• UO Happenings: Lonely Planet Instagram Contest Winner

    Our UO x Lonely Planet Instagram contest ended a couple of days ago, and the winner of the big trip for two through Mexico, Belize and Guatemala was @aabbydowd! Her incredible winning picture, posted above, filled us with awe and terror (a lot of terror, if we're being honest), so we reached out to her to find out a little bit more about the story behind the photo. Read her story below, and thanks to everyone for their incredible submissions!

    "My winning photo was taken last June just outside of Interlaken, Switzerland at Stockhorn - it's a 134 m (or 439.633 ft.) jump out of a cable car over a lake framed by the Alps. Switzerland is a lot like New Zealand in that there is a never-ending list of extreme sports for people to choose from if they are searching for one hell of an adrenaline overload: skydiving, bungee jumping, canyoning, paragliding, skiing, white water rafting, etc., etc., etc. The list goes on and on.

    Now, I like to think that I'm a girl who feeds off adrenaline, but the idea of jumping out of a little box with nothing but a rope to keep me from plummeting almost 500 feet to my death was a pill I was having a bit of a hard time swallowing.

    When we were on our way to Stockhorn that fateful afternoon, I was nervously rambling to one of the guys who would be assisting with my plunge out of the cable car, when I said, 'I'm really nervous. It might take me 20 minutes to work up the guts to actually jump.' His response? 'We do a five second countdown and if you don't jump, we push you out.'

    Oh, okay. Cool.

    Ultimately, the definitive quote to encompass this picture came from the woman who was helping all of us into our harnesses. She said, 'Just pick a point, look straight ahead, and jump. This is a mental game. Don't let your mind win.' The entire thing—from jumping out of the cable car, bouncing twice, and being reeled into a small rowboat—only lasted about eight seconds. When you look at the sequence of photos from that day, the rope just keeps going and going until I look like a tiny speck at the end of a piece of dental floss. If that's not some perspective, I'd love to know what is. I’m 23 years old, and out of all 23 years, those eight seconds were absolutely the most profound.

    Needless to say, the day ended with more than one celebratory beer." Abby

    More of our favorites from the contest:

    Switzerland submitted by @joseewong

    Photo of Hanauma Bay submitted by @robertjhill

    Photo from Monastere Monserrat submitted by @kaidahranee

    Photo of Copenhagen submitted by @leahmid

    Photo submitted by @louiekovatch

    Photo submitted by @reicolee

    Photo submitted by @theaccidentaltourguide

    Photo from Coki Beach submitted by @cierrageyer

    Photo from Indonesia submitted by @nadyapink

    Photo from Germany submitted by @kayliemarissa

    Photo submitted by @kaitlinslone

    Photo submitted by @haypeetason

    Photo submitted by @mela_ann