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<your background>
1.Q Tell me about the first time you can remember being thrilled.
1.A Being swung in the air, a parent holding each arm

2.Q What's been your most frightening thrill ever?
2.A Smuggling a lump of cannabis from Morocco to France. In my underpants.

3.Q What's the smallest or slightest thing to have thrilled you?
3.A A small piece of Waitrose Continental plain chocolate. Maybe even not the chocolate, maybe just knowing there were four squares left and it was time to put the kettle on.

4.Q Tell me why you're not a sensible person.
4.A It's not for me to say. But I do have tattoos. And no job.

5.Q What were you doing the last time you were really bored?
5.A I can't remember being really bored in the recent past.

6.Q What's the most uninhibited thing you've ever done?
6.A Age about 6, on an incredibly windy day, lean totally into the wind and let my body go - and not fall. As an adult, nothing springs to mind. Most adults confuse 'uninhibited' with 'exhibitionist', and it's not pretty.

7.Q What things have you considered doing for thrill, but were too concerned about the risks?
7.A Crimes - theft, violence

8.Q I always dreamt about being a paramedic, driving an ambulance and saving lives; what about you?
8.A A tree surgeon, trundling along in a Landrover and saving trees' lives. Honestly.

<your thrill>
To answer these next 14 questions, you should think about a particular time you were thrilled.

9.Q Describe this thrill in a nutshell, in one sentence. (there's time to expand later)
9.A Seeing a flock of parrots..

10.Q Where and when did it take place?
10.A A remote canyon region of Northern Mexico

11.Q Tell me a bit about yourself around this time.
11.A Impoverished writer on research trip

12.Q How did the moment arise? Was it planned?
12.A I was 6 hours into an 8-hour run/walk from one canyon to the next - this was planned. The sighting was not.

13.Q List the sequence of events leading up to your thrill, and how you felt at each stage. The smallest detail could be important (this is your chance to expand).
13.A I (and my guide) had been mixing running and walking for 6 hours, starting at river level in one canyon, climbing out of it, over the top and down into the neighbouring canyon. It was radiantly sunny and very warm and humid. The sky was cloudless. We had set off at about 8am, working first through a tiny village, then up and up and up the canyon wall through mango groves, cacti of all sorts as far as the top, where we ran over the springy floor of a pine wood. It was hard work, but pleasantly hard. Sensually there as a lot going on: the scents of first the mango trees, then grapefruit, then the pine and something like birch - from fruity to woody; the air was soft, almost tangible, and we were barechested; when we stopped to eat 'pinole' (scorched cornmeal mixed to a paste with water), it tasted blissful - slightly sweet, light, intensely satisfying. Then as we continued through this plateau to head for the rim of the next canyon and drop down into it, moving at an easy jog, I began to find myself in a flow state, aka the Zone, where effort was effortless and time had little meaning. We were totally alone in a kind of paradisical wilderness. It was at this point, just as we began our descent into the canyon that I heard a raucous shrieking and turned to see a huge flock of bright green parrots whizz across me, a few metres out into the void of the canyon, chattering and squawking and clicking, and the brightest green against the most perfect blue of the sky and against the red earth of the canyon.

14.Q At the exact moment of thrill, how did your mind and body feel?
14.A See above - plus I felt an electric shock of bliss at being so close to something so beautiful in a place that was more beautiful than any human could deserve, feeling more at one with my body than I could imagine...

15.Q What thoughts were going through your head?
15.A No thoughts, only this sort of after-the-fact rationalising later on

16.Q What did you do immediately afterwards?
16.A I stood stock still until I realised that my guide, who had been ahead of me and round a twist in the trail, not seeing all this, was leaving me behind, so I had to hurry away from there

18.Q How were other people important to your thrill?
18.A My guide led me through there

19.Q What do you imagine other people were thinking throughout your thrilling episode?
It was just me

20.Q Some people probably don't understand how such a thing can thrill you; explain it to them.
20.A see above, q14. For an instant, I lost my self-awareness, my ego, in the glory of the moment.

23.Q If you did it again, what things could be added or changed to make it even better?
23.A something similar could easily happen again, but never in the same circumstances, so it is impossible to judge the quality of the moment. It could be as perfect, slightly similar but fundamentally different




what do you find thrilling?