I am a full-time traveling registered nurse, fitness enthusiast, and nutrition expert. Every morning I wake up intending to bring awareness of the importance of health and spiritual wellness, especially to the traveling community. At Messy Bun Traveler, we promote travel that allows the traveler to either kick-start, maintain, or enhance a healthy lifestyle. So whether you're someone who travels for business, travels for pleasure, or new to travel and looking for health advice while on the road, this blog is for you!
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Have you ever wanted to do something so bad that it scared you senseless? That’s how I felt about skydiving, but the lure of an adrenaline rush was too strong to resist. So I did it. And let me tell you, jumping out of a plane is one wild ride.
The lead up to the decision to jump out of a plane…
It was the end of the second to last semester of nursing school. I had been diligently studying for my finals—when my mind started to wonder. My focus is usually lost after roughly 45 minutes of intense studying, so I decided to take a break and check on my emails.
I get a lot of spam mail, and usually, click the “delete” button without giving the message a second look. This is how I came across an email from Groupon with the headline, “Skydive California – 50% off!”
I abruptly stopped hitting the delete button to read further. I always had “go skydiving” on my bucket list of things I NEED to do, and what better time to do it than the week of finals? If I lived to tell the tale, the anxiety of taking a test wouldn’t be nearly as intense as jumping out of a perfectly functional plane. If I died, I wouldn’t have to worry about even taking my final exams in the first place.
Sounded like a win-win situation to me.
I sent a text out to one of my friends I KNEW would be up for doing it with me.
I texted him, “HEY! Do you wanna go skydiving with me?!” Within the span of a few minutes, my friend Chris texted me back, “Sure! Like next month sometime? After finals and the holidays?” I chuckled and sent him this:
That night, I had a dinner/study session with another friend of mine, Duke. I told him that Chris and I planned on going skydiving in the morning.
“HELLO! Were you going to invite me?! I’m down to go too!”
This solidified the decision for the three of us to go on a skydiving experience the DAY BEFORE our critical care nursing final.
That morning, we piled into my tiny two-door hatchback and headed up north on Highway 99.
We headed to Lodi, the closest area to our hometown that offered skydiving—and at a reasonable price. At the time, we were all broke college students and couldn’t afford to break the bank. We brought all our textbooks, study guides, and notes with the sole intention of studying along the way.
But we couldn’t. We were just too damn excited.
When we finally arrived at our destination, it was clear to us we were the first and ONLY ones there. Walking in, we were greeted by one very hyper and enthusiastic gentleman.
“Hi! Welcome! So, what brings you here?” He said to the three of us.
“Um, we’re here to jump out of a plane.”
“Well, you came to the right place!”
The rest of the preparation and setting up was a total blur to me, to be honest.
We watched a safety video and signed a waiver saying the company would not be responsible for any injuries or death related to the skydiving experience.
Then we had to watch a “how-to” video on safely executing the jump so your tandem can safely navigate to the ground. We tried on gear, took a few photos, and the rest was history.
I remember taking my seat on the plane right in front of my tandem jumper. I was in the back of the plane while my two friends were seated in the front. This only meant one thing, I would be the last to jump.
As we were ascending into the clouds, I started reevaluating myself and everything I had accomplished up to this point in my life. Or lack thereof.
Just a few months before sitting on that plane, I had gone through a painful breakup, got kicked out of my apartment (because of said breakup), and was living at my parent’s house to get back on my feet. I kept thinking to myself—if this is it, am I happy with how my life has turned out?
It was a hard question to answer, and I only had a few minutes to answer it.
The plane’s side door opened, and one by one people jumped out– plummeting back to earth.
I watched my friend Duke and his tandem jump out first. Then Chris.
I had slid up closer and closer to the open door, and now it was my turn to position myself to take the leap—to defy every single survival instinct that was programmed in my brain to remind me that I could still call the whole thing off.
When sharing my skydiving experience, people always ask me if it was scary. Looking back on it, the only moment of fear I truly had was when I was standing on the edge, head looking down, just moments before the big jump.
That three-second moment, which felt like a lifetime– was terrifying to me.
But the instant I jumped, it was the most breathtaking experience of my life. It was so exhilarating it’s almost impossible to form into words EXACTLY how I felt.
Taking that jump out of a plane was uncomfortable. In fact, it was downright terrifying. But I did it anyway.
Taking that leap took me on a path to self-discovery. I realized that by playing it safe in life, although comfortable and secure, killed my creativity and drive to do something truly meaningful.
Playing it safe prevented me from being who I really was—or rather, who I was meant to become.
Today, no matter how many chances I take in life (traveling the world, starting a career in travel nursing, starting a travel blog, etc.) I still feel the fear of taking on a new project and possibly failing at it.
But now, the fear is becoming familiar. It doesn’t stop me from making a change and taking that risk.
Taking the jump is the hardest part of any journey.
Once I jumped out of that plane, the feeling of “I truly can do anything” came over me. There is nothing more terrifying in this world than potentially plummeting towards your death.
This made me realize that anything is possible. The notion of “fear” should never hold me back from my goals and dreams.
One thing about skydiving that people will seldom tell you is that it’s challenging to breathe up there! With the wind rushing past your face, the air pressure is so high, making it almost impossible to breathe through your mouth.
A couple of times, I gasped for air before realizing it was way easier to take short, quick breaths through my nose.
I came to the realization that I should never take access to basic necessities like food, a roof over my head, and in this case, breathing, for granted.
By going through this experience with my closest friends, I feel like we all bonded at a deeper level and formed a sense of comradery.
We all went through the anticipation, fear, and excitement of jumping together.
It was at this moment I realized I didn’t need to be in that toxic relationship or that tainted apartment—all I needed in life were a few close friends that were willing to jump out of an airplane with me.
When I was falling to the ground, I wasn’t thinking about my nursing school final exams, lack of money, or my tangled, messy hair.
For the first time in what felt like a LONG time, I was living in the moment and loving EVERY SECOND OF IT.
I realized that life is too short, and I need to stop constantly worrying and appreciate what I have by living in the moment.
There’s a reason why jumping out of a plane ranks number one on the world’s bucket lists. It’s an incredible feeling of life-changing euphoria that someone may experience only once in their lifetime. Some of the top-ranked skydiving destinations include:
I didn’t realize this at the time, but looking back on it, it’s almost laughable that I actually had to jump out that airplane door to truly learn who I was.
It took that kind of extreme action to understand that I’m a fighter, I have courage, and when I set my mind to something, I can accomplish anything.
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