantula cave water scenario.
But I'm going to do it. Not because I enjoy the stomach lurching, skin tingling sensation that accompanies the thought of me being submerged in pitch black cave water with tarantulas, but because I know I'll feel accomplished when it's over. I didn't want to bike down the world's most dangerous road at first, and I ended up wiping out, destroying my knee, and being miserable most of the way down the mountain. But I'm glad I did it. I have a cool scar and at the very bottom of the mountain I got to play with baby monkeys.
If I knew there were baby animals (or some form of cake) at the end of the cave tour, I'd definitely do it. As it is, I'm publishing this post in case I find out there aren't puppies or desserts included in the tour and in case I'm tempted to spend my day reading in a hammock instead. Man up, Brown. Go down the caves.
Spider and cave photos taken from a guy's recent blog about Semuc Champey.