Take the Leap

There are days when you need to do something crazy, like jumping off a bridge.

In a completely safe way, of course, attached to a bungee cord.

Up in Amboy, Washington Bungee.com has one of the highest bungee bridges in North America, around 200 feet up. That doesn’t seem so high, even when you are standing and walking around on the top of a concrete bridge. It’s not until you’re all ‘suited up’ and standing on the edge platform that you feel the height.

Luckily, with all the safety checks, I wasn’t really worried about my safety.

Climbing over the railing they wanted to get you out as quickly as possible so you don’t have time to psych yourself out; just a quick “1, 2, 3!” and you’re off. To avoid getting smacked in the face with the chord jumpers have to leap as far away from the bridge as possible, same with the backward fall. With the swan dive forward you have a bit more control (which is good for the first jump), but the backward feels insane. Stomach flies up and the body feels weightless. In just a flash you’re already bouncing up and down, just wishing you could go again.

Flash forward: April 17 2017, (and also strangely a flashback)

The wind in your face, the world getting closer and closer every second, the feeling of weightlessness. What is it exactly that gets us to jump? The 10th Doctor said it best,

‘ The Doctor: There it is again. That itch. “Go down go down go down go down.”

Ida: The urge to jump. Do you know where it comes from, that sensation? Genetic heritage. Ever since we were primates in the tress. It’s our body’s way of testing us. Calculating whether or not we can reach the next branch.

The Doctor: No, that’s not it. That’s too kind. It’s not the urge to jump; it’s deeper than that. It’s the urge to fall! ‘

  • Doctor Who

The Satan Pit (2006)

Adrenaline is a powerful drug, coming from a junky like me the fight or flight response is the most exciting thing. Whether you are jumping out of a plane or off a bridge there isn’t much fighting you can do, so all you have is flight. (See what I did there?)

I haven’t had as much experience jumping off from very high places as I would like, but I’ve been checking off stuff from my list. One, leap out of a plane, that was a tandem jump and only 13,000 ft up over Acampo, California. Two, bungee jump, leapt off the 200 ft high bridge in Amboy, Washington. Not enough, but there is still more time left in life.

I don’t have a fear of heights, which makes it all a lot easier for me to jump off of things. And I don’t really have a fear of dying either, because, what’s the point? If you die, you’re dead so you have nothing to worry about. But that’s not to say I don’t find meaning in life or death, it’s the opposite. Got to live while you can, because #youonlydieonce, so you have got to make life worth it.

From places around the world one can live out their dreams of flight, or “falling with style”. That has to tell us something…

[April 18, 2017]

Tonight (a day after a started writing this blog post) I watched the newest episode of Doctor Who, season 10 episode 1 while conferring with my friend that we would be skydiving over Oceanside, California on April 29th (next weekend). While doing this, I remembered how much I loved the experience, the build up and the fall itself. I’m so beyond excited, words fall too short. I can only partially relay the glee from the first time.

It was the second date (extreme, yes, I know) and it was too crazy, wonderful a proposition not to do it. After hooking me together with a trained pro we went up in the small plane. People kept asking me if I was nervous, or scared, but I wasn’t, at all. I was too happy, too blissful to be scared. I remember filming the takeoff out the window on my phone, wishing that I could be flying the plane on my own. My stomach was fluttering with excitement, like I had just kissed somebody I REALLY liked. The whole time we gained altitude in the plane I just bounced around like a child (no shame btw) smiling the entire time.

When we finally made it to 13,000 ft I was beyond ready. Since I was further back in line I had to wait (lame :P) until most of the others went. But I remember the cameraperson next to me, asking if I was ready. “Hell yes!” I yelled over the airplane engines. My tandem partner (another red haired woman {we match!}) and I waddle to the open door and she says, “On the count of three”. I wish I didn’t have to wait that long, though truthfully, I couldn’t tell the time, I wasn’t paying much attention. I was already in position, back arched, head up, all that jazz, looking at the land and sky below us. That is when it hit me… I’m about to jump out of a plane. There was a split second of fear, that is until we jumped out.

I took the deepest breath I’d ever had in my life and just released every tension in my body. Of course, they wanted me to react for the camera which was shooting a film of me, they told me that my face would look much better smiling, because the wind would ripple my cheeks. But, honestly, I just wanted to relax. I looked all around me, saw how small the world was, saw the curvature of the Earth, saw everything bleed together as a wonderful green planet and just felt pure joy. No sound, no fear, nothing holding me back.

It may not have been THAT long, only a minute or so, but it was an experience I will never, ever truly forget. The freefall, when you don’t even care what happens to you later, you just have unbridled bliss in that moment.

Afterward, you feel the parachute catch in the wind and you remember that you are, in fact, attached to someone else (I just completely trust the “guide” to do everything – I have got to try jumping alone). She asked if I wanted to steer a little, I did, and it was amazing. We went around in a circle and my stomach and heart felt lighter than they had ever been. Curving one way and then the other we made it to the marker. As per instructions I used my ab muscles to pull my legs up and sit on my ass on the landing. With the camera right in front of my face as we landed, it was all I could do not to cry and scream about how amazing, how outstanding, how impossibly incredible it was. How I wished, oh I wished, I could do it again. It was like a rollercoaster, but 10 fold, I never wanted to leave that jump site.

But, now, I get to do it again!! The hardest part is going to be waiting until next weekend. I will though, I’ll wait and picture that landscape in my head every second until I leap. Nothing will stop me!

LINKS:

http://travel.cnn.com/explorations/life/worlds-15-highest-bungee-jumping-sites-479316/

http://www.exploretheusa.com/17_Highest_Bungee_Jumps_in_the_United_States

http://www.bungee.com/bzapp/bungee_masters/bridge.html

http://skydivelodiparachutecenter.com/

Where I’m going skydiving next weekend: www.gojump-oceanside.com/

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