What the Chilean Sand Dunes Taught Me About Fear

About 10 years ago I was standing at the top of a sand dune in the Chilean desert, with a bunch of mates around me and a sandboard in my hand.

One by one, my friends jumped on their boards and sailed down the dune, loving every second of it. Not knowing that I was too scared to follow them, I kept high-fiving them at the top and watching them repeat the process.

I was doing a great job flying under the radar until one of my friends realised I hadn’t travelled down the dune yet. Then the peer pressure started and all of a sudden, eight friends and a Chilean tour guide were cheering me to take the leap and jump on the board. I was hating every second of this moment but as peer pressure often does, it spurred me to take action.

I was scared about looking stupid and I was scared about falling.

As I started my first trip down the sandy mountain I fell over, and the biggest surprise to me was how warm and soft the sand was. Falling into it felt amazing! As I started to enjoy this incredible experience and stunning location, I realised that the falling-over part felt just as good as the getting-it-right part. The highs were higher than I expected and the lows were nowhere near as low as my imagination wanted me to believe.

I wonder how many other sand dunes in our lives we’re too scared to go down?

Perhaps the sand that we’re scared of falling on is much softer and warmer than we expect.

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