Ziplining While Fat - Guest Post by Bisa Myles
When I tell people I’ve gone skydiving, bungee jumping, and power hang gliding, I notice the look of shock. I don’t seem like the type. It’s not just the glasses; it’s my size.
My weight has yo-yoed over the years and I have never been what is considered thin. So, when I was planning to go on a solo trip to Chiang Mai Thailand, ziplining was a must do according to many articles I read.
Before booking, I checked the weight requirements. I chose the combination of a Segway tour through town in the morning followed by ziplining in the afternoon.
On the day of my adventure, I was the first to arrive within my group. Three men were working in the office. I took a seat to wait for the others. The staff was whispering and snickering about something, and I soon realized they were trying to decide who was going to ask me how much I weighed.
I tensed because I thought they were going to tell me I couldn’t go on the tour.
Although I had checked and triple-checked the requirements, maybe something had changed? Finally, someone who appeared to be the manager came over and told me there was a weight requirement of 130kg (286 lbs). This was something I already knew because I had checked the requirements. They said that the Segway motor would not last the full 2 hours if I were over the weight limit. I was really surprised because this wasn’t my first time on a Segway and I knew people in the US who were over 286 lbs and had done it.
I felt angry because of the way it was handled. When it was time to go, I didn’t even bring my camera or cell phone with me. I couldn’t take the bag I was carrying on the tour, and I forgot to take them out, so while we saw a lot of beautiful temples that day, I don’t have anything to remember them by. Only my memories.
In the end, the I enjoyed the tour. One of the guides promised to send me a picture, but I never got it and didn’t want to follow up.
If you're wondering, the Segway battery didn’t die and I returned it to the company unharmed.
A van then picked us up to take us ziplining. It took about an hour's drive to get to the location. Before the zipline, we were taken to a waterfall and then lunch. I think this is to break up the large group of people who come there daily. I was getting tired, and I didn’t make it to the top, but I did make it far enough to take pictures. (insert)
After lunch, we sat in the waiting area waiting for further instructions. One of the employees came over and asked me to go with him.
He guided me off to the side behind a wall not far from the others, and then I saw it. A scale.
The requirements for zipping at this location is 125 kg (275 lbs). He asked me to get on the scale, and I didn’t refuse. Ziplining is a little more dangerous than riding a Segway, so I complied. He said I couldn’t do two of the six ziplines. I said ok.
When I rejoined my group, I felt defeated. Although I love the thrill, maybe someone like me shouldn’t be doing these activities. At this point, I wanted to go back to the hotel. I didn’t care about the money. No one asked what the guy wanted with me, but they knew.
I decided not to leave and make a scene. I was going to prove to them, just like the men earlier at the Segway office, that I can do this just like everyone else.
I was still agitated when we arrived at the first landing, but once my harness was attached to the line and I started to fly over the trees, all of the tension went away.
The views were incredible! I made it to the other side. Then the next. I was beginning to have fun!
Until we reached the section I couldn’t do.
One of the guides walked with me to a spot where we would meet the others. I started to get angry again. We were ahead of our group, so I had to stand there and wait. People from other groups saw me standing there. Someone asked me if I was scared. In fact, I was almost angry that people assumed I'd walked ahead, skipping some of the longer ziplines because I was scared.
The truth is, I was fat.
I just told them, “they said I couldn’t go.”
Eventually, my group came zipping across. Then it was my turn again. The joy I had felt earlier was gone. All I could think about was going back to the hotel, but there were two more zips left.
We finally approached the last one. A photographer was waiting to take our pictures for purchase later. I wanted one to have as proof that I had done this. What they didn’t say is that the photographer was taking the pictures from the ground below us. I was baffled as to why and hoped there was another camera somewhere else, hence the look on my face.
I took my final swing across and went back to the office. When I saw the pictures, it was what I expected: seven of the 10 photos were of my butt. I just paid and gave them my email and left. I only kept three of the pictures.
On the drive back to my hotel I looked back over the day and was happy it was over.
But I was also glad that I did it. The feeling of flying through the jungle was something I will always cherish and remember!
Was my day in Chiang Mai challenging? Yes. In the end, I did have fun. Would I go zip lining again? Yes, absolutely. Despite the obstacles, I never let my weight or other people’s opinions of me determine what I can and can’t do. Of course, I will still follow the guidelines to keep myself safe.