In an Aeroplane Over the (lake): Skydiving in Taupo, New Zealand

I jumped out of a plane at 12,000 feet this morning.

No, really!

Thankfully, I was strapped to someone who knew what they were doing. There was also a parachute involved apparently, though I was too focused on the tiny little Monopoly houses below me to notice. This, my friends, is the story of my skydiving experience in Taupo, New Zealand.

My friend Cayley and I got up bright and early, only to find that ominous clouds covered the skies we were supposed to be flying through at 9am. Boo. We rescheduled for noon, and after hours of dread and uncertainty, we were told our fate. We would be jumping just after noon, out of a plane, many thousands of feet in the air.

That’s when the shaking started.

Not long after the final decision, a limo pulled up. Yes, we were driven to our possible death in a white limo. Mariah would be proud, though no champagne was served (much to my dismay).

If you’re going to face death, you might as well do it in style.

Not long after, we pulled up to the Skydive Taupo headquarters.

Men in blue jumpsuits milled around, but besides that, nothing hinted towards the impending terror. Not until we were herded into a room to watch a movie documenting one girl’s skydive experience. Watching her terror had me close to fear convulsions, if there is such a thing.

From there, we were directed towards a rack of more blue jumpsuits and told to put one on. They were definitely function over fashion, if you were wondering. Minutes later I met the man I would be strapped to as I plummeted to Earth. His name was Lee, he was British, and he had been skydiving since he was 5-years-old (or so he said).

After ten brutal moments of waiting/pacing, the plane finally pulled up. It was pink. A stylish way to die, at least.

We were loaded on the tiny girly plane like cattle, with Cayley and I the closest to the see-through door. How lovely (not).

After twenty more terrible minutes of anticipation/knee bouncing/teeth grinding/etc., the door was finally opened. I try not to swear on this site but I couldn’t think anything other than “HOLY SHIT” in that moment. Seconds later, Cayley disappeared out the door. It was my turn.

I scooted to the edge of the plane, with my legs dangling over the side. I was in a dream state. I couldn’t possibly be sitting halfway outside of a plane in midair. A pink plane, no less.

Seconds later, we were in the air. As in, outside of the plane, surrounded by only clouds. We tumbled and spinned and I could only think, “OH MY GOD DEATH SPIN.” I don’t even know what a “death spin” is.

That would be a fear smile.

Not long after, we were no longer tumbling, and instead I was instructed to throw my hands in the air and try to look like a skydiver. It felt like being in a wind tunnel, but the ground didn’t seem to be getting any closer (though the clouds flew past). Apparently this is because our brains can’t process things like that so high in the air or something.

Plummeting to the earth and apparently very happy about it.

After about 40 seconds of scream-filled free fall, Lee released the parachute and we shot up in the air. I thought I was going to puke, but it was a relief that I wasn’t plummeting to my death without at least a little help.

From there, we spinned in circles and sped towards the Earth. Lake Taupo was lit up by the sun to  a shimmering teal, and the Monopoly houses were starting to look like real people houses. I said something stupid like, “EETS SO PREETTY HOLY I CAN’T BREATHE THAT WAS AWESOMMME AHH.”

Finally, we were getting close to land and I was instructed to lift my legs. That’s harder than it sounds when harnessed and speeding through the air, but I tried my best. Minutes later, we were sliding on our butts on grassy ground. I was panting and saying stupid things again, and then I saw Cayley slide in right next to me. I ran over, we high-fived, I kept panting/sweating, and all was good in the world. WE SURVIVED!

We also bought pictures (obviously). Pictures that cost $100! Totally worth it though, even if I was disappointed by my lack of cheek wobble.

If you’re thinking about skydiving, do it! It’s a great feeling to conquer your fears and do something as cool as jumping out of a plane.

Expect updates in the coming days about my travels to a geothermal mud spa and Hobbiton, the set of Lord of the Rings and the upcoming film The Hobbit.

Bye for now!

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