Remember how a few weeks ago when I told you that Southeast Toyota asked me if I wanted to do something bold, only then they suggested
completely insane really flipping scary super brave things like swimming with sharks and I was all THANKS BUT NO THANKS BECAUSE I LIKE BEING NOT EATEN BY SHARKS! Remember that?
Only then I decided that I would like to do something bold and then they suggested a hot air balloon ride and I was like GOODBYE FOREVER because I am possibly, maybe just a little bit afraid of heights? Except by a little bit I mean pretty much as afraid of heights as you can get? Like, the kind of afraid of heights where I get sort of shaky visiting my friend in her fourth floor apartment?
But my big goal for my thirties is to push myself to try new things and take more risks and so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to challenge myself to face a fear. I knew that it would be an amazing experience and I did not want to let such a great opportunity pass me by just because I was too afraid to try. I mean, I still said no to swimming with sharks and hot air balloon rides because BABY STEPS TO THE ELEVATOR, that is my motto. But I said yes to going rock climbing. Like, on a real rock. In the mountains. Hold me.
So Southeast Toyota gave me the keys to a brand new 2015 Camry, to which my husband and father made many jokes about how that was actually very bold of the people at Toyota because apparently they have issues with how long it takes me to turn left. I am very cautious. And also I’m not an ambiturner. And then I plugged Chimney Rock, North Carolina into the GPS and drove north to the mountains.
The next morning we had breakfast overlooking Chimney Rock. I wore my BRAVE necklace and told Jeff that I was feeling incredibly nervous now that we were actually there and I had to follow through on the commitment. Mostly because every time we drove over a bridge on the drive up I held my breath and so climbing up a rock face did not seem like the best idea I have ever had. I look a bit trepidacious here.
This is me doing the super basic practice climb. I am maybe six feet off the ground here. Please note how I am holding onto the rope for dear life. Also note how I somehow only packed one pair of socks for the entire trip and that is how I ended up rock climbing in these random teal socks with navy blue bunnies printed on them. I do not understand how this sort of thing always happens to me.
The picture on the left is what I look like when I am having a full blown panic attack. I realize that it does not seem that way on account of how I was simultaneously concentrating on not falling off of a cliff, literally. At this point I was telling our guide, Azissa, “I REALLY, REALLY WANT TO COME DOWN NOW.” I may or may not have been crying because I had gotten stuck and couldn’t move and accidentally looked down.
But then this weird thing happened because, and this is something you might not know about me, I am super intensely competitive. As in, my friends will no longer play board games with me. It is a problem. Anyhow, I all of the sudden got incredibly furious AT THE ROCK because I am also highly logical and I was all “YOU SHALL NOT BEAT ME, ROCK!” and then I took a giant leap upwards and climbed the rest of the way to the top like I was flipping Spiderman. This is a true story.
Afterwards Jeff said “I didn’t think you were going to make it and then I saw you do that thing where you get really mad and competitive and knew that you were definitely going to finish or fall off the rock trying.” So that sums me up in a nutshell.
When I got to the top I had crazy adrenaline burnoff and had to sit up there for awhile clutching onto a tree because I was still scared and also because my entire body would not stop shaking. But the view was nice.
I stayed up there for a very long time admiring it because I was way too afraid to come down. Going up is scary but going down is the worst. Our guide said “Okay, now lean back on the rope with your feet above your head.” And I was all “That is so cute how you think I am going to come down off the top of this rock. I found a discarded bag of chips so I’m basically going to just live up here now.”
In a funny twist, Jeff had refused to let me sign him up to do it with me because he is also afraid of heights. Like, there are a lot of arguments in our house about which one of us is going to stand on a ladder.
But after I did it he decided he wanted to try it as well. And he says I am the competitive one in this family. And that was also fun for me because of the two of us, I am also the only one who knows how to focus the camera.
We climbed with Fox Mountain Guides and if you ever visit Chimney Rock, North Carolina and want to go rock climbing, ask for Azissa. I don’t even know if you can request a guide but she was awesome and so wonderfully patient and helpful with my panic attacks. Plural. Because I had more than one.
