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What's the biggest risk you've taken in your life?”

6 replies so far...

  • I was 22 years old and one of the first 500 tourists in Tibet after it was opened up to independent travellers (1985). Tourists were not allowed out of the capital city, Lhasa, but my friend and I left the city and hitch hiked into the hinterlands to take photographs of the destruction the Chinese occupation had wrought. At one moment we were travelling over a 15,000ft path in the cab a 1930s-style truck on a narrow road with a cliff off the passenger side. The road was only wide enough for one and a half cars and we were careening around the corners, this cliff out the window. The driven was drunk on barley beer. We bounced violently along the road, hitting our heads on the ceiling. I had amoebic dysentery and was doing everything I could not to lose control. I realized at that moment that my life was in no way in my hands. We continued on to a remote valley with a 5th century monastery perched on a hill. While I was out hiking up a hill to get above the monastery to take some photographs, the police arrived. They had been told spies were travelling illegal (my friend was fluent in Tibetan and was going around asking the Tibetans if they didn't loathe the Chinese). They were going to take us to jail and maybe deport us, but I was able to connect with their interpreter, who was a historian like I was, and convince him we were harmless. After going home and finishing up university, a year later I left for a year in Turkey. I met my husband the day I arrived and decided to settle in Istanbul. It's been 20 years now.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by KatieK on 31st August 2007

  • For someone who sees herself as pretty cautious, I can reflect on a few big risks I've taken in my life, but like Jen and Kathy, I'm going with one that's more personal than career-related - the most life-changing one was not using effective birth control when I was in college. There are so many things that would never have happened in my life if I'd been more careful - motherhood at 20, early marriage, places I probably never would have lived, divorce after 18 years, living on my own for the first time at going-on-40. But they've all made me who I am now.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Florinda Pendley Vasquez on 31st August 2007

  • For me, it is also leaving my secure, well-paying job to become an independant consultant. The funny thing is that I realize how lucky I am that so far in my life, that this has been my biggest risk so far. I'm really not a risk-taker though so this career change was a big leap for me - even though my husband has a well paying job and I managed to save up half a year of my income before making the leap. I've been doing this for 5 months so far and am still nervous about it!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by StacyAnne on 31st August 2007

  • Leaving my secure and well-paying job to start a business with no real plan! But now, almost a year later, I can't imagine it any other way.

    - Danielle

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Danielle Walsmith on 31st August 2007

  • Without a doubt ending my marriage. What a very permanent decision divorce is and its impact is incredibly widespread. But like Jen, I got to a point where I felt like I had no other choice and looking back I have not one single regret. Not for me, not for my kids, not for him, not for any extended family or friends. It was the best thing for all of us and many would argue it was terribly overdue.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by KathyHowe on 31st August 2007

  • It is truly an equal toss-up between leaving my husband while in grad school with three young sons (and taking them with me), or starting my own business and making that my SOLE form of income. They were both definitely risks-- but they seemed more like the only choice at the time, and that made doing them somewhat easier than *thinking* about them was.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Jen Creer on 31st August 2007