Photo on the right by Jessica Peterson

This brunette has wanted short blonde hair for thirteen years, ever since I saw one of my friends unravel curlers from her shoulder-length natural-blonde locks. I’m like that with a lot of things. I can’t describe what I want but I know it when I see it, and that image stuck. I just needed a little nudge, or as life would have it, a sudden jolt, courtesy of a handmade zipline in a small village in Guatemala.

Dan and I spent a weeklong charity trip there with the company he works for. We built a school by day and went on local excursions each evening. We signed up for the zipline — something we had done before in Mexico — along with friends Courtney and his wife, Brittany.

We ascended the course on a rickety rope bridge straight out of an Indiana Jones film, swaying side to side, stepping over missing planks of wood. I began second-guessing our decision and wondering about government-regulation laws for tourist attractions in a village so remote, we were building the local school with non-electrical equipment. No bulldozers or drills, just shovels and hammers. Roads cankered with potholes. So what, I wondered, had they used to build this rope course?

You may also like: