Thursday, August 11, 2011

taking the leap.

Last weekend, I jumped out of a plane. I strapped myself to a 200 pound man, flew up to 14,500 feet above southeastern Wisconsin, and flung myself out of an airplane.

And it was pretty much the coolest thing I've ever done.

My sister Melissa decided she wanted to start crossing things off her bucket list, and she wanted me to help, so she went ahead and booked us two skydive spots at a place just south of Milwaukee. She called me (after she bought them) to tell me I had until October to get myself to Milwaukee so we could be adventurous together. After some hemming and hawing, I decided it was now or never and I bought a ticket to Wisconsin. Also it was the first weekend of the Wisconsin State Fair and you know how I feel about the Fair. R couldn't come because he has a real job that he can't just bail on at the first sign of adventure and cheese curds. Score one for non-profit!

So, I hopped on a plane (I didn't jump out of that one) and surprised my parents, who didn't know I was coming and we headed straight for the Fair. Then we told them we were going skydiving the next day and my mom nearly choked on her cream puff. Dad just wondered why we didn't get him a ticket.

The next day, bright and early, we were on our way to take the leap. It didn't quite hit us until we were suiting up what were about to do. We met our instructors, geared up, and all of a sudden, we were getting ready to get on the plane. No time to be nervous.

Thee coolest thing is that you had the option to have a photographer go up with you and jump with you. Both Melissa and I took that option and we have great photos and video of the whole experience. Of course, Dad stayed on the ground and took pictures from that vantage point as well.

This was around 7,000 feet and we were really nervous now. My instructor kept teasing me and pretending to be scared of high how we were. Not so funny when my whole body was shaking and the only way out of that plane was strapped to him. Everything goes really quick once you get up there. They pop open the door, tell you to put your goggles on, and pretty much shove you out.

What you can't see in this picture is the door wide open, two jumpers already out, and he is scooting me (fast!) towards the door.

Melissa jumped out right before me, so my photographer got a cool shot of her right after she was out. Look how high we are! That's I-94 right under us. Then my photographer crawled outside the plane, we scooted up to the door, and I had about 2.5 seconds to decide if I really wanted to do this or not.

Here I am thinking long and hard about whether or not I want to hurl myself at the ground going 120 mph.

I decided to go for it.

I'm pretty glad I did, because there is no feeling quite like free falling. It was terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time. My brain needed a few seconds to catch up with my body, but once it did, I couldn't stop smiling and screaming a the top of my lungs. The free fall only lasted 40 way too short seconds, but it was unbelievable. Then the instructor opened the parachute, I had a minute to catch my breath and take in the view, and before I knew it we were landing.

We couldn't stop talking about how much fun we had all weekend. As soon as I got back to Virginia, I told R he better get ready because I'm definitely going again and he is coming with me. If you have ever toyed with the idea of skydiving, I highly recommend you do it immediately.


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