To mark my 23rd birthday several months back I decided to jump out of a perfectly good plane. That's not exactly something I would have particularly considered back in my small town in Canada however when you're abroad there is no better time to do something you thought impossible before. On top of a great experience to share with people back home who will be positively green with envy doing things like skydiving or bungee jumping overpowers any points in your trip that maybe felt lacklustre. I barely remember living off of Maagi (instant noodles) for two weeks because I did so many other things so I'm going to tell you about my particularly adventurous events abroad, starting with the latest skydiving in Wanaka, New Zealand.
Wanaka is a gorgeous lakefront city that is nearby ski hills and is generally a spot for vacationers. It's actually overrun with tourists most of the time so there isn't much local charm like smaller cities in the country and is pretty expensive so as a budget backpacker you'd think I'd never step foot there however Wanaka is perfect for those who want to see different perspectives, literally. There is hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, and paragliding to be done which allows for the popular beach town to feel more than just a hot spot for tourists. The backdrops of the mountains and Lake Wanaka are peaceful, gorgeous and if you're in a plane 15,000ft in the air you can see so much more of the surrounding region. It's also a great place to jump out of said plane.
After a very anxiety-filled drive over to the Wanaka airport I arrived, filled out my basic information and signed a form for insurance. So far, it had started to be the biggest birthday celebration I'd ever had and I was with a bunch of strangers - just as I was for my 21st which is a story for another time. This time the strangers were all sorts of people ready to do something that I was fairly certain we were all insane to want to do the more I waited. It felt like hours but was probably more like ten minutes until I met Cassie, an American woman who I would be strapped to and would have to trust with my life essentially. She seemed nice but most importantly she seemed diligent which eased my nerves as I was put onto a plane with other people who would be jumping.
Although I was already in the air I wanted to stop myself but a kid no more than sixteen was jumping too so I dared myself to do it because if a teenager could do this without fear I would have to. Otherwise how could I be Adventurous Alexis, right? Finally the time came that we jumped out of the plane. Below me I could see farmlands, mountains and Lake Wanaka as well as the equally lovely Balclutha River. However, I didn't have much time to process this because before I knew it I was out of the plane. There was probably a good couple seconds before I completely registered what was actually happening. Those few seconds felt quiet - even if they weren't. Then I felt my stomach drop about as fast as I was falling. I know I screamed about ten expletives during this time because what else could you really do but swear?
It took a moment before I could actually enjoy the free fall because I was in such a state of shock. I could feel my face flap about and I really regretted not properly putting on the gloves given because they could be off my hands at any moment. More than that the air was so cold that even if I didn't have chills running down my spine and goosebumps on my arms they would have been there anyway. It was so much to take in all at once that I was relieved in more ways than one when the parachute was pulled open and I could regulate myself and actually enjoy the views with the knowledge that I definitely was not going to die whilst skydiving. That'd be a rubbish way to start being 23.
As I soared through the air I was able to actually enjoy what was going on though my stomach was in knots. I'd flown hundreds of times before this but never actually felt like I saw the Earth in such a way. It felt vast and unending in the way the planet is. Mostly though, I knew from that moment that I loved skydiving ad would eventually want to get my solo dive license because it seems to be worthwhile to learn to do.
After touching down to the ground and finding my legs I felt shocked that I'd actually gone through it and felt visceral excitement all throughout my body as I watched others land. I felt like a child wanting to do it again and again but shortly thereafter the adrenaline left my body and I was more exhausted than I'd ever really felt before in my adult life. Which is saying a lot for an insomniac.
Would I do it again? Hell yes! Would I do it at Skydive Wanaka again? Hell yes but I want to Skydive elsewhere too! Dubai, please! All in all I can tell you that Skydiving was quite the adventure and I've hardly done it justice so please go find out for yourselves. It's really worth it. If you've already Skydived where did you do it?