I’m deathly afraid of heights, particularly when it comes to climbing up and looking down. This is the only phobia I can’t seem to shake. I exhibit all the symptoms – apprehension, dizziness, weak stomach, heart palpitations, and difficulty moving. Fast forward to Mexico. I spent a week in Mexico CIty, and the real test for my acrophobia was going to be a day trip to Teotihuacan to see the pyramids. I was feeling pretty confident about climbing the Pyramid of the Sun, even though it stands at a monstrous 210 feet. I knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, so I had to do it. However, when the two of us became up close and personal, my confidence took a detour. My companion was so supportive, reminding me over and over again that I would regret not doing it. I almost gave up many times, but determination prevailed.
I finally made it to the top of the stairs and panic set in. I backed up against a wall and couldn’t move. I wasn't even done yet, because there was still a small area to climb unassisted by steps. All I could think about was getting back down on solid ground. About 15 minutes later, I forced myself to continue, crawling up on my hands and knees like an infant. Once I got to the top and looked around at the astonishing views, my fear genuinely floated away. I had never felt so victorious in my life, and there was no stopping me now. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before. I wasn’t even afraid to descend back down when it was time to go.
In addition to my phobia, I contracted food poisoning, resulting in a severe case of Montezuma’s Revenge. I was pretty sick with the flu on a trip to Europe a few years ago, and didn’t handle the inconvenience very well. I felt sorry for myself and was a bit of a “party pooper.” Fortunately, I turned into Wonder Woman this time around. Despite the extreme difficulty stalking toilets (note that most public toilets don’t have seats here), I didn’t let it ruin my visit. I took the unpleasantness with a grain of salt and rarely complained. I also participated in every activity I had planned including Lucha Libre, attractions, a dinner with locals through EatWith, sightseeing, and of course, tackling the Pyramid of the Sun.
Thank you Mexico for showing me that I’m more resilient than I thought. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.