Once in a lifetime experience at Forest Adventure

It would be once because that would be my first and last time.  As the name went, it was truly a forest adventure.  It was physically intensive for the entire hour plus when we were up traversing in the trees. You would really had to head down to Bedok Reservoir to take a look or tried it to know what I was talking about.

As part of our team building activity, my colleague had arranged this memorable adventure.  I checked out the website with trepidation.  While I was not a big fan of unsecured heights, I was less of a fan of water bodies.  There would be 4 flying fox trails over the Bedok Reservoir.  I was not thrilled to find out.  Worse, there was a heavy downpour in the morning.  The thought of landing on mud was not appealing too.  Thankfully, when we started the ‘adventure’ at nearly 3pm, the skies were bright and everything looked pretty dry.

I absolutely had no photos or videos of this adventure.  We were taught how to use the safety equipment so that we would not land on the ground when we fell.  We were at a height of 5m~9m above the ground.  Each site would end off with a flying fox trail.  The first time when I had to jump off a height of 5m, it was nervous but manageable.  The first time when I had to take the flying fox (with lines across the water body), it was more nervous.

I found the general adventure physically acceptable in the beginning.  However, the ‘adventure’ got more and more challenging, I would find myself dangling loosely at a height.  It was not a comfortable feeling.  Worse, at Site 2, we ended up taking the more challenging route and it was freaking difficult.  At one point, I was cursing and swearing with every breath I took – I should have opted for the simpler route but I had no idea that I missed it!

Another reason why I found it more challenging was because I was short!!!  You had to be at least 1.4m to participate on this ‘adventure’ and short people definitely would have it harder with shorter limbs and all!

At the most difficult part of the ‘adventure’, I felt I was stuck in a position when I had to advance.  Backtracking was just as bad.  Dangling at a height was a killer.  Over time, the nerve system became immune to the height.  Gradually, I was more preoccupied with the roughness of the rope against my palms and how physically tiring it was!

A lot of upper body strength was required, like A LOT.  Thankfully or not thankfully, being a mother of two kids and having had days where you had to carry a 10kg sack for hours, it helped.

However, when the body was weary, the obstacles became tougher (i.e. balance, swinging required) inversely to the level of strength left.  I was struggling at a rope net wall towards the end because my arms were so tired.  There was another circular loop bit which I struggled with, mainly became my arms were too tired to instil more control.

When the going got tough, the mind had to take over and to think about anything else apart from the physical challenges.  The MBA-corrupted mind started to conjure management theories.

1. Techniques matter – if you knew how to tackle the obstacle correctly, it would help you to gain confidence.  The subsequent steps would be easier to follow through.  When I felt lost (and stuck amidst the trees), I did think how important it was to have studied the course on the tree platform before attempting.  Once on the obstacle, I was too preoccupied with balancing and only had tunnel vision.  It reminded me not to jump on board too fast without understanding the background.

2. Be precise – sometimes, you only had one shot at it before you lost footing and control.

3. Overcoming the worst nightmare first – we faced with the toughest obstacle at Site 2 (out of 4 sites).  It was a steep learning curve and a ‘culture shock’.  After cursing and swearing at Site 2, I was appreciative of the experience gained at Site 2.  Though the obstacles at Site 3 & 4 were no less difficult, it was chicken feat compared to the nightmarish obstacle at Site 2.  Similarly, at work or just about anything in life, the toughest challenge would only train you well for the future.

4. Always believe that you could reach the end – Persevere.  Determination.  Other than believing in yourself and disregarding all your weaknesses (hunger, fatigue & more), that was the only way you could arrive at the final destination.

5. Don’t follow blindly, always ask and clarify – Had I paid more attention instead of following blindly, I might not have gone on the optional but super challenging obstacle course at Site 2.  Had I asked or be more observant, I would not have gotten myself stuck in hot soup.

As you could see, I really thought very deeply whilst up in the trees.  I really had to distract myself to overcome the mundane fatigue.

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