Posts Tagged ‘adventure’

As I sat on the floor of the small aircraft with my feet dangling out of the open door and the wind tousling my hair at 13,000 feet above the earth, I glanced over to my husband, shouted (possibly for the last time), “Love you honey!” and rolled out of the aircraft straight to the earth below.

You see, last year at this time, we reached our 5 year anniversary, and we wanted to do something a little fun…adventurous…exciting.

Something at least one of us has never done before.

Sure, we entertained the idea of tandem skydiving for our previous anniversaries, but as the years faded and we got older…and wiser…I didn’t think the idea of skydiving would resurface…and I was fine with that!

I was no stranger to skydiving.

Ten years earlier, I experienced skydiving for the first time in Queenstown, New Zealand…and I loved it!  Shaking up my stagnant life is what I was in search of, and so naturally, falling out of an airplane was the perfect remedy…as was tossing myself off of a bridge!

Years later, when my husband and I married, he said that one day, he, too, would love to experience the thrill of skydiving.

“Maybe for one of our anniversaries?”

I thought it might be fun, but the yearning for a thrill of that magnitude wasn’t at the forefront of my bucket list anymore.

Gentle adventures are what I craved.

But alas, we made our reservations to take the plunge for our wedding anniversary knowing that this might be the last chance we get to do something exciting insane before our adoption dreams came true.

That early August morning, we enjoyed a relaxing drive to Oceanside where Tsunami Skydivers (now called GoJump Oceanside) awaited our arrival.


When we arrived at our destination, apprehension replaced excitement especially when we were requested to sign our lives away!



After filling out our paperwork we-won’t-sue-you-if-there’s-an-accident waiver, we joined the other participants in the outside waiting area where we watched a group ahead of us get briefed, rigged up and filed into the tiny aircraft.

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About 30 minutes later, we watched the van return with the newly invigorated jumpers, eager to recount their adventures in the air!

At long last, our time had come, and we met our assigned instructors that we’d be flying  falling-out-of-a-perfectly-good-airplane with.

For an additional charge that we were happy to pay, our instructors would also be our cameramen using their GoPros to capture videos and photos of
the moments before, during and after our jumps!

DCIM100GOPROSure, we’re laughing and having a good time here…

DCIM100GOPRO…but we’re shaking inside!

After being briefed & harnessed, we boarded the aircraft and were packed in like sardines.

Counting the skydivers in our group, I realized that I was the last one to board, and quick deductions concluded that I would be the first to jump.


Those before me got to sit on benches, but me…I got prime floor seating with a soon-to-be stomach-churning view!

And with that, we were off!

As we ascended higher into the sky, Joe, my instructor, scooted closer to me and attached himself to my harness.

He then started to open the roll-up aircraft door, but for whatever reason, he needed some assistance.

“Jen, can you help me open this?”

Umm, what?!”

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As we worked on opening the door, I clenched anything I could on the floor of the aircraft with my free hand to prevent sliding out accidentally.

I looked over at the indicator light on the door. It was red.

Phew!  It was NOT time to jump!

I tried to enjoy the view, but the gaping void one foot to my right was at the forefront of my mind!

Joe asked me if I saw a camera on the floor by my feet. Being too nervous to care or wonder why he asked me that, I scanned the floor, reported that nothing was there & then quickly refocused on the matter at hand.

Participants were shouting and having fun in the back, and Joe kept documenting my reaction. Sure I had fun with it, but there were times when I was in no mood for witty banter.

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Suddenly, the indicator light turned GREEN!

“It’s time.” 

My stomach churned and my mouth instantly rivaled the California drought.

Joe began to scoot us toward the gaping hole in the aircraft.

“Oh my God! Oh my God!”

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I grasped the sides of my harness thinking that would somehow protect me from my inevitable fate.

Everything he told me about a proper dismount vanished.

My feet were now dangling over the ledge.

I said goodbye to my fellow jumpers and turned to look at my husband.

Realizing these could be the last words spoken to him, I shouted,

“Love you honey!” 

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Random thoughts filled my head including “What the heck are you doing?!”,  “Have you gone completely mad?”,  “What if the parachute doesn’t open?” and “SH*T!!!!”

When I looked at the earth below and the beautiful scenery all around, I was still paralyzed by fear, but a sense of excitement swept over me.

Adrenaline was at maximum capacity!

Sometimes you just have to give it up to God…and so I did.  And with a loud scream, we exited the aircraft.

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And let me just say – that first step is a doozy!!!

But what a view it was!

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Free falling at 13,000 feet is the most exhilarating feeling I have ever experienced!

For almost one minute, the loud, powerful wind rushed by us at 120 miles per hour.

With an ocean view all around, I couldn’t help but smile and enjoy every second!

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I even managed to blow my hubby a kiss!

