The Wheel of Brisbane is a beautiful structure to behold, with its massive white spokes stretching to the outer rim, and where 46 air-conditioned gondolas are elegantly attached.
To ride the wheel with my eldest grandson seemed the perfect way to end our big day out on a warm and windy winter’s day in Brisbane.
What I didn’t realise at the time was, heights make me uncomfortable.
We waited for the briefest time before we were ushered into an empty pod, excited and eager for a few turns of the wheel.
It wasn’t long before the wheel began to move gently and quietly complete with commentary. Nothing wrong with that except for one minor detail – the almost 60 metres (around 156 feet) height we reached every rotation meant I was out of my comfort zone.
The curling of my toes and a heart pounding so hard and loud I thought it would burst a lá Ripley of the Aliens franchise, style, came on during the wheel’s first cycle. It didn’t help matters when I peered down from the top.
When the wheel gently turned on its axis for the third time, and kept turning, I knew we’d got our money’s worth (the ride last between 10 – 12 minutes). I won’t bore you with the wild thoughts that ran amok in my head. Instead, I’ll tell you how I managed to quell my silent screams.
Here’s how I overcome my irrational fear of the height.
First I asked myself what can I do to take my mind off the height? (said in a breathless rapid-fire manner)
The answer was to refocus on something else.
So I opened up my smart-phone, switched on the camera began to snap away at the 360o degree view.
I then opened Instagram and uploaded a photo of the breathtaking views over the city. (I now have many photos on my camera – all of which wouldn’t have been possible without a spin of the wheel)
Because my toes were yet to uncurl and my knees still knocked together I opened Facebook as a further distraction (seriously, it’s a distraction any time).
Oh yes, almost forgot, I also took many, many slow deep breaths, had several quiet words with my invisible friends who clearly didn’t understand the urgency and the wheel continued to rotate. Not that much different from the first time I went hot air ballooning, but that’s a tale for another day.
There was never a danger, I was safe the entire time, my imagined fear held me in its grip and trapped my mind. Refocusing on something else helped me keep it in check. Stepping back on terra firma also helped.
In years to come my grandson and I will reminisce and laugh and laugh, about that awesome time we spent on a Ferris wheel with views that went forever.
I’ve ridden in many Ferris wheels though never one as beautiful as this one, and have no doubt I’ll again ride in one with my other grandchildren and kick this fear to the kerb 🙂