One of the most amazing things i’ll ever experience on planet Earth.
Although all my senses screamed loudly NOOOO, I just couldn’t give this opportunity a pass. This was one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences I had hoped for and it was our honeymoon, after all. So with that, I signed my life away on a single sheet of paper.
I hadn’t planned it, I’d recently chickened out of a bungee jump, overcome by sickening waves of giddiness watching thrill-seeking tourists ping themselves over the edge of a very high bridge. Why then, did hurling myself from an aeroplane suddenly seem like such a splendid idea?
The aircraft taking us up for the skydive is tiny. My husband and I are boiler-suited up and shackled into parachute harnesses. “Sit on my lap” orders instructor Matthias, clipping me tightly to him. We are a mass of limbs and adrenalin. A warm breeze whips through the plane’s missing side. The cameraman is pumped, he signals for us to perform but nerves have set in and I’m at a loss to be creative, managing only peace-signs and muttered profanities. I pray Matthias – whose existence is now entwined with mine – will keep me alive.
Below us, I glimpse creamy desert, Namibia’s coastline, distant dunes. The cameraman shimmies onto the wing to film my exit. Dangling out of a moving plane, I’m struck by an overwhelming sense of surreality, of freedom, humans defying nature, gambling with life. We swing three times and then we’re falling fast. I swear a lot, forget everything that came before – fear included.The cameraman catches us up – he’s a high five away and we slap palms whilst hurtling to Earth at terminal velocity.
Suddenly the parachute opens and we catapult upwards. My head whips back violently, hits something. I’m convinced I’ve knocked Matthias’ teeth out (I didn’t). Panicked, elated to be alive, we float and spin down in the quiet warm air.