As a Cambridge Part 2 writing task, CPE Students were asked to write in to a magazine to describe a risk they themselves had taken and why people in general take risks. Here is Juliana Navarro’s letter:

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The Editor,

I am writing in response to your article “Taking Risks Makes Life Worth Living” to contribute my own experience and views on the topic.

Recently, I travelled to Karijini National Park with my fiancé, and once there, we heard about a nearby ghost town. This town was evacuated a few years ago because of asbestos contamination – a toxic and carcinogenic substance that used to be mined there. Despite all the warning signs on the road, which was itself  also hazardous to drive on without a four-wheel-drive vehicle, we decided to visit the town anyway.

The sun was setting, and we considered several times during the trip going back, but we were thrilled by the mixed feelings of fear and curiosity, and we managed to reach the town. Fortunately, nothing untoward happened, and we went back to our camping site with a big smile and a pleasurable feeling of having conquered something unique.

Taking my experience as an example, it is these inexplicable feelings before, during and after an adventure that make people put themselves in jeopardy. The feeling before and during a risky situation can be justified by the rush of adrenalin, which is a body mechanism to get us prepared to run or fight, whichever is necessary, when faced with an environmental peril. This mechanism was essential to pre-historic human beings, who were surrounded by wild animals and vulnerable to natural phenomena, but nowadays we live very peaceful lives, and it is rare to be confronted with a situation that will pump you with adrenalin. This scenario might be boring for some people, so they look for experiences that can make them feel alive.

Secondly, there is a particular feeling after a dangerous moment. It is a feeling of empowerment, relief, and fulfilment only experienced after facing a challenge and succeeding at it. Humans are driven by challenges, and while for some people having children is challenging enough, for others there is a necessity to always push their human limitations. In the end, it is always a matter of proving themselves and seeing that they are capable of facing their feelings and being courageous.

I thank you for the opportunity to express my views and perspective on this topic.

Yours faithfully

Juliana Jobim

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