March 5, 2016, I somersaulted out of a plane and floated down to earth as a weightless vessel. My life has now begun.
Let’s travel back to late December 2015, shall we. Groupon had its hold on me as I scrolled through the deals of the week. Tandem skydiving on sale? It can’t be! Has my cry for an adventurous 2016 been answered? Could I convince others to join me in this life rattling jump into the new year? I wasted no time and glued my thumbs to a group text.
One long and hopefully inspirational text later………….I had eight other “insane” minds excited to jump out of a plane with me! Unsure of which part of the text subliminally convinced these eight friends to join me in my adventure, I pressed on to ensure everyone had the Groupon link necessary for the discounted purchase. This was it. I was finally going to skydive, and not even with one or even two friends, but eight! Together we would ascend into the sky via mini plane and jump one by one back down to solid ground from 10,000 feet. What a brilliant adventure! We would descend from the sky and experience a glimpse of Mother Nature’s beauty through a panoramic view. This would be priceless.
As the last days of December approached, the nine of us decided to wait until at least February to plan this epic adventure due to conflicting schedules as well as weather and the desire for warmer temperatures. January came and went and February was upon us. Together we settled on March 5th, 2016. The wonderful ladies at Skydive San Diego were kind and patient while answering all my questions and definitely got to know my voice over the next month. After booking the jump we all seemed to forget about the adventure on the horizon. Weeks went by until it hit us that our planned jump from a plane was approximately two weeks away! This was it and there was no turning back! Days passed until we were a week away. Now some nerves began to surface. What were we doing? Well, it’s too late now! Go big or go home! Let’s do this! All nine of us rallied through text the night before taking turns calling out the insanity of our decision.
Fast forward to Saturday morning. Rise and shine at 6am. Consume just the right amount of fiber and fullness with a good old fashioned bowl of oatmeal. Sip a minute portion of coffee to get the gears running. Prep the house for departure! We are ready! The group splits into separate cars and we meet at the dirt parking lot of Skydive San Diego. Nerves are taking over some of our bodies as others are consumed by the rush of what is yet to come. Are we ready? Did we forget anything? The office is open, let’s go! Everyone gathers inside to complete the electronic waivers that sign away any possibility of suing Skydive San Diego. Completely understandable. As EVERYONE has been telling us since sharing the news, “we are going to jump out of a completely good plane!” Together, we have all come to terms with our decision and can’t wait to begin!
“All tandem jumpers, please meet in the yellow square and wait for your training.” Who was that? Are we going to the plane yet? Oh THIS yellow square. The excitement and energy of the grounds had me confused and too eager at the same time. Ok, we are in the yellow square! Now what! We are joined by other skydiving virgins and together spread support and stories of how we chose this path around the square. A couple of our moms made sure to arrive just in time to document the day paparazzi style. “Tandem jumpers over here please.” We all drift towards the training instructor and learn about “Banana Style.” “If you remember anything from this, let it be ‘Banana Style’ (if you must know what this means, then you’ll have to skydive for yourself muhahaha)!” And, that was it. Training complete. Next we were harnessed in groups of four and five and introduced to our jumping buddies (instructors). Brandon, Brian, Connor, Dustin, Harris, J.T., Larry, Mark and Woody would soon be strapped to each of us and guide us through the open sky!
Due to the wind conditions we were separated into two jumping groups. As the first half of the group was called and escorted towards the plane, the rest of us anxiously occupied the spectator area as we waited to see our friends fall from the sky.
Unaware of the time it took for them to ascend, our dear friends began to materialize in thin air. “That’s them!” “Are you sure?” “Yes it has to be. Oh man, it is!” Our friends came floating through the sky swaying left and right as their instructors steered the parachutes to safety. One by one they brought their legs together and stuck them straight out in front to prepare for a butt slide landing.
Success! A safe landing to be had by all! The looks on their faces expressed complete happiness and adrenaline. What a magical experience to share with awesome friends! Shouts of praise and bear hugs spread like wildfire as we congratulated the brave souls of our first group! They did it!
I am airborne! We are all airborne! What a feeling! I am falling through the sky as I hold my chest straps tight. I receive the tap on my arms from my instructor, Larry, and that is the signal to spread my arms out like wings and feel the wind guide us! “Wow!” No other words come to mind as I soar through the sky. My eyes are protected by my tight goggles, but they still find a way to slightly water from the cool air. I am skydiving! I am free falling! What is life other than this moment right now?! “Enjoy the view! There’s Mexico down there, and that’s the office and landing area there,” says Larry as he releases the parachute. “Isn’t it awesome/beautiful/amazing,” he shares. I am in awe of Mother Nature and the freedom of the sky. My extended arms feel the cool hard wind as if I were sticking them out a car window at night while driving at an accelerated speed. Larry begins to steer the parachute with the handles and we descend lower.
I am beginning to see my fellow jumpers in the air below me. Taking turns they all slide into the ground on their butts for a smooth landing.
I’m whoohooing at the top of my lungs to anyone who will listen, and waiving frantically with thumbs up to the moms and friends down below. We prepare to slide in. I kick my legs straight out in front of me and brace myself for the sliding.
We have landed! I did it! We all did it! I meet my crew on the grassy field and high five everyone in sight. The skydiving virginity has been taken and now we are all hooked!
Popping our ears and making a second round of bear hugs and praise, we pose for an eternity more of pictures and remove our harnesses. Together we are all on the same high of adrenaline and can’t believe what just happened. We jumped out of a plane!
After thanking our instructors and the Skydive team, we all head to the parking lot for yet another group picture.
We pose with our Skydive San Diego certificates and say our goodbyes. It’s about 11am as we all go our separate ways to carry on with our weekend and process the life event that just took place. I cannot wait to plan the next adventure! My mind is now consumed by Groupon and the need for food. We shall see where the next chapter of adventure takes us!
***Where will your MOXIE take you?***