That First Step to the Unknown


That moment, I was standing at the edge of the top of a mountain. The next step should have been in the air to start the adventure. The adventure of zip lining at a beautiful island on a sunny day. But to start the venture and to get an aerial view of ocean, woods, and mountains, I had to let my excitement overcome my fear of unknown.

Zip Lining is an extreme sport in which you go up on a mountain and cross the gorge by moving horizontally from one mountain to another. The only contact your body has in this movement, is the grip of your hand on the cable hanging between the two mountains thus it is like moving in the air while holding a rope.

Until recently, my contact with nature was more through literature; the greens of Wordsworth and the purples of Keats were enough to sooth my aesthetic sense. Then I came across the companionship that believes more in touching the flowers, climbing the heights, and diving the deep – all first-hand experiences. In that company, these days I am busy exploring new pleasures. And one such exploration was a step away at that moment.

The instructor of zip lining told me that I was 100% safe after taking a step in the air. He showed that I was tied to the rope at six points and stated that not a single point has got broken in his 15-years’ long career. My husband made the jump before me to set an example. They both tried their best to encourage me. But that was all they can do, it was me who had to take the next step in the air, all by myself.

“What if I do not jump?” – I would go back and sit static in the bunker while my fellows will have a bird’s eye view of the blues and the greens.  “What if I jump?” – I will see the earth like a dove does, I will feel the air like a butterfly does. And I took the step.

Within a moment, I was busy enjoying the wilds. I was all indulged with nature. At one moment my eyes glazed over the sea waves reflecting the sunlight and at another moment they captured the wide tall trees on the mountains.

The preoccupation with nature continued for an hour after that first step. I completely forgot the fear. I was interested in exploring the beauty more and more. I wanted to feel the freedom at the most. After the adventure I believed that so much was added to my perspective, that I unfolded a mystery. And I appreciated myself for taking that first step in that journey of the unknown.

Isbah Ali Farzan belongs to the field of educational assessment. She has worked for UNESCO, American Institutes for Research, Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority, and The Aga Khan University-Examination Board. She is a recipient of Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarship, Endeavour Executive Award, and the Fulbright Scholarship. These days, she is doing her PhD from The University of Memphis-USA.



  1. Sabeeha 10 August, 2018 at 04:18 Reply

    So true Isbah baji I can totally relate how does it feels to step into the unkown space. It needs alot of courage but more of sense of experiencing ,exploring and adventure. One has to be adventurous and risk taking otherwise you can never feel the how beautiful the unkown experience be when it comes to extreme sports. I was super duper excited to see you experiencing everyday a new challenge and thoroughly enjoying it. I wish you all the happiness and full of adventure life with your husband. Ess you aamen.

  2. Isbah 11 August, 2018 at 15:14 Reply

    Thanks Dr Christie for pointing that out. This intro they are using for more than a year. Let me ask them to amend it.

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