The Jump: Skydiving in Southern California
If you had asked me a few weeks ago what the craziest thing was that I’d done in my life up to that point, I wouldn’t have answered like a bullet out of a gun. Ask me that questions now and the answer will, without a doubt, be: the jump.
But let me start from the beginning.
Somehow, about half a year - or even longer - ago, my dear Aly from the U.S., who I have known for 8 years now, since we met at German class during my high school exchange semester in Central New York (also my very first time in the states and yes I took a German class), decided to go skydiving together.
I’ve had this crazy activity on my list for quite a while and when Aly saw it, well, one thing lead to another and we talked about doing it together once we would see each other in February - hopefully.
A few months and loads of struggles later and here I was: hello San Diego. Oh, wait, Aly’s coming to visit in February. OH MY GAWD! We’re locking this in - and I found myself researching skydiving places, getting sweaty hands and an adrenaline rush just by thinking about standing at the edge of a plane.
Before I knew it, I held the receipt in my hand, February 20th, 10 am, it would be. S’cuse me, but was I mental? Were WE mental? I maybe shouldn’t mention my fear of heights here to not sound insane, but I paid the money, non-refundable, I would be thrown out of that plane - if everything went according to plan.
And then it was the day.
Surprisingly enough, I was comparatively calm the night before (although the whole ‘jumping-out-of-a-plane-shortly’ thingy seemed rather surreal) but then nervousness kicked in that certain morning.
Damn! We were really going to do it, so this should be the craziest thing we’d (hopefully ever) do together. This is how WE celebrate our cross-national friendship.
Lotte and Carsten showed up at my house that morning (Lotte, quite short notice, decided to jump with us as well after we had tried for convince her for quite some time), and we were ready to go.
Carsten - the only male being in the group - decided to keep his feet safely on the ground. ‘I wish I’d been that smart’ - was I beginning to think to myself when we took off around 9 am ish.
It’s a rather weird feeling I had that is difficult to describe. It was something like nervousness mixed with utter excitement of doing something that began to feel more surreal the closer we actually got to Jamul, where we would jump.
The weather could’t have been more perfect - sunny, clear skies, light breeze.
Checked in, a brief instruction of like one minute (yup, there’s not much you have to know), gear on and about 50 minutes later … and we were introduced to our instructors. Aly and I were really lucky with our cool guys and we joked around and felt a little less nervous that way (did we I?).
And then we boarded the plane. It was like being part of a film. Seriously! It was SO not real to me and adrenaline was kicking in so darn hard.
What was I doing? Hell, WHAT was I doing? Crammed into a plane with like 16 other people or so, there was no way back.
I had to jump. I would do it.
10 minutes later, 13,000 feet and suddenly, the door opened. WAAAHHHH!
Sweaty palms, dry mouth. Everyone was starting to move to the edge of the plane. THE EDGE OF THE PLANE!! And then … they were just falling out.
Oh. My. GOD!
Annelie jumped before me. Oh, wait, did I not tell you that my 73-year old landlady, the coolest women there will ever be, completely relaxed decided to join into our jumping adventure? People are astonished, but she jumped like a pro. She’s goals, literally!
Then it was my turn. Mark technically strapped to my back pushed me forward TO THE EDGE – and I was looking down. Of course, I was looking down, because that’s what you do when people tell you NOT to do so especially when you’re afraid of heights. DUH!
My body was in survival mode; for a second I thought I was gonna black out, no kidding, I wasn’t quite me.
‘Ready?’, I heard Mark yelling at me, because it was so loud.
Umm, no idea if I actually said something.
3 … 2 … 1 …. and he dragged me out there, falling sideways.
The free fall, maybe something around 50 seconds, is indescribable. You have to experience it yourself. The feeling you get is beyond what you can actually put in words, what I could possibly describe.
All of a sudden, all the fear was gone. Damn, that made me feel SO alive (sounds cheesy but it’s the truth).
See for yourself:
When Mark opened the parachute, I was able to catch my breath again and actually realize how beautiful everything around us looked. We could see the Mexican mountains. It was such a clear day.
From a little below us, I heard Aly and Connor calling my name.
Crazy to be that high up in the air.
What happened next scared the shit out of me for a few seconds but I believe those guys knew what they were doing. Did I have a choice?
I found myself standing on Aly’s parachute!
Oh, goodness. I didn’t know my body could give me so many adrenaline rushes. (Unfortunately, he didn’t capture this stunt in the video.)
We floated in the air for another 5 or 6 minutes and descended slowly. When my feet touched the ground again, I was shaking. Shaking because this has, by far, been the craziest, probably also most reckless, yet most amazing thing I have done in my life. I know that for some people, this is peanuts but it was a huge deal for me.
And here’s Miss Annelie, all relaxed after her jump.
Would I do it again? YES - and I never thought I would say this.
Here’s to a friendship as awesome as this jump!