Checking off my Bucket List: Skydiving by Myself
Skydiving has long been on my bucket list. Being a huge lover of extreme sports the second the opportunity presented itself I knew I was on board. This is the story of how I went solo skydiving for the first time!
During my time living in Poitiers, France one of my friends decided to organize a weekend at Le Blanc Parachutisme, a private skydiving club in France. You can check it out here for more information. Our weekend started out with a 2-hour drive to Le Blanc then followed with a half day in a class course on safety, how to use the altimeter, what to expect, and how to jump on your own. It in the afternoon it was out to the plane for the hands-on training. We were full of laughter as we all struggled to get into the correct positioning and stumbled out of the plane- maybe we should have taken it a little more seriously because not an hour later we were ready to jump.
I don’t think I have ever been more nervous after we got on that plane and it proceeded to take off. I repeated “Oh My God! Oh My God!” over and over again as the gravity of what I was about to do set in. I was positioned to jump 4th of our group, all 10 of us jam packed in the small plane. As soon as I knew it, the door was open and it was the first guys chance to jump- probably the most nervous to jump a very athletic 6ft 2in man, JUST within the weight allowance. The door opens our instructor counts down and he freezes- the instructor counts down again and he doesn’t budge -saying he can’t do this. The instructor starts to say something and bam – PUSHES HIM OUT OF THE PLANE! Just like that, he is gone, out of sight. I let out a scream, not sure of his fate, the instructor calls the next person who gets into position and jumps without hesitation knowing what is to come if he stutters. I think a terrifying part of this whole endeavor is your friends just disappearing and you knowing nothing about if they were able to open their parachutes or not.
As soon as I could catch my breath it was my time to jump, 3, 2, 1 and I pushed myself out of the plane. I went blank. I remember nothing until my parachute was open and I was soaring like a bird admiring the beautiful countryside. The feeling of being up there by yourself with your thoughts and nothing but the beauty of the world is like nothing else I have ever experienced. Because of these moments, I understand why people are addicted to this sport.
As soon as I knew it I was about ready to land, everything they had taught us that morning was going through my head- don’t pull up until you are 5ft from the ground. Let me tell you the ground comes up awfully fast- too fast, I panicked and pulled up about 20ft from the ground whoops I guess I am in for a hard landing. Boom, I wiped out hard. I MADE IT! I don’t think I have ever had such a big smile on my face. That was it- I was addicted.
After the long walk through the field back to the base began the incredibly time-consuming job of folding my parachute back up, I believe the first time took me a solid 3 hours for some others it took 5 hours. The man is it hard to fold those things back up again, so many hours of work for a few seconds of glory- but it is totally worth it! When I thoughts I had it all packed up, I went to our instructor for a check – he looks a bit, pokes around then proceeds to tell me “well at least I don’t have to jump with it” and walks away not willing to elaborate… wait, WHAT?!?! Not knowing 100 % if he was serious or not I contemplated my fate for the remainder of the night.
The next day I woke up early to do my next 3 jumps, each more exhilarating than the next. For anyone thinking about giving skydiving a shot I would highly recommend it but maybe give it a go tandem before you decide to jump yourself?
Is skydiving on your bucket list? Would you ever give it a try? Let me know in the comments below.