Unfortunately for me, 5 of the most important people in my life live on the other side of the world. My Auntie Mary-Anne, Uncle Shaun and cousins, Lachlan, Larly and Ana live in Grafton in New South Wales and I don’t go a day without wishing I could see them. But them living there does give me and my family the perfect excuse to visit Australia.
My last visit was with my family for 5 weeks throughout December 2010 and January 2011. And whilst I was there I decided to do the highest sky dive in Australia, at 14,000ft landing on the beach.
When my Dad first asked me I didn’t really give the idea much thought and accepted the invitation with alacrity. It wasn’t until the phone had been hung up and the date was confirmed that I realised what I’d just put myself in for.
Straight away I open up my laptop and within seconds of hitting ‘search’ Google tells me that around 35 people a year die of parachute fails in America alone. Suddenly my mind starts wandering…
A few sleepless nights later, I’m there, signing forms to say that I wouldn’t sue the company if I were injured and that nobody in my family could sue them if I died.
When I was up in the plane it was a rollercoaster of emotions. Being a very impatient individual the boredom of waiting around till we were high enough to jump was leering, but was quickly interrupted by frissons of thrill, nerves and straight to the point,“am I going to die?”.
As you can imagine looking out of the window to try and distract my thoughts didn’t help either. About 90% of what I could see was the ocean and when you’re hovering about 3 miles above it, aware that within a few minutes you’re going to be free falling towards it, the beautiful, serene and halcyon era that the ocean usually creates doesn’t seem to be there anymore… all I could see were sharks.
Sitting on the edge of the plane I looked down, swallowed hard and thought to myself ‘It must be alright, thousands of people of done it before’, and then… ‘But this time it’s me- that’s the difference!.’ And I’m out…
Freefalling for 60 seconds, relying on some guy you’ve just met an hour ago to pull the parachute and save your life is unexplainable. But one thing I can tell you is that the 60 seconds I spent freefalling from a plane, over the Australian ocean, with a stomach full of butterflies and the idea that the rest of my family were either watching me from the plane or experiencing it too were the 60 best seconds of my life. And unless I got to do it all over again, strapped to Juan Mata, I don’t think I could ever create a minute of my life to come anywhere near.
No matter how grandiloquent I am with my choice of words, the experience of Skydiving really is inexpressible. I feel like I’m trying to paint you a picture of a rainbow with only black and white paint.
So if you’re reading this whilst sitting on the fence about a decision to sky dive, I dare you, you won’t regret it.