We Did Not Die: Skydiving in New Zealand
Upon arrival at the NZone airfield...word was out that a 6 year old would be jumping that morning. After we made it into our flight suits, instructors were coming over in groups to high-five the beaming mini-jumper. She was smiling ear-to-ear and completely gung-ho. Quinley was as cool as a cucumber as we rapidly ascended to 11,000 feet. It was at that point she simply asked 'can we get ice cream when this is all over with?' Everyone laughed!
She never flinched ONE SINGLE BIT! She was a beast. Her jump instructor was a gentle giant from Serbia, Sasa (pronounced Sasha). He has logged over 40,000 jumps. You read that right -- 40,000. He is actually from the city in Serbia that we plan to visit friends in late spring, early summer. What an incredibly small world -- what are the chances? He's offered to show us his country when we visit. The blessings of travel.
As we headed back in to change there were distinct rumbles throughout the next group awaiting to jump. Turns out the six year old had been just the kick in the pants they needed to swallow their nerves.
I arrived at the NZone airfield this morning. I was quite excited to jump, but at the same time a bit nervous. We had to wait for thirty minutes for the airplane. While waiting, I changed into my jumpsuit and got geared up to jump.
I was first onto the airplane and I was supposed to be the last out but my Dad wanted to see us all go out. We flew for 15 minutes in order to reach the drop zone. My family members emptied one by one into the thinner air 13,000 feet above ground. I went out the door second to last right before my Dad.
My instructor, Nick, and I flipped once or twice before free falling at terminal velocity. If I had one word to describe the experience it would be intense. We pulled the chute after 45 seconds of free fall. I soared safely back to earth for 6 minutes, where I rejoined with the family.
Not long ago I put skydiving on my bucket list and I finally got the chance to check it off.
When we got into to the skydive booking place I was fine, then we started talking serious. Like really falling out of a plane 12,000 feet up (turned out being 13,000 feet).
I was thinking "no." I prayed that fear would dissolve. That morning when we were watching skydiving videos I started to get excited. When we got to the drop-off zone I was even more excited, by the time we were getting suited up I was ready to jump out of my seat... or a plane. As we went up I was not scared. When they opened the door to jump my expression said it all.
Skydiving was one of the BEST experiences of my life.
Embrace your fear, but you don't always have to embrace it alone.
Whenever we signed up for the jump I was ten times more excited than scared, but as time progressed a little bit of fear crept in. I quickly got rid of it by simply thinking about how amazing it would be and how pointless being scared would be.
I wanted to be first out of the plane the whole time and so did Hayes. To solve the problem, we played a little game a rock-paper-scissors to see who got to go first. I easily won. Then we were informed that you don't get to choose the order in which you jump and it's all dependent on weight. So you could say I was pretty disappointed. A couple days after being informed of that we were headed to the airfield to get ready to jump.
We got suited up and there were waves of nervousness throughout this whole process but like before, they quickly passed. We all got interviewed pre-jump and as you'll see in my video, I was extremely confident and excited for the jump. On the walk to the plane my tandem jump-master said, "Looks like we'll be going first... Are you ok with that?" I quickly responded, "Yes! I've definitely been wanting to go first, yes!" I was so excited.
The way up went by so slowly, then they opened the door to jump. At 13,000 feet, I was in a cold sweat when I looked down at what was beneath me. Then with no warning we rolled off and I can easily say that was the most adrenaline filled, exciting, and literally breath-taking 50 seconds of my whole entire life. You go through the air so fast and the free fall is over before you know it.
The views were indescribable as well.
I loved it! I'd do it a million more times if I could. No regrets.
What an incredible morning it was. I was so proud of every, single one of our kids.
Quinley was so impressive -- didn't skip a beat. I was able to experience Hayes' journey a bit more since he and I were seated together on the plane -- a memory I'll have for a lifetime. Isabella was nervous, excited, an emotional see-saw -- I was so proud of her for embracing her fear. Kole seemed cool, calm, and collected but his comments above gave me a bit more insight.
Surprisingly, I had zero trepidation or fear. My instructor, Kale, is a native Kiwi. He reassured me multiple times and relaxingly pointed out points of interests and mountain ranges. He made my experience a perfect one. The multiple flips out of the airplane were amazing.
I've never had so much fun in my life. I see why my Dad loved skydiving so much. If I had to choose between skydiving again or LSU beating Bama -- give me the skydive -- that's how much I loved it. The 45-50 second free fall felt like 5-10 seconds; I could not believe that it was over. Getting to pilot the parachute a bit was a lot of fun as well.
I see multiple jumps in my future.
Skydiving was on the top of our New Zealand list and we could not have asked for a better day or more spectacular view. I certainly understand how The Remarkables got the name. Some people would describe the surroundings as breathtaking. Sitting on the plane's edge now THAT was breathtaking.
As a mom, I would say watching 3 of my children tip over the plane's threshold took a lot of courage; Hayes jumped after me. I am so incredibly proud of each of my kids. They are learning to conquer fears at a young age. New experiences, unknown outcomes, changing perspectives, they are gung-ho all the way!