Skydive At 20,000 feet
Oddly, not that scary. It was one of the calmest moments of my life – the one where my friend Lily and I walked into the Wanaka Tourism Centre in New Zealand and asked when the next best time to skydive was and they said ‘this afternoon’. It was April Fools Day, 2011, obviously, and one of the most beautiful, sunny days I have ever seen. The lady behind the desk said “You won’t get another day as perfect as this one and I have a slot open in an hour and a half..fancy it?” Sure! Why the hell not!
We flew up to 20,000 feet and watch the altitude-ticker-thingy tick its way up: 17,550…18,000…18,222…19,990…and we were ready! 20,000 feet and one by one the five or so of us that were in the tiny little plane leapt to our (hopefully not) deaths. I was the last one to jump out of the plane door with my trained skydiver and I kept waiting for that moment of absolute panic and fear to wash over me but it never came. I was absolutely fearless. It was almost as if I had resigned myself to the fact that if this was going to go wrong, there wasn’t really a lot I could do about it.
The jump itself was surreal…I didn’t feel like I was falling through the air at 60mph or whatever crazy speed it was, but that’s probably because I was so focussed on the extreme pain of my ears which, in all honesty, felt like they were bleeding. The pressure was so intense at that height that my ears were hurting a lot. I don’t think everyone experiences that, but I certainly did. I couldn’t wait for the ‘free fall’ bit to be over and the ‘paragliding’ part of the skydive to begin – the part when the parachute opens. That was one of the best experiences of my life – I really got to see the amazing scenery from above and it felt like I was floating. I loved it.