March 17, 2013

Same name, different girl

Two days ago I jumped out of a perfectly good plane.  To clarify, I went tandem skydiving at 14,000 feet (Australia's highest jump elevation).
I woke up at four in the morning to get ready and shuffle quickly to the Bond University bus stop for my transport shuttle to Byron Bay (site of the skydive).  The entire ride towards Byron Bay, I could feel my heart rate increasing.  I was excited for sure, but my stomach was completely knotted.  Suiting up for the jump was a little nerve-inducing because all of the certified skydivers were making jokes:
"Does this strap go here?  I wouldn't know, I'm just the bus driver, really."
"Can't wait for my pills to kick in"
"It's my first jump too"
Looking back, I know that these guys were actually just trying to lighten the mood.  But at the time, I kept thinking, "please, PLEASE be joking".  Aussies have this way of telling jokes where they don't crack a smile or give any inclination that a joke has been made.  Sometimes, it's hard to distinguish a joke from a truthful statement.  I was betting my life that these Aussies were in fact, big jokers.  ...I'm glad that I won that bet.  Flying up in the plane was fantastic.  The plane kept climbing in elevation and I could only see clouds and ocean out of the window next to me.  Suddenly the plane door flew open and the guy in front of me dropped out of the plane and out of view.  ...And then I followed.  I tried to scream but all of the wind just dries out your mouth and so I kept my mouth closed.  And I guess because I couldn't scream, I focused on everything else.  I noticed just how beautiful and peaceful everything seems from far away.  I saw cars in the distance meandering down country roads totally unaware that I was watching.  Sun, sky, ocean.  As I came in for my landing I sighed in relief that I had done something that dangerous and survived.  I weirdly also felt invincible and like nothing from that moment on could ever scare or intimidate me.  I really do think that Australia has changed me.  I hardly recognize the girl that I was because the girl I am now is so much more focused, fearless, and alive.  You can call me by the same name, but I swear I'm just slightly a different girl.

Check out my jump!

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