"Sailors on the high seas are the last people to give a reliable forecast, even when they have the most intimate experience of the weather." Robert McCrum
ROBERTA: A couple of weeks ago, my husband was invited to help sail his friend's 44 foot boat back from Bermuda to Long Island. He leaped at the chance. The captain, an old college pal, and his brother had just completed a race from Massachusetts to Bermuda. With only two of them handling a big boat and a lot of bad weather, they had little sleep and even less to eat. At a cocktail party for the recovering sailors, I heard terrible sailing stories, including one in which the crew of a small catamaran battled an unexpected storm off the coast of North Carolina for 50 hours until one of the hulls filled with water and they realized they were going to tip over. The Coast Guard was able to reach them and they were plucked out of the roiling sea one by one and drawn up into a helicopter.
Here's John at the helm, with his pal Fritz as videographer. Not one minute of these trips sounded like fun to me. But obviously the life-threatening adventure gene skipped right over me. I don't mind running my characters through the physical wringer, but I'll stay safely home, thank you. And I might be curious about a crime, but at the FIRST WHIFF of danger, I'd call the cops.
How about you all? Did you get that gene?
JAN: Roberta, I did NOT get that gene, but I married that gene. I've found myself sailing immediately after a tornado (NOT A GOOD IDEA) spent my honeymoon and four subsequent vacations sailing in the British Virgin Islands (With me the only mate) , and flew in numerous small airplanes (volkswagens with wings) that my husband piloted. I actually grew to like sailing, but thank god the small plane phase is over. My mother used to clip every article of every small plane disaster and send it to me.
I know exactly what you mean -- Some people interpret danger as fun. I am not one of them. My husband wants to go skydiving. He will go alone.
HALLIE: I am a class-A wimp. Boats: Feh! However... the one boat trip we've taken is a cruise down the Yangtze on barely moving water through spectacular gorges with someone else at the helm (and great food) was an experience of a lifetime.
The closest I get to adventure is riding a roller coaster. I love-love-love roller coasters and was always the one who lined up with the kids for rides on Disneyland's Matterhorn and Space Mountain because my husband is an even worse wimp than I am. Though he is the designated driver for all round-and-round rides which make me throw up.
RHYS: I am attracted to adventure when it comes to traveling to outlandish places, but not when it includes sensation. Terrified of roller coasters and anything else that involves hurtling down anything out of control. My granddaughters obviously haven't inherited my gene and love amusement rides and the scarier the better. I do like sailing and one of the best things I ever did was to take out a Hobie Cat alone on the ocean. It wasn't a very rough ocean and it wasn't a challenging sail, but it was the first time I'd handled a sailboat alone. I got a big kick from knowing it was all up to me and that I could handle this thing. Usually the most adventurous thing I do is drive through LA occasionally.
ROSEMARY: I like exotic trips and I enjoy challenging myself physically but the potential for danger, death, disfigurement, dismemberment...does NOT increase my enjoyment level. Climbing to Everest Base Camp we passed a lot of memorials to fallen climbers. If my guide says turn around, I turn around.
And I would really not like to drown. We've sailed around the Galapagos and the Greek Islands but I really like to see land. I think sailing across the Atlantic would be very stressful for me! I'd keep having visions of the end of the movie The Perfect Storm - which even though I know it wasn't real - was one of the scariest scenes on film in recent memory.
HANK: Laughing. Jonathan leaves the house to walk to the corner drug store. I call after him: Be careful! He says: Of what? And there you have it.
(Roller coasters though..love them.)
DEBS: HATE roller coasters. I have chronic vertigo and there are few things less appealing to me than being made deliberately dizzy.
Zip on the danger gene, too. My husband's idea of fun is white-water rafting, camping, climbing, going up in helicopters, deep sea diving. Mine is reading in a hammock. You can see we have some vacation issues.
He, on the other hand, won't consider making a trans-ocean flight, while I'm a fairly good long-haul traveler. (I sleep.)
My one little aberration? My husband has been a storm chaser for years, and I love going after a big storm. It's crazy, but I find it more exhilarating than scary. Would I do it with anyone else? Probably not. Give me my hammock.
JULIA: Hate roller coasters. Barf city for me. Actually, I hate the movement sensations in most fun park rides. On the other hand, I love sailing and small-pane aviation (despite being prone to motion sickness) and did a lot of white water rafting, rock climbing and bombing down ski slopes when I was younger. I remember realizing I had become noticeably more risk-averse once I had children: I stopped driving like a bat out of hell (when they were in the car) and was no longer willing to say, "Sure, what the hell, let's do it and see what happens."
Nowadays, I think my risk-aversion is more like discomfort aversion. I'm game for any adventure - as long as I can have a hot shower, a well-cooked meal and a comfortable bed at the end of the day!
ROBERTA: And you Jungle red readers? How do you feel about adventure? (And sorry Hank did not find an image of a corner drugstore:).