Today, Yvonne and I had to part ways. She is heading elsewhere, and I have to get back on the Stray bus. Not exactly excited about the prospect, but I already paid for it.
Plus, as I mentioned yesterday, I wasn’t quite feeling the skydive either.
However, the first thing the driver asked me was if I would be doing the skydive when we got to Taupo. She had to book it in advance, and needed to know the number of people who would be jumping.
I told her I was still thinking about it.
Once on the bus, I started talking to Laura, who was planning to do the skydive despite her twin fears of heights and falling.
I felt myself getting more interested in the idea. But, just as before the SkyJump, warring thoughts started playing in my head.
It would be amazing. This is the place to do it. If you don’t, you’re going to leave New Zealand and regret that you didn’t do it. You’ve met so many people who did it and loved it. Why not?
But what if the harness somehow becomes detached? What if the parachute doesn’t open? What if it gets tangled? What if none of that happens, but then I break a leg when I land? My travel insurance doesn’t cover tandem skydiving. You could be the one person that dies.
These people know what they are doing! They jump 10 times a day. Plus, skydiving is probably safer than riding in a car and I do that pretty often. I’m pretty sure I’d be ok.
But there’s always a risk. There’s the possibility.. Do you really want to take the chance?
According to the backpacker card I had bought back in Auckland, I was entitled to a discount if I booked the skydive by myself. So, before making any decisions, I decided to call to check if I would get the discount.
As if spending NZ $50 less would make a difference to my fears!
Nevertheless, and just as before, I heard myself booking the skydive without making any conscious decision. It was only when I hung up the phone that I realized what I had done.
I told Laura in wonder, “I guess I’m skydiving!”
And it was the best thing EVER.
The whole time slipping into the jumpsuit and the harness, getting into the hot pick plane, going up into the sky,… I was on autopilot. My body was going through the motions, but I wasn’t thinking.
I couldn’t think at all. If I did, all that would come to mind was how insane what I was about to do was. So I decided to focus on the immediate present.
And then the instructor, Logan, hooked me up to his harness and scooted towards the plane’s door.
I could feel my heart in my chest pumping, and I could no longer ignore how scared I was.
I kept toying with the idea of chickening out. I knew that the Kiwis would tease me relentlessly, but I could live with that.
What I couldn’t live with was knowing I was right there and didn’t go through with it.
The door opened, and Logan was sitting at the edge of the plane. I was hanging from the harness.
And then… He jumped, and I went down with him.
The first few seconds, I don’t think my brain understood what was going on. Being 15,000 up in the air and falling is so unnatural to human beings that the brain can’t comprehend it. It felt like I was hovering in the air for a bit, somewhat like Coyote does when he runs off a cliff.
And then I started feeling like I was falling.
I felt the cold and the wind as I rushed down towards the ground.
At that point, something clicks. There’s nothing you can do about what’s about to happen. You give your control up. Whatever happens is out of your hands. You might as well relax and enjoy the ride.
And that’s why skydiving is so amazing. Letting go of all control and trusting the process brings a tremendous amount of freedom.