posted by Maya
I have never been exceptionally brave. Sure, I have adventurous moments, but I am generally a pretty timid person. I am terrified of needles and I hate rodents, etc. So, if someone had told me a week ago that I was going to go skydiving and bungee jumping, I wouldn’t have believed them. I really didn’t have any interest in either of these things before we got to Wanaka, New Zealand. But when we got to the travel office, and Alana the Travel Agent mentioned skydiving, something clicked in my brain. It was like my Evil Knevel gene that had been dormant all of these years suddenly activated. I knew that this was something I had to do.
By the time we got to the airport the next morning, I was freaking out. I suppose that it hadn’t really registered with me that I would be JUMPING OUT OF A PLANE until we actually paid and got into our jumpsuits. I almost chickened out after watching the safety briefing video, but before I knew it, we were getting in the plane and the only way out was down.
Now, I don’t want you to think that my parents would let me skydive on my own. It was tandem skydiving, which means that I was attached to a professional instructor who pulls the parachute string. My instructor was a nice Hungarian man who didn’t give me a second to think before jumping. All the sudden, the two pairs of jumpers sitting in front of me had leaped out, and it was my turn. I was positively terrified. I did NOT want to do this anymore. But my instructor got ready to go, and since I was attached to him, I didn’t have much of a choice. And then we were falling.
Those 45 seconds of free falling were both the longest and shortest of my life. I was screaming, shouting, shrieking. “OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD!” My throat went dry and the wind was coming at me so fast and I was sure that I would never reach the ground. I loved it! Then, the instructor pulled the string and the parachute sprang into action.
“Are you okay?” He asked me over and over. I kept replying “Yes! Of course!” The amazing thing was, that I really was okay. Better than okay! In fact, I had never felt better in my entire 13 years! I was giggling and having a great time.
We landed safely on the airport lawn. My face hurt from smiling for so long. I couldn’t believe that I had actually done it! After seeing how much my dad (who had also gone Skydiving) and I loved it, my mom decided to go too. She also enjoyed it, but she said after that once was plenty. She doesn’t share my new dream of being professional skydiver one day.
We decided that one major adventure was enough for one day, but of course, that didn’t stop us from going bungy jumping the next! The bungy was an AJ Hackett bungy rig, invented by none other than kiwi AJ Hackett, the bungy pioneer. It was set up on a high bridge over a flowing river. Only my dad and I went bungee jumping, although Eva and Rikki both wanted to. (They did the bungy trampoline instead.)
My dad jumped first. After watching him jump, I had many of the same feelings I had before Skydiving. But this time, I knew I could do it. Extreme sports will change you like that. The boys up on the bridge tied my feet in a towel and connected my harness to a bungy cord. In no time, it was my turn. I waddled up to the edge of the platform and turned to the camera. In the pictures, you can see the terror in my eyes. The bungy guy said, “ONE! TWO! THREE! BUNGY!” Without a moment of hesitation, I was jumping.
- I don’t remember much about free falling, but I do remember loving it. It was over very quickly, though, and I felt the bungy cord jerk me upside down. I bobbed and dangled for a while before two guys in a raft came to pull me down. I think my smile was even bigger than the grin I had after skydiving, if it’s possible.
After giving it some thought, I decided that bungy jumping was scarier than skydiving. When I went skydiving, an instructor forced me to jump. I never had to make that decision. But with bungy jumping, you have to decide on your own to jump. You have to push every fear and second thought to the side and choose to fall. In reality, bungy jumping is very safe, but you have to make the decision to jump on your own. With skydiving, there is plenty of room for error, but once I decided to trust my instructor, I never had to think. Bungy jumping taught me that I could summon the courage- or stupidity!- to do whatever I want to. And …IT WAS AWESOME!