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The two things I forgot from my first skydiving experience though was the immense pressure in my ears and the difficulty I had breathing!

You’re supposed to breathe through your nose & keep your mouth shut.

Well, that didn’t work for me!

I tried various ways to breathe – through my nose, through my mouth, through my teeth, creating “o” shaped funnels with my mouth and even sticking my tongue out…lol!)

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But before I passed out (LOL!), the parachute deployed and we were pulled upward to the sky and were soon gliding through the air in pure silence taking in the California coastline below!

I let out a huge sigh of relief, took a deep breath and squealed,

“Oh my God!!!”

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Joe kept asking how I was doing & what did I think…and all I could say was “Amazing!!!”

We glided above Oceanside and the Pacific Ocean for a few minutes.

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Joe helped me remove my face-squishing goggles to enjoy the scenery below.

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He then asked if I could hold his GoPro.


Apparently he lost the camera portion of his GoPro and was only getting video of me this entire time. Hence his earlier request for me to search for his camera on the aircraft floor.

Because he had to navigate with two hands, he needed me to hold this expensive piece of equipment thousands of feet above earth.

“Don’t drop it!”

The hand-off of his GoPro to me was probably more nerve-racking than the jump itself because I was visualizing it falling right out of my hands and possibly onto somebody’s head!

Luckily, that didn’t happen, and it was back safe and sound with Joe after he finished his maneuvers.

A few more minutes of quiet peace, breathtaking views and smooth gliding, and we were headed for the drop zone in a dry field.

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I must say, this landing was far better than my first 10 years prior!  I literally just put my foot to the ground and took a step!  No rear slide-in landing for me this time.

Hubby landed before me since he did some turns & tricks that brought him down faster.

We ran to each other and hugged…happy to be on earth, still breathing and intact & able to celebrate the rest of our anniversary!


Would I skydive again?

Maybe, but not until our little boy gets much older so he can join his crazy parents if he wants to!

(We’ll just see if our bucket list has room for another skydive adventure in 20 years or so!) 

As for my husband, he had a BLAST!

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You would never guess that this was his first time skydiving.  You can see both of our videos in my silly montage below.

I’ve been asked what the worst part of skydiving is for me. I must say, it’s the anticipation…the waiting…the random thoughts of doom entering my head…the seconds before leaving the aircraft…the feelings of utter panic, fear and numbness.

But once you take that leap of faith…all of those feelings vanish!

And if you’re wondering…yes, Tsunami Skydiving gave me a credit for the photos that I didn’t get from my skydive. Luckily, I was able to capture stills from my video.

If you’re ready to shake up your life with an adrenaline rush unlike any other, I highly recommend Tsunami Skydiving (now known as GoJump Oceanside).

You won’t regret it!!!










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Level headed.


This is who I was in my 20’s.

Then one day in my early 30’s, I did something that scared me…
…and I LOVED it!

Scary, I discovered…can be FUN!

So I did something scary again…

…and again…Bungee!Read about my jump here!

And this Saturday, I will do it once again!

Let’s just say that what I’m doing is similar to all of the above, but instead of plummeting straight to the earth, I will be flying through the air with…(God willing!)… the greatest of ease!

Ten years have passed since I let my inhibitions fly out the window.  Things have changed, I’ve grown more cautious (and a tad more brittle) and I haven’t done anything quite so daring since then.  Now I wonder if my 40 year old self will grab fear by the (you know what!)…or curl up in a fetal position and cry!  (I must admit…I’m quite nervous!  My palms are sweating as I type this!)

Stay tuned to find out!

I’m curious…as each birthday rolls around, are you more open to trying something that scares you?

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I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve been published!

A great big thank you to Lesley Carter at Bucket List  Publications for publishing my story Sensory Awakening – My First Bungee Jump in New Zealand on her online adventure publication.

What I love about Lesley is that she really has a passion for following her dreams, experiencing life to the fullest and sharing her awesome adventures with the world.  She’s an inspiration to so many, and to be part of such an amazing blog and community with over 50,000 followers/adventure seekers is a huge honor!

Thank you Lesley for helping me cross off #5 from my 39 Before 40 list!  Woo-hoo!

Bucket List Publications

Bucket List Publications is your source for all adventure/travel/living life to the fullest ideas/inspiration!

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“There’s still time to back out,”  I thought to myself, as my toes hesitantly peaked over the tiny wooden plank perched 43 meters (142 feet) above the Kawarau River in Queenstown, New Zealand.  As my pulse quickened and the knots of dread in my stomach tightened, I reassured myself that this was merely a right of passage done by men and women, young and old, and with one simple dive into the canyon’s abyss, I too would join their ranks.

What was I thinking?

Queenstown, after all, is the birthplace of bungee jumping and is also home to a variety of adrenaline-charged activities that make you wonder who in their right mind would pay money to put their life in peril in the first place?  That would be me!

