This week I finally achieved my lifelong goal of going skydiving, and it was everything I could’ve hoped for and more. I was so excited, that as soon as I scheduled it I started telling my friends and family what I was going to do, but I was actually kind of surprised by the responses I got. I’ve known that I wanted to skydive for as long as I can remember, probably since I first heard about it as a child. There was never a question in my mind that it was the epitome of adventure and I HAD to try it. So I was pretty stunned when I told all the other adventurous people in my life what I was planning and they told me they weren’t sure if they could ever do it. I expected instant jealousy from almost everyone I know, (and was looking forward to reveling in it) but as it turns out a lot of people are still on the fence about taking the big leap. However, no one I talked to could tell me exactly what was holding them back…they just weren’t convinced about going. So, if you’re considering skydiving, but need a little nudge over the edge, let me assuage your doubts with all the reasons you SHOULD ABSOLUTELY, DEFINITELY, WITHOUT A DOUBT, JUMP OUT OF A PLANE ASAP.
- The adrenaline high. The rush you feel when you’re free falling through the air is unlike anything else in the world. I am an adrenaline junkie, and constantly looking for new highs, but nothing I’ve ever experienced even remotely prepared me for how I felt for those 60(ish) seconds that I was ACTUALLY flying. In videos it always looks like people are falling kind of slowly… as if the air pressure sort of keeps them hovering, but it’s not like that at all. The only thing moving faster than you through the air is the adrenaline flooding your system. The rush is so intense that it makes it impossible to think about your fear, which is probably why people are usually smiling in their free fall pictures. I was actually giggling the whole time. There’s really not a perfect way to describe it, but the words incredible, mind blowing, extraordinary, and LIFE CHANGING all came to mind immediately afterward.
- Skydiving will help you overcome future fears. Think about it, if you can skydive, you can do anything. At least that’s how I felt two days later when I did my introductory scuba dive and almost started to panic. I reminded myself that it had only been 48 hours since I jumped out of a plane, and if I could keep my chill for that I could keep it together a few meters underwater. It actually helped a lot, and I stayed a lot calmer than some of the other people on my trip. It’s also a major self confidence boost to know that you were willing to try something that a lot of people won’t do. The bragging rights aren’t a bad bonus either 😉
- The views…obviously. There’s a huge difference between looking out the window of an airplane and falling through the open air from 15,000 feet. Trust me when I say, Aladdin didn’t fly Jasmine around on a magic carpet for nothing. The world looks totally different from above. Remember that part where they flew through clouds? I did that! I got to float through a real cloud, and it was amazing. Why deny yourself the chance to experience a real bird’s eye view instead of just on Google Earth when you’re stalking your crush’s house? Oh that’s just me? Cool.
- It’s EASY! I thought there’d be a long prep session before we could get in the plane, but on your first jump you hardly have to do anything at all. Tandem means that you are strapped to an instructor, so they do all the hard work. They only things you’re responsible for are arching your body during the free fall, and pulling your legs up for the landing. The instructor will slid you up to the edge of the plane, do the count down, and push you out when it’s time, so you don’t even have to make yourself jump!
- You won’t have time to chicken out. I didn’t know this until my dive, (and maybe it only applies with an excellent company) but great tandem instructors won’t give you time to panic or change your mind. The crew at Skydive Australia was professional and extremely efficient every step of the way. Only two hours passed between the time I arrived at the office and the time we got back to the office after our jump, and it was only because they kept the ball rolling every step of the way. The whole process of gearing up, watching the short instructional video, getting to the plane and getting to altitude couldn’t have taken more than an hour, and there was never a moment where we had time or reason to doubt our choice to be there. I was afraid there’d be a moment before we jumped where they’d ask if we were sure we wanted to, but that didn’t happen. We reached altitude, and everyone was out of the plane in less than 90 seconds…so if you’re afraid you’ll freak out at the last second, don’t be. They won’t let you!
- Stress relief. The pure exhilaration and bliss you’ll get from free falling, and then gliding with your parachute to the ground will take your mind off everything negative that is occupying it. I am over-thinker. More than that, I am a MASTER over-thinker. I over-think everything to professional standards like it’s my full time job and pays my bills. I RARELY get a free moment where I’m not worrying about something in my life, and one of the hardest things for me to do is clear my mind. Yoga doesn’t cut it, I’ve never been able to meditate, I even DREAM about my problems! But for those few minutes, I was completely free. I had no worries, no doubts, no fears, I was just peacefully, blissfully, effortlessly happy. That in itself was worth the money for me.
- The pictures. This one is kind of a double edged sword. On one hand, the pictures are an amazing memento to have of your experience. On the other, it’s physically impossible to look cute when you’re falling at up to 120mph. But on the bright side, you’ll be a lot less critical of your selfies after you see your free fall photos!
Now that you’re completely convinced to add skydiving to your bucket list, don’t hesitate, just book it! I did my first jump over Cairns with Skydive Australia, and I’d recommend them to ANYONE. The crew for my skydive was great! You could immediately tell how much they love their jobs, and they really went above and beyond to make sure that we all had a great time. They asked us questions, made jokes, and took photos and video the whole time. In hindsight I realize they weren’t just hyping us up to make a great video, but because they wanted us all to feel comfortable and relaxed. It was a no stress environment and I think that really contributed to my overall experience. If they had scared us before hand with all of the what ifs and maybes, I would’ve gone into my jump anxious instead of open minded, but instead they talked about what a beautiful day it was and I could tell they genuinely wanted us to love every minute of the experience. What more could you really ask for from the person pushing you out of a plane? I mean that, and they all remembered to pull the parachute cord, so that was cool.
I couldn’t be happier with my experience, and I can’t wait to do it again…and again…and again. If you’re in Oz and won’t make it to Cairns, don’t worry! They have offices all over the country, and they even offer beach landings and certification courses if you want to take your love for the sport further. Who knows, maybe I’ll give up the travel writing life to be a sky dive instructor…