I’m flying in the air!

Everyone has a bucket list we hope to tick off one day. The things on that list can vary in degree of intensity — from humble, simple ones to the wildly ambitious.
For my personal list, one on it is to go skydiving. And I am sure that I am not the only one to have it on my list. Thanks to a little treat, I was lucky enough to tick that box off recently, and also walk away to tell the tale.
It’s an insane thought to jump off a plane. For my part, I truly didn’t know what to expect other than I’d be freefalling for about 50 seconds from 13,000ft at a speed of up to 120mph.
The atmosphere at the jump site was great and the weather was good on the day I was to make my jump. There was a big crowd of jumpers and supporters, families and even dogs at the site. Music was also playing and hanging in the air are the smell of some tasty food coming from the kitchen. Everywhere you look, there’s a flurry of activities and some of the faces you’ll see are the faces of people returning from their jumps.
When my turn came, I was briefed of what’s going to happen. As they explain the process, I feel the knot in my tummy rise to my chest.
What helped calm my nerves a little bit is that the guy talking to me have more than 11,000 jumps under his belt. Although reassured, I can’t help but still feel nervous. It was my first time and my panicking brain was telling me it probably would also be my last. I tried very hard to block out the ‘what ifs’ that kept running in my head.
When I met my tandem man, I learned that he’d been jumping for years and I was his fifth jump of the day. Loading onto the plane and taking off was nice and uneventful. As the plane climbed to 13,000ft, we also kept monitoring my heart rate. I realised I was more excited than nervous now. And I have a mixture of a lot of different emotions. I can feel my mouth getting extremely dry.
A cameraman came with us and he was clinging to the side of the plane ready to follow us down. I gave him a thumbs up and then the man I was attached to, Josh, nudged us out and we dropped through the air.
The initial few seconds were amazing as we sped up into our fall quickly reaching our top speed of around 120mph. I was pre-warned to keep my mouth closed but couldn’t help but laugh. I usually laugh at the most awkward moments. I guess it’s down to nerves.
We didn’t spin too much as I don’t like that dizzy feeling. I pre-warned Josh prior to the jump about it.
After what felt like a few minutes, I felt Josh pulling the cord to release our parachute. The chute opening was like jamming on the brakes, with a bit of a yank on the harness around my legs.
I can feel our descent slowing down. We were gracefully reaching ground. When we hit ground, I removed my goggles and we had a chat.
The view from the air is just amazing. No words can honestly describe the scene and overwhelming experience of being like a bird.
A smooth landing on the grass was a massive surprise. I was expecting a major thud.
If there’s something I’ve taken away from this experience, it is that it was truly memorable —an experience I wouldn’t necessarily do again. It was the build-up that was the hardest thing to deal with rather than the actual jump actually.
Overall, it’s an item that I can tick off from my bucket list. An experience that I can tell the story to my friends to bore them, time and time again.

Sayeh Woodman
sayehwoodman@outlook.com