My name is Katie Moritz….and I am a rollercoaster addict. I would far rather buy a Merlin Annual Pass (to get into Alton Towers, Blackpool Tower, Thorpe Park, Chessington, Sealife Centres, Madame Tussauds, Legoland, Windsor Castle, the London Eye…and the dungeons but I’m too scared to go in there) than buy, say, two pairs of boots from Clarks (well, more like four when bought in sale, like I do!)
Why may you ask? Well.
For some people, a new pair of shoes or a dress will cheer them up on a bad day. I know I’ve been there. But, that’s not the most effective combatter of stress for me.
For me, it’s a drop from a height! As some readers know, I am on a journey (sorry to use an X-Factor cliché) with the hormone imbalance I’ve been dealing with, and part of this is doing all I can to ‘top myself up’ in the times when I’m not clinically depressed and anxious. I need as many doses of Endorphins and Serotonin (happy hormones) to help fight the hormones that create the low moods. So my thinking went thus.
What about when I have a stressful day, I can just take off and go on Stealth at Thorpe Park a few times? I used to do this in a previous job with toil time on the way home. So, now with my Merlin Pass, I can do just that.
I’ve learnt that stress physically seizes up our body thanks to adrenilin (ancient reflex of fight or flight when we feel in danger) and we need to do something relaxing to drain our muscles from the blood they receive to run away from that tiger (or that car that just cut you up, that email or that call from a family member)
So…going on roller coasters relaxes me. I’ve loved going fast as long as I can remember – running down hills, skiing (lucky me), go-carting down our drive, flumes and I remember the fateful day I went to Thorpe Park and went on ‘Loggers Leap’ that very first time.
The rest, as they say, was history. Ever since then, I’ve been to theme parks whenever I have the chance – at every birthday with Sall, Ellie, Sadie and Jane, Blackpool ‘The Big One’ on TV with Sall, Thorpe Park and Alton Towers with Jo and Rach and now…Alton Towers with Margaret and James.
I met Margaret, quite by chance, on the Chiltern Railway into London. Her husband, John, was sitting next to her, wearing a ‘Smiler’ hat (the new roller coaster at Alton Towers) and I asked if he’d been on the ride. Now, John and Margaret are, *mature*, shall we say.
I was surprised when Margaret chirped in, saying, ‘No, it’s me, I bought it for John!’ For the rest of the journey me and Margaret chatted about how much we loved roller coasters, and John and my husband Mike, how much they didn’t really love them!
Margaret and I exchanged numbers, a few months later we emailed to arrange a trip, and off we went to Alton Towers! I felt excited and slightly scared about going away with a lady I’d just met, but now I live one day at a time, or ‘Manna Living’ as I call it (it’s in the Bible, ask me if you want to know) I went with it.
We had the most amazing time together! I have never met a 60 year old like Margaret who is so full of life, willing to give anything a try and so doesn’t care what people think about her having fun! I can learn a lot from her.
We met up with Margaret’s friend, James (who she also met on a train) and we had *such fun* bombing around the park, being silly, sleeping on rides (see below) and raising our eyebrows at the unintentional (or was it?) double entendres in ‘Ceebeebies Land’.
And most of all, taking our hands off the restraints and going with the drops, bumps, whirls, shoots and turns of our favourite rides., right there and then (the ultimate mindfulness awareness exercise – you can’t think of anything, you just feel!)
Before I came back to London, I spent an afternoon in the spa there, which I’ve never done on my own and I can say that was a really cathartic experience just to be still. When I got back the next day, all my friends said they’d not seen me so full of energy for quite a while.
So, my conclusions are…that it’s so wonderful to do something you really love with people who really love it, it’s fun to take a risk and get to know someone new, it really does relax and recharge me to do something new…And finally…I am going to join the European Coaster Club (yes, it exists)!