During this time, when we are home during the pandemic. It has given me time to reflect on some pretty major events that happened in my life within the last year – right up to only a few weeks before I flew to Australia earlier in the year…
So this is my story of how I came to do a skydive, the journey it took to get me there and where it has taken me since…
Life is precious. Live each day as much as you can, with as much oomph as you can. Learn lessons where you can. When you’re younger, you think that by the time you turn 30 you will have your shit together. Well I’m here to tell you that that’s not necessarily true. Actually my 30th year was one of the hardest years of my life but I learnt a lot about life and about myself too. My 30th year taught me that your whole life can change in one day, with one conversation, whether that be with someone you loved or with a doctor, or both. Your whole world can change In just One Day… The hard thing is that sometimes it is something you have no control over, you can’t control someone else’s words or test results or illnesses. But what you can control is your thoughts and how you react to these things. Now of course you are human and it is natural to cry, to hurt, to be scared but you must remember that although your thoughts can be your demon, they are also your superpower. Feel every feeling and live every moment and you will heal and at the end you will be left with your thoughts. Maybe new thoughts.
Then it is your turn to learn, to live and to choose. Choose what your reactions will be, choose what your thoughts about your new path will be, choose what the lessons you learn will be. Do whatever you need to in order to come to these decisions, talk, meditate, be mindful, do yoga, dance, laugh it out. At this point in time we have more time on our hands than we would normally. Again it is a situation where we do not have control over outside factors, the situation is what it is, but we can control our thoughts and our dreams and our plans. For now and the future. This is what happened to me in my 30th year and let me be honest and tell you it was the most difficult year of my life. But I can honestly say I learned a lot. I re-evaluated what I wanted in life. How I wanted to live my life and one thing I decided was that I wanted to live my life as much as I can. I didn’t want to be stressed, I didn’t want to feel down because my body wasn’t working as it should, I didn’t want to merely survive. I wanted to live. I wanted to tick things off my bucket list. I didn’t want to wait anymore.
When I thought about it, one thing that I admired about people in life was doing something to raise money for charity. I knew people once who ran a marathon for charity and I admired them so much for that, putting themselves through training and a tough situation to raise awareness and money and feeling so blessed to be able to use their body and mind for something good. So as soon as I knew I was healthy and my body was on the mend, I did just that.
I signed up to do a Skydive!
It had always been in the back of my mind to do a skydive, ever since my mum did one with her friends to celebrate their 30th birthdays. Back in the day – in the 90’s you could do it on your own – without tandem with just a short training, tests and practice landings and away you went! At the age of 8 I thought she was a superstar and wanted to do one too!
As you get older though, you lose that childish fearlessness and I became more and more scared of heights! I still am to some degree – where I don’t feel safe, when there’s a glass floor or steps you can see through – I still feel a bit off balance! But I still always thought I would do it – I thought me & my ex would do it together one day – but given the fact he was scared of flying and I was scared of heights – it never happened. But becoming single and having a health scare was the momentum I needed. I realised if I wanted to do it I had to make it happen!
So I booked it and I think that in some sort of fate that 20 years after I watched my mum jump out of a plane – I did it too! I knew I could never pull the cord on my own so I booked a Tandem jump, where you are attached to an experienced skydiver and they pull the parachute cord. Honestly there’s not much you need to do apart from show up, do your training and be brave! Haha.
Thinking of taking the leap yourself?
Here’s what you need to know:
- Cost: Tandem jump £270 (£70 deposit).
- Where: Skydive St Andrews takes place at Fife airport which is a wee airport for local flyers and the Skydive team.
- How high: Tandem skydives take place from 10,000 feet in the air.
- How fast: You can hit speeds of 120mph during free fall.
- Free fall: You free fall for about 30 seconds.
- Age restrictions: You must be 18 to skydive. If you are between 16-18 you can do it with signed permission from a parent.
- Medical: You must sign a medical form stating you are in good health to fly, if you are in any doubt there is a form to take to your doctor.
- Training: You receive training the morning of your jump.
- Memories: You can have it recorded and made into a video, and have photos to show the incredible experience to others for £100.
Before the jump:
Check the weather leading up to the day you have it booked for and keep in touch with the company you booked it with. My skydive was scheduled for November but I couldn’t do it until January because of the weather conditions. If it is too rainy/ windy/ cloudy, your jump will be postponed so be prepared for that, especially if you are doing it in Scotland like I did!
