“Oh, but my darling what if you fly?”
I FELL OUT OF AN AEROPLANE AND IT WAS AWESOME!
What made me want to fall out of a plane, I hear you ask? For one thing it has always been on my Australia bucket list, but there’s a bit more to it than that. Why now? Well, after being very settled for the past few months it was somewhat surreal to find myself back in Backpacker Land once again upon my arrival in Cairns. I couldn’t quite place my finger on what it was that felt odd, as it was so far from how I had felt when I initially became a backpacker almost eight months ago. Back then I felt awkward, out of place and like I didn’t belong in hostels with those who had so much more experience than I. Now it was different – I was immediately comfortable slipping back into travelling ways as I’m one of those who’s been here for almost two thirds of a year, and therefore I’m one of those that people who are just embarking upon their working holiday aspire to be.
However I’m also one of those that a week or so ago was very comfortable working as an au pair, but just with very itchy feet doing nothing ‘backpacker-esque’. I decided to break that mould (and to help me sort out my next plan of action) by jumping out of a plane at 14,000 feet!
And it worked!
My day began with a 6am alarm. If truth be told I didn’t sleep all that much – less because of nerves and more because I was terrified of 1) sleeping through my alarm and was therefore on edge all night, and 2) letting my alarm go on for too long and waking up the other six people in my room! I ignored my usual morning routine and skipped breakfast just in case of any last minute nerves and, knowing full well that my short hair would go crazy no matter what I attempted to do with it, I didn’t bother too much with hair and make up either! Instead I made my way to the specified pick up point where I was met by the Skydive Cairns bus and taken to their base.
It was here I met the others I would be skydiving with and after we’d all been weighed, signed our lives away on an insurance document and watched a video on how to skydive we were then introduced to The Boys. The Boys were the professionals, who have done this thousands of times and so therefore it’s perfectly logical to quite literally put your life into their hands for the next hour! My ‘Boy’ was Rocket, he’s been skydiving for 27 years and he was the safety guy which meant we would be last out the plane!
Before I knew it I was all harnessed up and squashed into the plane with everyone else and 3,000 feet in the sky. It was barely half an hour since I’d been picked up! It was here I realised just quite how high my chosen 14,000 feet jump was – the ground already seemed a bloody long way away! The views from the plane were stunning – luscious green rain forests next to the deep blues of the Great Barrier Reef, and the clearest skies I’ve ever seen. After 20 minutes the door opened and all of a sudden the people in front of me began to disappear!
After seven screams and whoops before me I then found myself with my feet dangling out the plane, my arms crossed over my chest, my head leant back and my life genuinely in the hands of this guy I’d met within the hour. And then we were falling! And it was the most surreal experience. It took my brain a good five seconds to catch up with my body and to realise I really was falling at quite a speed towards the earth. After three taps on my right arm from Rocket I released my arms from their strict positioning across my chest and into the standard ‘skydive pose’. It was then that my brain caught up and was able to take in everything around me – the stunning views, my crazy hair, my cheeks flapping in the wind and just how serene the whole experience was turning out to be.
A minute of free fall passed slower than I ever thought it would, but once it was up Rocket pulled our parachute (which all went according to plan, though by this point I had completely forgotten that this is the bit people worry about not happening!) and steered us this way and that to enjoy the scenery that Skydive Cairns boasts.
Then it was time for legs up as we came in to land. We skidded to a halt in some field or other leaving me with a very wet bum and the biggest buzz for the rest of the day. If you ask me, every day should start with a skydive as I then spent my day being so much more productive than I had been in ages, and all with the biggest smile on my face too!