Bungee jumping, wild bear encounters & more: The adrenaline junkies of ZOZI

August 09, 2016                 4m read time
Emily Hackeling


The folks at ZOZI really love to get out there. So we asked some fellow employees to tell us about their most insane, eye-bulging, mind-blowing, heart-stopping adventures...and they did not disappoint! Get inspired by their first-hand accounts, then head to our Adrenaline Junkie collection to book your own experience.

1. Hiking an "iron road" in the Swiss Alps

 

This was a dreaded day for me. Climbing day. We climbed/hiked the Murren-Gimmelwald Via Ferrata.  Via ferratas (Italian for "Iron Road") are climbing routes found all over the world, across mountains, and containing—but not limited to—rock climbing, hike trailing, ladder climbing, wire crossing, and basically anything that requires traveling over/across areas on the mountain that make you afraid to even blink. You are, of course, strapped in the entire time, wearing a diaper harness and hooking on and off to each cable along the trail. While that may seem reassuring, it is not so reassuring when you are only standing on an iron rod hooked into the face of the mountain and holding on for dear life 2,000 feet above the ground. It was by far the scariest thing I've ever done. - Kristy Frilling-Skelly, Customer Success Manager

2. Bungee jumping, canyon swinging and skydiving in New Zealand & Fiji

Ashmi skydiving and bungee  jumping Ashmi Pathela

Ashmi skydiving and bungee  jumping

Ashmi Pathela

 

I did the world's 3rd highest bungee jump and largest canyon swing on the same day in New Zealand. The bungee jump was nine full seconds of free-fall (enough time to scream, breathe, and scream again). I was supposed to go skydiving that same morning, but it was canceled due to high winds (phew). The next week, I checked it off my list in Fiji—skydiving with no jumpsuit, in just shorts and a tank top! - Ashmi Pathela, Chief of Staff

3. Backcountry camping in Alaska...with a bear

Bea in Denali National Park - Adrenaline Rush Photo Credit Ian Soloman & Jeffery T. Kruelman

Bea in Denali National Park - Adrenaline Rush

Photo Credit

Ian Soloman & Jeffery T. Kruelman

 
All of the sudden, I hear someone yell, ‘Ian... Ian!!!’...I quickly turned to my left and looked a white grizzly bear in the eyes.
 

After three days of backpacking through Denali National Park I was exhausted and needed a little break from my group (as awesome as they were). I set up a chair and was enjoying a great book. All of the sudden, I hear someone yell, "Ian... Ian!!!" I turned to my right and saw two of my friends waving their arms at me. I quickly turned to my left and looked a white grizzly bear in the eyes. It was only about 100 feet away. My heart was pounding and my adrenaline was pumping. I quickly closed my book and gathered with the rest of the group. Our guide had to get out his protective gun, but luckily did not have to use it. The bear kept walking along the stream and we got to enjoy watching it in its habitat. - Ian Soloman, Account Executive

4. Canyoning in New Zealand

Rob and Lina seeing glowworms and caving in New Zealand - Adrenaline Rush Rob and Lina Eroh

Rob and Lina seeing glowworms and caving in New Zealand - Adrenaline Rush

Rob and Lina Eroh

 

Our first caving adventure with Waitomo Adventures was the Haggas Honking Holes tour, which included several rappels (some down waterfalls), a ton of crawling, and some pretty crazy rock climbing. It was a really physical tour, but the guides were awesome and made sure everyone knew what they were doing and were as safe as possible. - Rob Eroh, VP of Product

5. Sandboarding in Peru

Sandboarding in peru - Adrenaline rush Darcy Lloyd

Sandboarding in peru - Adrenaline rush

Darcy Lloyd

 

Huacachina is a tiny town in southwestern Peru, built around a small oasis surrounded by sand dunes. The main tourist activity there is sandboarding, and it is a ton of fun. You have two options: You can go on an actual snowboard—boots, bindings, the whole deal—or you can go down on your stomach on what is basically a skateboard with the wheels removed. Since I've tried (and failed) snowboarding a few times, I opted for the stomach version. You get some serious speed going down the dunes, and don't have much control unless you want to stir up a dust storm with your feet. For me, the most exhilarating part was blasting around the desert in a giant dune buggy. The drivers were crazy fast and seemed to have no fear. It made for a slightly terrifying but super fun day! - Darcy Lloyd, Email Marketing Manager

6. Shark feeding in the Bahamas and Diving in Fiji

Martin and sharks in the Bahamas - Adrenaline Rush Martin Israelsen

Martin and sharks in the Bahamas - Adrenaline Rush

Martin Israelsen

 