We climbed for several hours and I was incredibly proud of myself for making it to the top of all of the climbs. Jeff actually belayed me for one of the climbs, like some sort of crazy trust exercise. The good news is I now know that Jeff would never, ever let me fall. The bad news is that he was so scared that he would let me fall, he held the rope so tight I couldn’t move and then I got stuck hanging somewhat upside down on the side of a rock. It was pretty much the same thing as marriage counseling.
Then we did this thing where our guide tied us together and we climbed using the same lead rope. This is what I look like a few minutes after having a second panic attack and trying to pose for a picture on the top of the rock while not falling off of it but still being generally excited at my accomplishments. I totally pulled off looking very nonchalant I think. It doesn’t at all look like I am terrified.
The crazy part is, I thought rock climbing was going to be the most challenging part for me but then we decided to walk up to the lookout on Chimney Rock and OH MY GOSH. You know that thing that happens when you are afraid of heights and you feel like you need to get down really small and low and sort of in the middle until you can figure out how to get back off of the high thing? YES THAT.
Some kind people took our picture for us and they asked “Do you want to stand by the edge?” and I was all “ARE YOU CRAZY?” And then Jeff went and stood next to the railing like it was no big thing and I was like “YOU SIR HAVE JUST EARNED YOURSELF LADDER DUTY FOR THE REST OF OUR MARRIED LIVES.” Then he and a bunch of elementary school kids on a school field trip who were all just running around on the top of the rock tried to coerce me to stand next to the railing for the picture and this is how that turned out.
I’m like five feet away and freaking the heck out. Good times.
Then Jeff convinced me to walk up even higher to this little platform in the side of the mountain. And we looked down on where we had just been. And I was like “JEFF. THAT ROCK IS NOT EVEN CONNECTED TO ANYTHING. THIS CAN NOT BE SAFE. GET ME OFF THIS MOUNTAIN RAT NAO.”
I am incredibly glad that I did it though. The rock climbing I mean. I had been climbing before, over ten years ago when I was in college but I had never made it up very high. So this time I was really proud of myself for pushing through my fears and accomplishing something that I really wanted to do, even if it didn’t come easy.
The whole purpose of Southeast Toyota sending me on this trip was to try something bold and I felt that way afterwards, like the old adage “Courage is not the absence of fear but the triumph over it.”
Thanks for cheering me on during this! It was so fun to do and also really fun to live-instagram it with all of y’all! It made me want to live a more adventurous life. Although maybe still one without any sharks.
I will share more pictures of the rest of our trip in the upcoming weeks because we had an amazing time in Chimney Rock and Asheville and I have a ton of recommendations of places to visit (FRENCH BROAD CHOCOLATE LOUNGE) plus I will share more about the new Camry itself as well because I have an amazing giveaway related to it (read on!)
Thanks to Southeast Toyota for sending us on such a fun adventure. I was not compensated for this post, although Southeast Toyota did provide my transportation, event and accommodations. I drove the 2015 Camry, which I loved on account of how my grandfather drove a Camry and so I have always been partial to them. They new Camry has been boldy redesigned to be sleek, modern and equipped with some awesome accessories (wireless phone charging for the win) and this trip was designed to be #CamryBold. I think we accomplished it.
As part of this series, Southeast Toyota has agreed to offer (3) $1000 vouchers specifically for my readers. If you are planning to purchase or lease a 2015 Camry between today and 4/30/2015, leave a comment below and I will choose three people at random to get a $1000 rebate check issued directly from Southeast Toyota to you!
Legal Info: Offer applies to the lease or purchase of any new Toyota vehicle in FL, GA, AL, SC or NC. Offer valid for you or any member of your household. Limit one rebate per household. Offer expires 4/30/15. This offer is non-transferable. Offer can be combined with other offers. Kayla Aimee is not responsible for prize fulfillment.