Skydiving has always been on my bucket list. One of those things that I’ve always wanted to do, but I never actually thought I would.
But in April, I actually did it. I jumped out of a plane.
Last year my Husband did a sky dive with some friends and really enjoyed it. I regretted not booking to jump at the same time but after a few months of deliberation, and after mentioning it to four friends who also fancied giving it a go, I finally booked a date. And then the panic set in.
I’d set up the Just Giving page and committed to raising money for my local branch of the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Plus I’d talked some friends into jumping on the same day, so there was no backing out now. Every time I thought about it I felt that nervous flutter in my tummy, and quickly tried to put it out of my mind. But, everyone I’d spoken to who has done a skydive only had great things to say about it; not one person didn’t enjoy it. So I put the nerves to one side and one Saturday in April I headed down to Skydive Northwest at Grange-over-Sands with my Husband, Izzy and Clara.
I met my friends there at 10.30am and the five of us nervously went to the office to register. There was a lot of nervous laughter but everyone had big grins on their faces. When we had booked the skydive it seemed so far away, but here we were, just hours away from getting in the plane.
We waited in the picnic area, although I was too nervous to eat anything beforehand. After a short while we were called round to a hanger, where we had a 20 minute briefing. Everything was explained really clearly, we were talked through what would happen during the skydive and then had to lay on the floor while we went through the jump positions. They reassured us that our instructor would give us clear instructions as we went along, so we didn’t need to worry if we forgot anything.
We went back to the picnic area, where Clara was busy trying to save the sausage rolls from some hungry dogs and Izzy was watching the parachutes land. She had been really looking forward to this – she’d been telling everyone at school that her Mummy was going to jump out of a plane!
Then we were called up to meet our instructors and photographers. We all decided to pay extra to have someone else jump with us to video it and take photos – and it was well worth it, as you can see from the photos in this blog post. The video is amazing too – they edit it all together and add music so it’s very professional.
Everyone was really friendly, and put us at ease. We went to get changed into our suits and then headed over the field to the plane. It took about 10 minutes to get up in the plane, and I tried to take in the views but I just couldn’t believe we were actually here and minutes away from jumping. It was a mix of excitement, nervousness and absolute terror. There was no backing out and I was about to do the scariest thing I’d ever done.
I was the second to jump; I watched my friend disappear out of the door into the clouds below and then seconds later I was there, sitting on the edge of the plane (well, on the knee of my instructor who was sat on the edge) and trying to smile at the photographer, who was casually hanging onto the outside of the plane.
And we were off. Free falling through the cold air at about 120mph, all the while waving and giving a thumbs up to the photographer. The grin on my face wasn’t entirely voluntary – flying through the air at that speed kind of forces your face into quite an unflattering grimace. In fact there were lots of photos that will never see the light of day thanks to my rippling hamster cheeks!
It felt great. The fear seemed to leave me as we fell through the cloud, and suddenly I could see the ground below. It’s such a bizarre feeling to be free falling, there’s nothing quite like it. Then the instructor opened the parachute and we slowed down very quickly. My ears really needed to pop and I suddenly felt very sick. I get travel sickness so this wasn’t a great surprise. It did mean that I was focusing on just getting to the ground without throwing up so I didn’t really appreciate the view as much as I could have.
I got to control the parachute but the spinning around wasn’t helping my stomach! As we came in to land I could see Izzy and Clara watching and waving, and when we reached the ground I felt a mix of relief, pride and nausea.
Straight afterwards I wasn’t sure if I would do it again, but once I’d got over the shock massive surge of adrenaline I definitely would do it again if I ever got the opportunity. Except next time I’d probably take some anti-sickness tablets! My friends had mixed reactions, ranging from wanting to go back up in the plane straight away, to just being relieved it was over. But, we all felt incredibly proud of ourselves and between us we raised over £3,000 for some amazing charities – including over £800 that I raised for the MS Society.
It’s such a weird feeling, like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. With all that adrenaline rushing through my body, it took hours before I felt back to normal. My legs felt wobbly, I felt sick, but I couldn’t stop grinning as I was just so proud of myself. Now I just need to decide what’s next off the list!