I was nervous to travel without my husband, but my trip opened me up in ways I never expected.
In the Swiss Alps, I tried activities that pushed me beyond my comfort zone.
I've realized that I leaned on my husband too much and am more capable than I think.
For the first time in a decade, I went away without my husband.
I was skittish about flying solo, but my trip — to the Jungfrau region of the Swiss Alps — opened me up to new experiences and helped me discover a lot about myself and my marriage.
I leaned on my husband for too much
I'd just landed in Switzerland when I first wished for my husband. At the immigration checkpoint, I panicked when I couldn't find my passport and knew he would've kept it secure in his front pocket like always. I also wished for him at the train station, where I cut my finger shoving my suitcase into a locker, and I wished for him again when I got lost in the medieval lanes of Zurich's Old Town.
I love seeing the world with my husband, but I never expected to feel so useless without him. While he often handles the practical stuff, I realized I'd grown too dependent on him. Though he's never complained, I worried that traveling with me had become a project — not a vacation.
"You are capable of figuring things out," I told myself.
I found my way, retrieved my suitcase without further incident, and hopped on a train to my next destination. I felt better — until I discovered it was the wrong train, but at least I didn't call my husband for help.
I was holding both of us back
I arrived at the charming alpine village of Grindelwald, ready for fresh mountain air, the famous Swiss cheese and chocolate, and an adventure.
In addition to its majesty, the Jungfrau region has a variety of high-octane activities such as zip-lining, paragliding, and ice climbing. I'm not very outdoorsy or daring (camping, multiday treks, and extreme sports are general noes), but I appreciated being in a place that could push me beyond my comfort zone. Plus, it's ridiculously pretty and welcoming of LGBTQ+ folks.
At Grindelwald-First, a prime spot for adventure enthusiasts, I quickly second-guessed my decision.
"There's no way I'm doing that," I thought, staring at the First Flyer, a 160-foot-high zip line that goes about 50 mph. Even more intimidating was the First Glider, where people were "flying" face down while strapped to a giant, metal eagle.
Watching a couple argue over getting on the eagle, I knew my husband and I would be having the same conversation. He was far more adventurous, enjoying skydiving and white-water rafting, and often suggested we try these types of activities together.
In turn, I quickly dismissed his desires. Suddenly, it dawned on me that I had limited his experiences. I didn't want to be someone who held my husband — or myself — back.
With a burst of adrenaline, I decided to try zip-lining for the first time
"Has anyone died from this?" I asked the operator who was strapping me in.
"Yes, but not here," the attendant said as a joke before launching me off the platform.
The initial drop made me feel like I was going to have a heart attack, but then I looked out at the most amazing scenery and found an unexpected balance of excitement and calm.
Using that momentum, I stared that big metal eagle in the face and was ready to soar. I gripped the handlebars for dear life and hoped I wouldn't pee myself, but once we took flight my screams turned to smiles, and I let myself enjoy the ride.
Next, I whizzed down a curvy mountain path on an adult tricycle, going way faster than I wanted and terrified I'd drive myself off a cliff or crash into a cow. On the First Cliff Walk, a suspension bridge wrapped around a mountain, I hugged the side but eventually made it to the edge, where the views were breathtaking.
I wanted to keep challenging myself
Maybe I wasn't full-fledged outdoorsy person, but I kept exploring activities beyond my comfort zone. I faced my fear of heights at Jungfraujoch, known as "the top of Europe." At 11,000 feet, I viewed the Aletsch Glacier (the longest in Europe), explored an ice cave, and crunched my feet in the snow. On other days, I pushed myself on challenging hikes in popular areas such as Harder Kulm, Männlichen, and Schynige Platte — where meadows, mountains, and glacier lakes were worth the huffing and puffing.
Each time I tripped, lost my breath, or doubted myself — which happened a lot — I thought of my husband reaching out and taking my hand. Yet I'm glad he wasn't there. It gives me the chance to go back and relive the best of Jungfrau with my favorite travel partner, while having this moment to feel proud of reaching new heights on my own.
Read the original article on Insider