Ever since I found myself belly-worming through an increasingly dark and unexpectedly narrow crevice in a cave in Vang Vieng, Laos, a few years back, I’ve been sketchy about spelunking. Something about the cold, damp walls pressing in on both shoulders and the inability of the local boys guiding us to clarify how far the exit was gripped me with my first-ever claustrophobic pang. Probably the worst thing you can think of during a moment like that is the possibility of an earthquake, but that of course is what crossed my mind.
“Dude,” I remember saying to my friend Melissa, who was edging her way forward on the ground behind me, “I don’t like this anymore.”
“Me neither,” she said. “Keep going.”