When I was working with the team on ideas for our August campaign, I threw out the idea of traveling to Miraval Resort & Spa in Arizona. The collection was all about natural beauty and power, and to me, Miraval’s surroundings captured that perfectly. The last time I visited was on a family trip and it had been a more relaxed experience. I spent time taking in the unbelievable desert landscape, connecting with family and enjoying the resort’s endless wellness activities, but I also heard about their Challenge Course—specifically their Quantum Leap and Swing & a Prayer—and knew I wanted to come back and be brave enough to try them one day!
Quantum Leap involves climbing to the top of a tall 35-foot pole, balancing on a small platform and then jumping off with a harness for support. It’s based on military training exercises where troops are put in stressful situations that force their body and mind to react to a perceived physical risk. Of course, it’s totally safe as you’re harnessed in and held up by someone holding a rope below, but your body doesn’t know that! I knew that would be the biggest challenge for me.
I’m a big believer in trying things that scare you (within the limits of safety, of course); there’s an incredible sense of mental and physical accomplishment that comes with challenging yourself. When I knew we were going to Miraval, I signed up to try Quantum Leap straight away, so I wouldn’t back out. That said, I was definitely a little nervous as the day got closer, thinking about being 35-feet up in the air with just a harness for safety. I also kept thinking about the fact that I was, literally, putting my life in someone else’s hands… if the guy holding the rope let go, that was it!
Once we arrived, we spent part of the day shooting as a group, taking on activities like Giant’s Ladder, where you need the support of your teammates to make it to the top. While we were already pretty high in the air, being with the group just felt different and I kept thinking about my solo challenges coming up next. I took on Swing & a Prayer, which was scary to say the least, but Quantum Leap was still waiting! Now, I don’t think I’m more or less afraid of heights than the average person but looking up at the 35-foot pole in the middle of the desert definitely made me nervous. It was also hot, like 115 degrees hot, and crazy windy, which didn’t help to calm my nerves.
As I got strapped in to the (pretty uncomfortable) harness, I started to prepare myself mentally. I got myself in the zone by remembering all the times I’d stepped up to a big challenge—taking on tough workouts and playing sports—and pulled that strength back out. I took deep breaths and reminded myself that I’d done scary things before, that I could definitely do this and that I had already committed. The fear I was feeling was exactly the reason why I wanted to complete the challenge.
The instructor told me that I could start climbing up, so I took a deep breath and started, trying not to look up or down too much. Once I reached the top, I pulled myself up onto the narrow platform and stood up straight. The view was awe-inspiring and terrifying at the same time! Plus, knowing there was no way for me to get back down (or even sit down), I had no option but to take a big leap of faith!
I could hear the instructor telling me to jump and the Fabletics team cheering me on, which also reminded me that I wasn’t only doing this for myself. I took a moment and tried to calm my nerves. I don’t remember what I was thinking the exact moment I jumped off the platform, probably just “here it goes!” I jumped and free-fell, trying to be somewhat graceful and smile for the camera (we were there for a shoot after all)! It wasn’t until I got back down to the ground that I realized I was laughing —the combination of adrenaline and pure relief was real. In fact, the adrenaline rush was so intense that I got a bad headache later that day!
As the team congratulated me on facing my fears, I felt genuinely proud for having gone through with it. We really never know what we’re capable of until we test ourselves, and that’s often when our best selves come to light.
With that said, I hugged the team and started the climb to do it all over again! I was sure it would be easier the second time, but as soon as I got to the top, I immediately asked myself “why did I do this again?” Well… there’s nothing like living in the moment!