Come the next 30!

A bit late but never too late! Blogging about the great celebration of my 30th birthday: Skydiving baby!

When people use the phrase "Sky is the limit", I never really thought how profound that really was as far as dimension of things, the sky is indeed something limitless. I had the opportunity of experiencing this first hand from very close.

I've always been a big fan of adventures and having a little rush of adrenaline here and there and really thought this would be the ultimate experience, a great way to close the cycle of my first 30 years of existence (not meant as a death prediction statement in any way). After trying this I really am of the opinion it is more of a meditation/spiritual experience than a crazy one to be honest.


From an observer's perspective, it always looked to me as one of the craziest thing one would do when they can't get the rush from anything else (roller coasters are too easy or anything else just doesn't cut it anymore). People that really liked to leave on the edge and risk it all, all the time. It really isn't. Well I for one am an example of that, not much of a risk taker myself.

I really wanted to take the opportunity that I was away from my home town and family for another year and at such an important birth day celebration, after all, it's not everyday you turn 30, and do something special. So me, my wife and a friend decided to do this together, after having tried the indoors experience with controlled winds and space for you to float around, we thought it would be a cool thing to do.

If you're used to flying, for business or pleasure, you will be ok getting to an airport full of planes, checking in (from a hangar rather than the nice hallway full of shops) and probably even while being strapped all around for safety while jumping (of course this was a tandem jump, but eventually I guess I will probably try one by myself) and most specially the flight all the way up to 13,000 feet (about 3km high)! Interestingly, if you're flying to a destination you really don't worry as much to the altitude as you do when you know you're jumping off a certain level once you get there... So from 4-7k feet you start to wonder: is this it? and the instructors will tell you: no man, you're about 1/3 or half way through, and you go: yeap, this was a bad idea! It is so freaking high when you think about the jump!

Fortunately, I had my wife accompany me for this crazy experience, and me being the birthday boy, received the present of being last (also being a polite gentleman, I will always let ladies go first :D). I honestly was more scared for her than I was for myself. You feel the butterflies going around your stomach and all, but seeing the worry in her eyes really was starting to freak me out. And there it came, the moment of truth, the scariest part of all, they open the small door to the little Cessna monoplane and all the wind and noise starts to come around. That is where you really freak out. My lovely really looked like a cat about to be thrown at a lake with freezing water, holding on to anything around her, asking to wait, so she would "prepare mentally" :). Once you're at that point, there is really no turning back. You put your legs out the door, your instructor will hold to you (mostly via the strap ons and hooks they use, which gives you the extra safety feeling you need) and that's it, GO!

She went first and I was scared to death she would pass out or something, and once my legs were out I then started worrying about myself. It's not like there's anything around you or bellow you (of course the ground, good long 3km away) so jumping out is really just like throwing yourself at a pool (not that scary right?).

Then it came the most peaceful and energizing experience I have ever had in my life: THE FREE FALL! 60 seconds of going through the sky, straight down, observing everything around and bellow you, seeing the clouds (and even going through them) like never before. What a great and zen feeling. Coming down at that speed wasn't nearly as frightening as I expected and it provided me more with a peace of mind than the euphoria one would expect from doing such a thing.

By the time you pull the parachute (or better said, your instructor will do it for you), you feel like completely cleansed of all your worries, your sins and pains, it is really a purifying feeling (sorry, not trying to get too religious here, but it really feels like the closest connection to heaven). Then you glide around the area, full of farms and flat land, like good Florida is for most part, for about 7 minutes until you reach the ground, very smoothly. The best example for the old business analogy of "hitting the ground running".

Going through it all, in such a short amount of time, seeing my wife happy and safe down there and sharing the experience with me was certainly one of the best ways I could possibly spend my 30 year birthday celebration. I totally recommend it to anyone, seeking adventure or not, it really is a once in a lifetime experience if that is how many times you think of doing it. For myself, I think after doing it once, I certainly would like to repeat the dose and try it again, hopefully soon (before my 60th :D).

The place we went to doing it is listed at the end of the video above if you feel like watching it (15 minutes of fun), it is near Miami, inside the Tamiami Commercial airport. Let me know whenever anybody goes for it, I would like to join (although the perfectly functioning plane will carry only 2 jumpers with their instructors and pilot at a time)!

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