Skydiving – Bucket List Item – Check.
I’m afraid of heights.
So I decided to go skydiving.
I mean,Queenstown, New Zealand is the adventure capital of the world so why not here?
If only I had known that I wouldn’t even be able to take in what was around me….
In my skydiving video, I’m acting cool. I have the look of ‘yeah, that’s right, I’m a bad@ss, what?!’
But I’ll let you in on a little secret about me.
I tend to talk more when I’m nervous.
So while I seem confident, I’m really just compensating for my nerves.
[I wonder if others do this? Surely I’m not the only one]
As my father asked me before I went
“Why would you want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane?”
I actually found this question to be quite valid and I didn’t have an excellent answer, or really any answer at all.
I was even going to pay good money to do this. Shouldn’t they be paying me?
After checking in the morning of our jump, I noticed something.
The business was run like a well oiled machine.
This makes any customer that’s about to attach themselves to another human being and hurl themselves out of a [perfectly good] plane feel better.
We were suited up.
I saw the jumpers before us come out of the plane high above and their parachutes open.
Minutes after them touching the ground, the jump master was de-chuting, putting on his new parachute, and heading my way.
He shook my hand, we chatted, told me that he had done over 2,000 jumps, and we headed towards the plane [I think there were some safety instructions but I don’t really remember these].
I’ll admit, that I was immediately more calm, as I thought “this guy just finished a jump and he probably has 5 more after me before his day is done.”
So up in the plane we went.
We had some small talk, some fist bumps, some brother moments.
I opted for the premium delux package (silly tourist move) which meant that I had a dedicated 2nd skydiver that would be filming the entire jump so that I could take home a dvd with me.
My calm coolness disappeared for a brief moment as we fell from the plane.
I can see it in my eyes; a brief moment of terror.
I would love to tell you that it was the greatest experience of my life.
That it was exhileratingly blissfully incredibly awesome.
But the truth is, I felt like a fish out of water.
Approaching terminal velocity (fastest speed that an object is physically able to fall) is quite the feeling.
Ever stuck your face out of a car window going 60mph?
Try doubling your speed and doing it again.
It’s a very overwhelming feeling.
I also had a camera guy out in front of me telling me to do tricks (or at least that’s what it felt like).
We couldn’t speak, but he was signaling, “touch your face, give me strong man arms, give me thumbs up, etc.”
Before I knew it we were being jerked up by the deployment of the parachute.
From that point I feel like the fun part began.
We were insanely high up and floating; we would have about 10 minutes of this – plenty of time to check out the mountains and lake off to our side.
We hit the ground and gave some high fives; I thanked him for our survival.
I had $400 less to my name, but a bucket list item was complete and I had survived!
1) Skydiving is a great business and a perfect compliment for the adventure capital of the world
2) You will most likely survive.
3) This will be one of those ‘I almost died’ moments that turn into excellent future stories.
4) Feel the fear and do it anyway.
5) Jumpers always pack their back up chutes themselves just to be sure…
6) Fear of heights almost isn’t an issue considering how high you are. You’re not just a thousand feet above ground, but more like 15,000 so your brain almost can’t even register how high you really are. Weird, but true.
proof of survival.
Have you skydived before?
If so, send me a link to your pictures!
Are you interested to do it?
To conquer fear?
To show folks you can survive?
To wet your pants but still be cool while doing it?
Let me know!