When I first got into skydiving, I was at a crossroads in my life. In my mid-30s, I had plenty of money. My job in recruitment had put me in a stable financial position however, due to the large amount of hours that I worked, I was single and without a family. Now many people would argue that I had all the time in the world, that my money and job made me desirable – and that I was easy on the eyes. I wouldn’t feign to disagree with these people, but it wasn’t a partner and family that I was seeking in my thirties. No, after nearly 15 years of office work and board room meetings, I needed adrenaline.
Now, I had tried a lot of the typical extreme sports already. In fact, in the years before my first dive, I had experimented with surfing, rock climbing and had a brief love affair with very fast cars. Although these proved to be worthy distractions to my ennui, there was an itch that had not been fully scratched. Nothing felt visceral enough, there were either too many safety precautions in place or the danger just didn’t feel real enough.
My first sky dive was a gift to me from my sister. She’d watched haplessly as the Porsches came and went and as my garage filled up and emptied of an assortment of ropes, hooks and pulleys. I’d dismissed skydiving up to this point as a novelty, an expensive time-consuming hobby with a fleeting high. How wrong I was. The training and induction took an entire day, although I found it tedious for the first hour, every minute leading up to the jump my excitement began to mount. As individuals were led away, one by one, to the planes that were taking off and landing all day, I felt something that I was not accustomed to – fear.
I had driven cars at hundreds of miles per hour, I’d been paddle-board shark fishing in the Pacific but somehow I found myself scared at a simple jump. A jump that I had seen pensioners performing just earlier. The fear that built was an innate one and it only grew as the day wore and my time finally came to take the plunge. I had taken many flights before, but not in a plane so small. As we took off, a wild eyed kind of panic took hold of me. My eyes must have betrayed my emotions as the instructors on board asked me if I was alright. I nodded my affirmation and took the plunge, and what followed was one minute of sheer unadulterated adrenaline.
A sky dive is ‘one of those’ experiences. Something that can be described and elucidated, but never fully communicated. Even if you don’t have the same need for speed that I have, I can guarantee you that your first sky dive (even if its your last one) will be an experience that you will never forget.