This picture is from a trip to Angel Falls, Venezuela, where I jumped off this 1000m waterfall together with Ana Dao and Livia Dickie after hiking through the jungle for six days and climbing the mountain.
I feel like I die as soon as I stop exploring. By that I mean traveling and living new adventures. But most importantly I mean exploring my own skills. Learning new things, and putting myself in situations I do not yet know if I can master. This gives me a high. It challenges me. And without that challenge I might as well not be on this planet. Maybe this explains why, when things start to become a routine, I lose my interest?
Quitting didn’t feel like a sacrifice
I had been a base jumper for ten years when I got pregnant. I did not want to risk the happiness of my children. They deserve to grow up with a mother. That is why I quit base jumping. Well, that is not entirely true. I have to admit that base jumping didn’t give me a high anymore. I am not saying that I wasn’t scared when standing on the edge, seconds away from leaping out. If it hadn’t scared me I never would’ve continued doing it in the first place. But for me, base jumping had become a routine. And I do not go well with routines. They make me feel like I am part of a big cliché. I am not saying that there wasn’t any new field I could’ve explored within base jumping, because there was. I had plenty of room for growth and exploration within the sport. But it was to risky and I needed a change of scenery.
Diapers, motorbikes and a new job
Well, the new scenery was a sudden pile of dirty diapers. Which, for a person who loves challenges, was great in the beginning. There was a lot to learn about babies and being a mother, and I explored and found challenges everywhere. How do I manage everything at the same time? Keep the house clean, the baby happy, the dog – and not to mention myself – exercised. Keep family and friends happy. Prepare healthy food. The list goes on. But yeah, I guess you understand that all this new stuff becomes a routine too. And I realized that my children (I now have two) deserve not only to grow up with a mother, they deserve a happy mother too.
So I try my best to squeeze in some of my personal little explorations in my life as a mother. I bought a motorbike a while ago, but quickly understood that the risk was even greater than in base jumping. I practice snowboarding, still a beginner in this sport it gives me potential for scaring myself and mastering new situations. I went to Bhutan last year to explore the mountains in this remote Himalayan kingdom. I started a new company; Belly & Baby, with a friend. We teach yoga to pregnant women and mums with babies. There are lot’s of challenges to be found there. During Christmas I also defied my water phobia and started surfing. All this new stuff keeps me alive. I get frustrated at times though, because I try so hard to find a way to explore, and life with kids doesn’t always leave much room. But if you want something, you make it happen.
Brushing your teeth with the left hand
A few days ago I had an eye opener. A Norwegian newspaper printed an article about how you can create new nerve synopsis in your brain just by doing things differently. If you change your patterns you challenge your brain. Micheal Dahlén, a professor in Economy, performed several tests with his students. – Find a new way to get out of bed every morning, he told them. – Jump, summersault or roll out of bed. And as the students went on with this test, he noticed how their self-confidence, and creativity grew. They were happier, got a new perspective of themselves, and saw more possibilities in their lives. Micheal Dahlén writes that by brushing your teeth with your left hand (if you are right handed of course), or holding the phone with the left hand over a period can even raise your IQ. There are scientific studies to prove this. Well I never felt that I got smarter from challenging myself, so I cannot comment on this fact. But I do know that my life depends on me never stopping to explore. And it is reassuring to know that by exploring even the smallest things, like how I brush my teeth, I can keep alive in the years to come. It doesn’t all have to be time consuming sports, expeditions, or other adventures. My head is the only limit there is.