Thursday, June 28, 2018

That Time I Fell Down a Mountain

where 
I am an over thinker. I worry, a lot. I am anxious and always prepared for the worst. I do not take dangerous risks; I hate roller coasters and heights. But, I found out that when I travel my risk radar doesn't work. 
I was taking an Instagram-worthy picture at the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany when a fellow tourist said, " Oh! You are dangerous!"
I literally joked about it with my family later that day, not seeing the danger in my cliff pose. I posted the picture and was proud how it turned out. 
The next week while in Hallstatt, Austria, I with zero hesitation jumped up on a wiggly old railing over a lake to get the perfect photo of the town behind me. I didn't even like a single one of those photos. 

A few weeks later in Grindelwald, Switzerland, I fell in love with this little village that has chalet homes sporadically dotting the mountainside. It was perfection. I picked out a green gown and decided before we went up to The First mountain that we were going to go get my insta-worthy picture done first. We drove up the street while I was scouting the ideal location. I decided on a driveway of a gas station that had a gorgeous view behind it. I walked down the driveway to the end, which had a ledge. I instructed my husband to take the picture starting below my feet so you could see how I was dancing on the mountain. I never once was scared or thought I was doing something "risky." Even looking down I wasn't tempted to get off the ledge. There was a gorgeous flower field down there and I HAD to have it in my picture behind me! About a hundred photos into the shoot (haha) I looked at what had been taken and decided I didn't like any of them. My hair, there wasn't enough mountain, he didn't get my favorite patch of flowers, it was centered correctly, the cloud isn't in the photo, too much barn was in this one, ect. So we try again. I dance and leap and pose on what I would consider a wide ledge. My children are watching, and practicing my poses. My youngest is stomping ants. Without any thought given, I do a hair flip. The next thought I have is realizing that I am in fact falling. I reach my arms out to try to grab the ledge but I am too far away to touch it and I just fall feet first down 12 feet into the flower field. I remember the second I opened my eyes and "knew" I was alive, it was a moment I won't forget. My daughter is screaming and I am trying to gather myself so they won't be upset. I get up on all fours and try to crawl. I was able to tell them I was alive. Unfortunately the field I fell in was not able to be reached as it was private property and barbed wire fenced off. The area above wasn't private, it was a gas station. I told my husband to get the kids under control and help them. My oldest was quite distraught. He went to get the car to meet me at the other side of the field. I slowly got up and was able to zombie-like walk while dragging my leg, across a 3ft tall field of wildflowers. I finally made it to an area of field with no fence and got in the car. My face felt shattered. My neck felt like my head was falling off. My leg, knee, foot, side, head all felt like they were broke. We drove to the chalet we were staying at and changed me out of my gown and into comfy pajamas while grabbing my passport and insurance information. We drove an hour to Bern where there was an in-network hospital. Next thing I knew I was in a neck brace laying on a hospital bed with an iv and having an ultrasound done to see if there was internal bleeding. Then I had a CT scan and xrays. I was able to walk away from this tragedy with no broken bones. I literally walked away. I refused major pain medicine because I was scared I would get separated from my family during tests and I was for sure they were going to steal me for sex trafficking or to harvest my organs. I made my husband promise to stay with the girls. This is the only part that makes me laugh looking back. I was so taken care of. Dare I say I received better care than I do in the states?! Travel medical insurance is a MUST. No one plans on accidents. 

A couple days later I was able to look through the pictures to find that Brian had actually got a picture of me losing my balance right before the fall. 
I cannot believe that this happened to me. I mean I am the worriest worrier of all. I don't even let my children walk on the outside of me, they must always be on the "inside" in case a rogue car goes off the road. I do not let them speak English in populated areas in fear that someone hates Americans. I call out all the scammers I see and pretty much live in fear, but not panic. I don't let that fear stop me from showing my kids the world. After thinking about this event for 18 days now, I have realized when I am vacationing I have a lack of risk radar for myself. I always want to get a better picture and move closer to the edge. 
After sharing my story in a 'Girls Love Travel' Facebook group, I read comment after comment about tourists from around the world who lost their lives taking selfies. I cannot believe this happens as often as it does! I hope others can learn from my near death mistake that I didn't even see coming. I never knew I was at risk. And now I have traumatized my whole family. I fell 12 feet out of their sight, down a mountain. Don't be me. No picture is worth the world losing you.