Rewind six months earlier – I was 31 years old and secure in a career that I enjoyed, but I found myself going through the motions, and my life outside of work had become stagnant.  I needed  to get completely out of my comfort zone, awaken my senses and shake my spirit…but how would I do that?

As I scoured the internet, the answer appeared to me as I read the words, “Extreme Sports Capital of the World.”   New Zealand beckoned…and I was going to heed the call and conquer my fears head-on.

For the past nine days, I toured around New Zealand with a group of like-minded thrill seekers, and there was nothing we didn’t try – skydiving, conquering the white rapids, hiking slick glaciers and swinging across massive canyons. And now it was now time to face the one thing that made my stomach drop to my toes at the mere thought of it.

The bungee phenomenon began in November 1988 with AJ Hackett’s creation of the world’s first commercial bungee site at the Kawarau Bridge. Today, it’s still going strong with tens of thousands of unsure participants diving off the bridge each year.

There are several jumping options to choose from – you can fall forwards or backwards, jump with another person, or for the more daring, somersault. And then there are the water touch options – you can stay dry and bob above the water, touch it, or be completely immersed. I opted for the fall forwards/water touch option and stressed that I only wanted to touch the water with my hand and not my head.   “No worries Jen.”

Once you pay your $180 New Zealand dollars, the process is very quick and easy. After you sign a waiver, your weight is taken and written on the back of your hand. You then walk to the middle of the bridge where the bungee master awaits. As you sit near the platform watching participants willingly jump one by one, you are then harnessed, and your ankles are bound with a heavy cloth wrapped around them. Once the proper bungee chord is attached to you according to your weight, you then waddle to the edge of the plank, penguin-style, go to that happy place in your mind, look into the horizon and convince yourself to jump.  And voila, it’s over.  At least it seemed that easy…

“Your toes have to go over the edge, love.”  What? I was already on the plank, paralyzed in fear, and unable to waddle any further, but my jump master held onto the strap around my waist & gave me an encouraging nudge to move forward.   “Don’t worry, you won’t fall. ”  No, I won’t fall now, but I’m about to toss myself over the edge in a few seconds just for the fun of it!

“Wave goodbye to your friends.”  Goodbye???  It sounded so final, but as instructed, I waved to my friends and other spectators one last time as they chanted my name from the viewing platform. Then I turned to the camera that was documenting my final moments, blew one last kiss to my friends and said a quick prayer…just in case!

“Don’t look down. Just look straight into the horizon and pretend like you’re doing a swan dive into a pool.”  Growing up, swan dives were not my forte since my dismounts always turned into comical belly flops. But there was no time to dwell on my diving inability…the moment had come whether I liked it or not.

With that, the jump master gave me a speedy countdown.  “Five, four, three, two, one!”

Without hesitation, I leaned forward, screamed, possibly cussed, tried to clear my mind and gave up all control as I dove into the canyon’s abyss…weightless.  “Wait a minute…what did I just do? This isn’t like me!  I don’t jump off bridges for the pure joy of it!  Rewind…REWIND!!!”

But it was too late – gravity (as well as pure fear) had taken hold, and I was free falling faster by the second.  Superman couldn’t save me now.  The only thing filling the canyon were screams of terror.

Now Queenstown isn’t named the extreme capital of the world for nothing. Sure I signed up for the water touch option and requested that only my hand touch the water, but had I known what was about to happen, I would have worked my hair up into a good lather before jumping.

As the canyon whizzed by me, the tiny river got bigger by the second and the current became louder.  My hand stretched out, fingers ready to touch the rushing water.  Success!  But all too suddenly, my triumphant “Woohoo!” was met with a gush of water in my mouth, eyes and ears. It didn’t take long before I realized that the water touch option was more of a water dousing, and I was submerged mid-chest.  The sound of gushing water all around disoriented me, but before I knew it, the cord snapped my drenched body out of the river as I gasped for air.  Once I wiped the hair off my eyes and caught my breath, I screamed in delight as I bobbed up and down a few more times.

Below me, a crew of three Kiwis in a yellow rubber raft cheered and extended a long white pole to me.  “Grab onto the pole, and we’ll lower you into the raft.”  As instructed, I grabbed the pole, turned onto my back, and they lowered my limp, shaking body onto the raft.  After rubbing the water out of my eyes, I looked up and saw three huge smiles.  “Good on ya mate!”  Speechless, I erupted in giddy laughter, feeling more alive and awake than I ever thought possible!

High on adrenaline, I floated up the many stairs to the souvenir shop and picked my my dvd, t-shirt and certificate of bravery that is now displayed proudly for all to see.  Fun stories of bravery (or lack thereof) filled the remainder of the day.

For around $144 US dollars, you too can experience your own sensory awakening.

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