Last year for my 25th birthday I strapped a bungee around my waist and jumped off a bridge. It was the most exhilarating and freeing experience I had ever had. Being a competitive person, I knew I had to go even BIGGER this year for my 26th. So naturally, the next step was go skydiving.
My lovely boyfriend signed us up and next thing I knew we were driving to the airstrip. I think this is a great time to mention that I am terrified of flying. And honestly, the thought of tumbling out of an airplane 10,000 feet in the sky still makes me want to vomit. I was well aware of these feelings as I cautiously climbed into the plane, where I decided then and there that I needed to get over it. So I wiped off my sweaty palms, gave my boyfriend one last weary look and got stoked.
Between the nerves and my new found excitement, I giggled the entire time we climbed to altitude. I must have looked pretty crazy, but my instructor played along by telling plenty of inappropriate jokes and pointing out prominent parts of the landscape below. After about 15 minutes in the air, Luke (my boyfriend) and I got clipped to the front of our instructors and the door was pried open. I watched intently as Luke put his feet on the wheels of the plane.
Three, two, one… whip!! Just like that, the two of them plopped out of the plane and were snatched up by the wind (or so I could only hope).
My turn. I carefully placed my own two feet on the wheels and tried to think of anything other than my body splatting against the earth below me. And then we were flying!! I hardly remember actually exiting the plane, just all of the sudden drool was flying out of my mouth and we were soaring through the sky. It surprisingly didn’t actually feel like we were falling at all.
I had a brief moment where I couldn’t breathe and got a little nervous about suffocating and dying attached to a man I didn’t know. Then I realized I was just holding my breath. So I opened my mouth and took a gasp of cool air. Once re-oxygenating my brain, I was able to take it all in and couldn’t contain my hoots and hollers as we continued our free fall for 35 seconds.
These are the moments I live for; bones trembling with adrenaline; mind free and alert; spirit aflame. It’s a little twinkle in time where my body is free to just be; saline tears streaking from my eyes, cheeks flapping with the ebb and flow of the wind – I was simply just there.
As I began to get comfortable with the idea of a forever free fall, the chute was released and my body was forced back into its familiar homo erectus position. We rapidly slowed down and after a moment of straightening us out my instructor handed me the reigns, therefore quite literally putting our lives in my hands.
He talked me through some loopty-loos and sharp turns, before taking back over and preparing us for touch down. I lifted my shaky legs out in front of me (I shouldn’t have done Yoga Booty Ballet that morning..) and braced for impact. Turns out impact is more of a slip n’ tumble, but we were back on land!
Man, I’m damn good at surviving. Thank you body and thank you gravity, for always managing to keep me alive.
After Luke landed, we helped our instructors carry the chutes back to the warehouse, said our thank you’s and goodbye’s and tried to fathom re-entering the daily grind. How does one simply go home and do taxes after jumping from an airplane? Please tell me.
If you have ever, even just for an instant, thought about skydiving you MUST do it. The great thing about it is, even if you are petrified and freeze up, you’ve got a trained professional attached to your back. They will force you out of the plane, position your limbs during the free fall, steer the chute, and safely land. You don’t have to do a single thing!
I couldn’t recommend skydiving more. I will mention that I thought bungee jumping was much more terrifying – likely because you don’t have a professional falling with you – so if you are looking for the ultimate adrenaline rush, I’d go with the bungee. However, both experiences are completely unique and skydiving will absolutely rock your world!
Spread your wings, my restless souls!