20141101-IMG_6878Words like unbelievable, incredible and life changing mean about as much as a Quran In a Shabbat service when taking about the gibbon experience.

It was that amazing.

There was one analogy I came up with that nicely attempts to describe what we were feeling:

Let’s say that life is a 4 story apartment building and at each floor, the quality of life goes up. Living on the first floor is merely surviving. On the second floor, you are living. Those on the third floor are lucky enough to be thriving.

The start of our journey began with a very bumpy truck ride, (even going through large rivers at times!) and the realization that the eight people In our group were going to get along very well.  We all had the adventure spirit and the love of sharing our stories to back it up.

Hovering in mid-air somewhere around the 100th floor is how we felt during our three days and two nights zip lining from treehouse to treehouse in the northern Laos jungle of Bokeo.

Gibbon Treehouse Ziplining Adventure

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By the end of the first night, we called each other family and were giving group circle massage. (No, no drugs were involved). We also learned more about the world and traveling in one day than you could by reading 10 Lonely Planet books.

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After a sweaty few hours of hiking, we arrived at our first stop at the picturesque waterfall pool for a much-needed cooling off. Most deep pools in Asia come with a place to jump or a rope swing if you’re lucky.  This one came fully equipped with a zip line that sent you straight into the water if you don’t let go first.

Obviously, since I’m still here writing this, this one was the only line we didn’t have to clip into. Instead, we just grabbed the rope and rode in.

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The start of the zip lining began soon after the waterfall. We got a brief demonstration, and off the line we were sent, with our guide stopping us to fix any errors we had made. We were told to hit the line three times once it was safe for the next person to go, as the vibration quickly travels down to the end, where the person waiting can feel it. This worked surprisingly well.

20141031-IMG_6777We were buzzing with excitement and expectation when we got to the line that led to our treehouse. We were told to brake for this one unlike all the others so we were also a little nervous. As the ground left us and trees fell below, we began the jaw-dropping ride to the giant that loomed above the canopy in the lush valley.

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This was the tree that held our tree house, and it was something out of a childhood dream. With Two levels, large circular platforms floating on huge branches and palm leave roofs, it was enough to beat Dr. Suess’ creations.

“It was no wonder that all of us forgot to break enough and came crashing into the pad on the trunk of the main level.”

With gitty excitement, we explored our new home and found nice mattress pads, a kitchen, drinkable running water, and a bathroom with the best view in the freaking world. The endless jungle sloped out below and beyond us until it was only small mountains on the horizon.

“Too bad I only had to poop once.”

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Most of us have been zip-lining and can attest to the wonderfully exhilarating sensation of flying above the trees with views saved only for birds. However, only a few can share in the experience of being let loose in a massive network of cables with no guides, time limit, or limit on the number of times you can you go on each line.

We were expecting freedom of this sort, but even so, on the first day when our guide gave us a wave and disappeared into the trees, we all froze.

“We had no one to check that our rollers were facing the right way, no one to make sure our safety line was attached, and no one to tell us it was okay to go.”

We had ourselves, and the semi-comprehensible instruction on how to operate and signal on the lines. It was awesome.

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After a cautious first couple of zips, we all gained confidence and each zip became the pure ecstasy of having something that unique and beautiful at the tip of your fingers. We soon mastered the art of keeping ourselves straight on the line and taking the famous zip line selfie.

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By dinner time, we were starving and were more than entertained to see our guide return by zipline with a hot dinner hanging from his hand!  Delicious veggies and hot tea made a perfect end to an unreal day. That and a brilliant sunset over the tree-covered mountains in the distance. And tomorrow was to be a million times better.

Want to know what happened next?   The Gibbon Experience Part 2 can be found here!

What was a unique adventure you have ever had?