Getting Out of Your Headspace at 120 MPH

In this ongoing series, we ask SF/F authors to descibe a speciality in their lives that has nothing (or very little) to do with writing. Join us as we discover what draws authors to their various hobbies, how they fit into their daily lives, and how and they inform the author’s literary identity!

The truth is writing has always been my passion and I’ve never really found a hobby to do in my down time that competes with it. I am always looking though. Every time I finish a book and have a little breathing space, I try out a different hobby. I’ve tried the more sedate ones like needlepoint, sewing, puzzles, and taking up piano again, but I’ve also tried more exciting things like zip lining as well, which was surprisingly disappointing.

However, while I hesitate to call it a hobby since I don’t get to do it as much as I’d like, there is one thing I do every chance I get… UGH! I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, and you’d probably never guess, but I LOVE amusement park rides. Seriously. Maybe it’s because writing keeps me so much in my head, but when I’m out of that headspace, I guess I become a bit of an adrenaline junky, because there is nothing I love more than visiting one of the amusement parks and hitting every one of their biggest and baddest rides. The only exception to this statement would be the ones like Round Up whose sole purpose seems to be to make the rider as sick as possible by trapping them against a wall using centrifugal force, much like a sock caught in the spin cycle of a washing machine. (And before you ask, Yes, I have ridden one when someone across from me couldn’t handle it and…shudder. Yah, you get the picture. I never went on one of those types of rides again!) So I guess it would be more accurate to say that I love roller coasters and MOST other rides, and the bigger the better.

This isn’t a new thing with me. Ever since I can remember I’ve been drawn to try the latest and greatest rides available. My fascination with them began when I was a kid. Back then our only options were Cedar Point or the now closed Boblo Island. My friends and I would stay until either we were forced to leave because the park closed for the night, or we got so hot and sun burnt that we were close to suffering heatstroke. (Come to think of it, I did suffer heatstroke once when very young and with my family. Luckily for me, though, my family was paying attention at the time and found an EMT.)

So where did my die-hard love of roller coasters and extreme rides originate from? Maybe it’s because I never really grew up (then again who really wants to!) and that inner kid in me is still thriving on the thrill of the ultimate ride. Or perhaps I was a pilot in a previous life and still crave the feeling of the g-force and freedom travelling at speed gives me. Shrug. Whatever the reason, the result is the same…if there’s a big, bad rollercoaster within a one hundred mile radius of where I am then I’m going to find it and ride it!

Even now as an adult I look forward to vacations and trips where there’s a nearby amusement park like Disney World, Disneyland, Universal Studios or a Six Flags. I always schedule one day out so we can include a visit to the park and ride the largest, fastest and/or scariest roller coasters and rides they have to offer.

The mere thought of sitting inside an open metal box as it hurtles at incredible speed from impossible heights sends chills of excitement up and down my spine. It ROCKS! Just can’t get enough of it. And the rides just keep getting better and better. My latest favorite is a sort of bungee drop we tried at Six Flags in Atlanta. They haul you 200 feet into the air, and then drop you like a bad penny. Maybe it’s just me, but there’s something about plummeting those 200 feet toward the ground, the wind rushing past, the people below quickly growing larger, the ground getting closer until you’re sure you’re about to go “splat” and then…WHOOSH, you reach the end of the bungee and jerk, then swing forward and up, and then back like a pendulum until you slow enough they can stop you.

Fortunately, my hubby likes these rides too, joins me for all of them including the bungee drop, and we laughed the whole ride. It was exhilarating! Definitely much more fun than zip lining. But to be fair that could be due to the location we tried. The zip line tour that we were on went through the jungle in the Dominican Republic where the canopy was only about fifty feet in the air. Unfortunately, this ride was disappointingly slow, rather boring and took far too long to hike into it. We also tried parasailing there, though, which we did enjoy. It was an absolute blast. They kept us in the air for close to twenty minutes and we really enjoyed cooling off at the end of the ride when they dipped us in the water. (When they started lowering us for the “dip” I had visions of something going wrong and my doing a graceless nosedive in the water…thankfully that didn’t happen!)

The funny thing is that the more rides I try, the more rides I’m hearing about. For example I just found out about a zip line in Ohio, which is supposed to reach speeds of up to 50mph as you whip through the canopy like superman. The one I’m really excited about, though, is The Kingda Ka, the second tallest and fastest rollercoaster in the world. That ride looks like it would be a roar and one day in the not too distant future I’ll have to try it… Six Flags New Jersey, here I come!

Lynsay Sands is the author of the Argeneau series and many hysterical historicals (as her readers tend to call them). She has written over forty-five books and twelve anthologies, which probably tells you she really enjoys writing. Lynsay considers herself very lucky to have been able to make a career out of it.

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