I believe that travel is such an important part of life. It allows you to discover different cultures and learn about the world; a world other than your own. I believe each holiday, each adventure and each person you meet teaches you a different lesson. This is one I learnt in Port Vila, Vanuatu.
We arrived by ship and had pre-booked to go abseiling. I had never done it before, but after a few days out at sea was keen to stretch my legs. It was described as a strenuous activity, but I thought that was only to deter the old ladies who sit on the pokies all day - I was wrong. We were driven to the bottom of a mountain and told to trek our way to the top in what was one of the longest, steepest and most painful four hours of my life. When we finally made it, the relief of getting there was quickly overcome by the realisation that we were now standing on the edge of a 50-metre waterfall!
Being the last person, I had the most time to contemplate the many ways this could go wrong. I couldn’t even seek reassurance from my guide. Through his broken English I only managed to understand his name, age and that he had three sisters. The silence was eventually broken when he ushered me over to secure me in place. Nervous and reluctant I stood there, still. It wasn’t until I was about to take the leap, he looked at me and smiled as if to say, “its okay”. This is the moment I realised that no matter where you are in the world, a smile is a universal sign in any language.
So with his reassurance, I took a deep breath and took the plunge over the side of the waterfall. It was one of the most terrifying moments of my life; but also one of the most exhilarating. To step over the edge, let go of all my fears and trust in someone I couldn’t even talk to was an indescribable feeling. I guess that’s the power of a smile.