First, I must start by saying that I consider myself to be pretty adventurous. I don’t have any huge phobias, I am willing to try new things, and I definitely consider myself to be brave. Extreme is what I set out to do on our latest family adventure and the mission was accomplished. My desire for adventure and thrill rocked my little world!
This summer, I set out with the family for something totally unique, high intensity, and an ideal situation to create some long lasting memories. I thought that with having 3 wild and crazy boys, an adventurous daughter (that could use a little toughening up), and a flexible husband…a few days in the jungle of Central America would be a great adventure. It was an adventure alright! We experienced amazing new situations and experiences as a family…although it was a bit painful at times. It was crazier than I could have imagined and the conclusion is that the jungle is not for wimps!
We began our Central American adventure in high adventure mode. After traveling for what seemed like hours on end, I led the family away from the airport and headed deep into the Belize jungle for a stay at the Caves Branches Jungle Lodge. Three days in a treehouse, limited electricity (no hairdryers, TV, & air conditioning), and only walls of screen to protect us from the life of the jungle. The place was unique and beautiful. I felt like I was a million miles away from it all and I was ready for the adventure to begin.
We spent the days exploring the local cave systems and learning about the Mayan culture. We rode around in a vintage bus, had a picnic lunch in a cave, climbed to the top of a Mayan temple, and played in the rivers throughout the jungle. The adventure factor was high, the history was amazing, and the weather was hot! I returned to the lodge each day ready for a cold beer and loving the heavily shaded pool! Little did I know that while I felt the days were adventurous, the nights were the real adventure.
When the sun set, the jungle became a whole different world. The humidity rose, the noises got louder, and the bugs became braver. Actually, the 4 inch cockroaches can’t even be considered bugs, they were more like nasty little monsters…yuck! I slept with one eye open (when I could actually fall asleep). I’m not sure if I was more afraid of the noises in the dark or what could appear right in front of me if I turned on a light. My one and only nighttime bathroom visit included bumping into my husband while we both were chasing a cockroach with DEET bug repellant. Not a pretty sight I’m sure. Just a side note, DEET does not kill massive cockroaches. It actually doesn’t even slow them down. I decided it was better to just wait to use the restroom until morning, regardless of how uncomfortable it became. I was also so incredibly thankful that my poor husband was the only one suffering from a case of montezuma’s revenge (sorry Honey!). It was hot, loud, and I was scared. I patiently waited each night for morning to come so I could actually relax and get a couple of hours of shut eye.
Over all, (speaking after recovering for 6 days in a fabulous tropical beach resort) this was an amazing experience. A bit painful at times (okay, it was horrible at times), but I wouldn’t change a thing. The stories and experiences we shared are irreplaceable. I feel proud and strong. I can say I survived and my kids have experienced something that none of their friends have ever done. I set out for an adventure and was it ever an “adventure”!
My daughter will never again be squeamish about the bugs at home and my boys will always view me as one pretty brave Mama! I can cross staying in the jungle off my bucket list and start looking toward what to do next to top this adventure of a lifetime. I just know that my next extreme family experience will involve air-conditioning and hopefully no cockroaches!