Almost everybody if not everybody has a bucket list that they would like to tackle. For many, taking on something dangerous and out of the ordinary always seems to surface.
For me, one of those things was skydiving. So to find out that I actually won the experience in a competition was simply a sign from the gods that it was meant to be.
Arriving at the airbase where the event took place, I didn’t know what to expect. A quote from Mozart’s opera, Don Giovanni, summed up my feelings quite nicely, “A thousand emotions stir in my heart”.
Walking to the light aircraft my mind was full of questions and I remember asking the professional jumper if anyone had died jumping here to which he replied he did not know.
As the jump took place in Pretoria, I had to ask my family living there to take me. My 16-year-old cousin asked me for my cellphone if I did not return. In fact, my aunt and my cousin were teasing me all along. I told myself that I wasn’t afraid of dying but if something should go wrong, that it should just happen swiftly.
We eventually got into the plane which was shared with six other people. Due to the compact size of the plane, we had to strategically sit between each others legs. As you can imagine, being a straight man sitting in between the legs of another wasn’t exactly comfortable. Being confined to a small space was nothing new to me as I travel in taxis quite regularly.
Eventually the door of the airborne taxi went open at 11 000 feet with a gush of wind that just seemed to crawl up my legs. I was warned to focus on my breathing as many people found that they could not breathe at such heights (all in the mind). Fortunately I did not have this problem. I thought the chill of the air might cut right through me but fortunately the Cape’s South Easter prepared me for the buildup of this moment.
Before I knew it or had time to think, I was out of the plane and tearing through the sky on my vertical voyage to the ground. Most people would think I was scared but being strapped to an expert and having a calm cameraman eradicated all fear.
After a 30 second free-fall before my parachute deployed was more than just exhilarating, it was as if time stood still. Instead of everything on the ground becoming a tiny spec, I felt like the tiny spec as I acknowledged what a grain in the sky I was.
When I placed both my feet firmly on mother earth after a smooth landing, I could only think of one thing… the amazing view, the adrenaline rush and the want to be back up there. So, to all of you thinking of doing it, I say, don’t think, just do. You will be doing yourself a favour! I certainly know what I will be saving up for again.