Might as Well Jump
During lunch following whitewater rafting on the Rio Pastaza outside Baños, Ecuador, I found myself nodding in agreement without having a chance to think through what I was getting into. My buddy and I had expressed some casual interest when our rafting guide mentioned having a friend who was getting into parasailing. The next thing we knew, the guide was on the phone, and we were scheduled to fly.
Within a couple hours, I was being harnessed into a seat with a complete stranger who would control my fate. None of the normal tour-excursion formalities occurred in this amateurish operation: Our names were not asked; waivers were not signed; passport numbers were not collected. We simply handed over $50, and were set to jump off the side of a mountain.
At least I was given a motorcycle helmet to wear…
For 45 minutes, my adrenaline was sky-high as we drifted on thermals several-hundred-feet up, taking in the patchwork farmland, mountains, and city. I wore a perma-grin the entire time.