Layer up – You will get a jumpsuit but make sure you are comfy and have layers on. I was told “It’s going to be cold when you’re going at 120mph, 10,000 feet in the air.” and it probably was but honestly I didn’t feel it at all! But I did have a few layers on, my thermals and a jacket on under my jumpsuit just in case! I also tied my hair in pigtails because I have really long hair and I didn’t want it to go in the guys face and affect the dive in any way! Haha!
Take your cheerleaders with you! I took my mum with me, it only seemed fitting as she was the one who had started it all those years ago…
When you arrive, very early in the morning, you will receive training by an experienced jumper. They will tell you the positions you need to take when leaving the aircraft, during free fall and as you land. They will also tell you, you may die doing so and it is fully at your own risk – if you are still up for it after that, you get a time and get all suited up to practice your landings.
My experienced skydiver was at the wind up, pretending he had only dived twice before, putting my harness on the wrong way round pretending he had forgotten how to put it on – I genuinely believed this I’m so gullible and it wasn’t until after the jump I found out he had done this nearly everyday for 15 years. So I was in safe hands after-all.
During the jump:
Enjoy it! Honestly, you have come this far, you have paid for it, been sponsored to do it, done the training, mentally prepared yourself to do it, overcome any fears you may have – so just do it! And enjoy every minute!
I was smiling from ear to ear pretty much through the whole experience. I absolutely loved flying in the airplane, looking out the window, admiring the view. It takes a while to reach 10, 000 feet, maybe even 20mins or so, so instead of spending that time panicking – just be mindful, be present, enjoy the view!
The scary part comes when it is time to jump! There were two of us jumping for the first time and 8 of us in the plane in total. There are no seats apart from the pilot’s seat so you all squish into the back of the plane in rows in order of who is jumping first. If you are having yours recorded there will be a camera person with you too. We were all having such a laugh in the plane on the way up. One experienced skydiver was doing it in jeans and a hoody – he looked like he was off to the shops or something and we all had about 100 layers, helmets, eye visors – everything! Haha he was brave! So the other guy – only 19 years old – was jumping first. So his camera guy went then them and then it was my turn! THAT – That moment when you start shimming towards the edge of the plane – with the doors open and 10,000 feet of air between you and the earth – THAT is the scary bit – when your bum is perched on the edge of the plane – then suddenly (because it happens so fast) when you are in free fall – your body panics for a few seconds and you think oh god – what am I doing?!
Then, when the parachute is pulled – That is the BEST part. You feel like you are floating, like you are just gliding through the air and I don’t know if there is any better feeling in the world! We flew through a cloud and I will never forget that absolutely amazing experience!
After the jump:
I actually cannot explain the feeling! Except to say it is INCREDIBLE! I felt absolutely wonderful, like I could fly, and I just wanted to get back up there and do it all over again! I was overwhelmed, I am so happy, I have tears in my eyes and a huge smile on my face. I am so grateful for the experience, and the people who believed in me, sponsored me, supported me, my mum for cheering me on, my skydive guy who was an absolute superstar and kept me safe at all times! All of the crew for keeping me laughing and making it such an amazing experience that I will never forget! Here are some photos and maybe you can see from my face, how I felt, even though I try to put it into words, I could never do it justice.
At the end of it all, you have absolutely unforgettable memories that will last you a lifetime – and even a wee certificate to show how brave you were! Haha.
So if you have ever thought of doing a skydive but were feeling nervous, or waiting for more money or someone to do it with you – don’t! Just do it! I don’t think you will regret it. I would do it again in a heartbeat!
Afterwards we celebrated with a good Fish n Chip dinner at South Queensferry and I highly recommend you do too! I mean, after all that, you deserve a wee treat!
And once you’ve done it you get to say a massive Thank you!!!
To everyone who believed in you and sponsored your cause!
My wonderful family and friends and even strangers raised a total of £615 + £130 gift aid for Cancer Research UK!!!
I could not be prouder!
I hope you have enjoyed going along on this skydive journey with me and I hope if you are thinking about it – you get it booked! Please let me know if you’ve ever done a skydive or if you would like to do one now!
I am so lucky I got to speak at a ‘Find your brave’ mental health week at a local Primary School and now 120 children want to do a skydive when they are older and I could not be prouder of them and their dreams! You can do it guys!!! Be Brave!
Thank you for reading,
The Wee Wanderer Blogger xoxo
I did my skydive with Skydive St Andrews. Click the link if you would like to be redirected to their website.