"You are crazy." I must have heard that a million times by now. But nevertheless I just had to experience it: Joining the Caribbean reef sharks at the dinner table for a late afternoon snack at Shark Arena just outside New Providence Island, Bahamas. We geared up and descended down to the Shark Arena for the luncheon. My friend and diving partner Chris barely made it into the water before 6-8 sharks surrounded him, eagerly snapping at the lunch box. What followed next was just stunning. I've seen sharks eat before, but always in some old James Bond movie. In the 007 movie, the shark(s) usually eat the bad guys or the occasional blonde but only after she spent the night with James. This, on the other hand, was the real stuff. More than 15 sharks finned around Chris while he served them fish. I did my best to not look or smell like fish, but even then they would swim right at me and turn away right before my eyes. - Martin Israelsen, SVP of Engineering

 

7. Canyoneering in France

Canyoning in France - Adrenaline Rush Roberto Lumbreras

Canyoning in France - Adrenaline Rush

Roberto Lumbreras

 

I typically seek an adrenaline rush from speedy things (skiing, snowboarding, waterskiing, rafting, parasailing), but rarely do I do something that causes me to slow down to experience it. Canyoneering forces you to wade through rivers and rappel waterfalls at a much slower pace than if you were in a raft or a kayak, but it's way more thrilling! Hanging off the side of a waterfall or sliding through a rock chute on your butt is really an amazing experience and unlike any other water sport or speedy thrill! - Taylor Chiu, Developer

8. Bungee Jumping in California

Maddie bungee jumping - Adrenaline Rush Madeline Gimbel

Maddie bungee jumping - Adrenaline Rush

Madeline Gimbel

 
Sitting on the edge of a bridge and looking out over the river that you’re about to leap towards is exhilarating.
 

When I joined ZOZI, I wanted to do something EXCITING to celebrate! To embrace our "Get Out There" motto and check another experience off the bucket list, I decided to buy the ZOZI.com Bungee Jumping voucher with Icarus Bungee. I drove out to Sonora, CA where we met early in the morning while the stars were still out. We were all set up and ready to jump by the time the sun was coming up. There is no activity that creates more adrenaline than bungee jumping! Sitting on the edge of a bridge and looking out over the river that you're about to leap towards is exhilarating. And taking the leap was both hard and easy to do! You just had to let go. I had an amazing time with Icarus Bungee, felt 100% safe, and would definitely be an adrenaline junkie and go back again for another jump! - Madeline Gimbel, On-Boarding Account Manager

9. Running the North Face Endurance Challenge Marathon in California

Jason running a marathon - Adrenaline Rush Jason DeWillers

Jason running a marathon - Adrenaline Rush

Jason DeWillers

 

I remember running up a mountain at mile 22 one minute, and the next minute I was sitting on the side of the trail. I had run three other marathons that year and had never felt this way before. As I was sitting there, a girl (I still don't know her name) ran up to me and put her hand on my shoulder, asking if I was ok. I told her I hit the wall. She then helped me to my feet and told me that it happens to everyone. She then did something that I never expected. She put her hand on my back and started to push me up the last part of the mountain. By the time I got to the top my adrenaline was going crazy. I bombed down the other side of the mountain and finished my 4th marathon of the year strong. - Jason DeWillers, Sales Manager

10. Hiking and whitewater rafting in Nepal

Gio in Nepal - Adrenaline Rush Gio Romaguera

Gio in Nepal - Adrenaline Rush

Gio Romaguera

 

I had the incredible chance to explore Nepal for two weeks earlier this year through a ZOZI trip run by our partner merchant Bohemian Tours. It was my first time traveling in Asia and was hands-down the most amazing experience I've had. It was a two-week adventure, and I trekked in the Annapurna region for five days, rafted in the Trishuli River, practiced yoga and meditation, and explored Kathmandu and Pokhara. Nepal is such a beautiful country filled with the kindest people, delicious food, and the most breathtaking sights. This trip sparked my desire to trek in other regions of the world, and I can't wait to return to Nepal one day to experience more of what the country has to offer! - Giovanna Romaguera, Senior Community & Customer Loyalty Associate

Feeling inspired to get out there? Check out our Adrenaline Junkie collection for our fastest, craziest and scariest experiences. 

 
 
Emily Hackeling

Emily is the production associate at ZOZI. She's a Tar Heel basketball die-hard who enjoys corny jokes, planning trips, and forcing others to taste her cookie experiments. @EmilyHackeling

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