It is a generally acknowledged fact that facing your fears is a good thing to do, it can help you grow and become a better person. The same could be said for travelling, and in some cases travelling and facing your fears are one and the same thing. When facing your fears however it must be pointed out that some fears should not be faced these are rational fears and as long as they aren’t so extreme as to influence normal life then leave them well alone – for example falling from a great height. If this is a fear of yours then don’t go and jump off a cliff, it may cure your fear but it will also cure you of breathing and food addition.
Other fears are irrational fears, for example public speaking or cotton wool. Some people are afraid of public speaking (like me) but have no reason or desire to face that fear. You could say that in many ways there is no problem with this as you can leave a perfect normal life without ever having to get up and speak in public. I’m not afraid of cotton wool but I’d suggest that if you are you should try and sort it out.
Having said all this I have yet to drop in on a toastmasters meeting.
And I have dropped from a great height. With some precautions as you can see, a well qualified skydiver attached to me to literally save my life at the appropriate time. At the point when the above picture was taken my brain was going through what I was told is a completely normal feeling. A feeling of complete mind-freeze blank terror. My thoughts got as far as FUUUU, before they stopped, and I mean completely stopped for what must have been only about 3 or 4 seconds. I know this because there is a DVD of the event, fortunately my face is not in shot during this terror freeze and by the time I’m back facing the camera I’m smiling and waving – which was only a few seconds. One of the down sides of being filmed during the free-fall is that your mind is distracted by the pressure to ‘look cool’ and pose and whatnot regardless of the fact that you have in effect just remembered how to breath.
My jump was from 15,000 feet, before the jump I was cheerfully informed that above 5,000 feet your eyes (or brain) cannot actually tell the difference in height. A statement that I’m quite skeptical about in hindsight as at some point you must be able to see the curvature of the earth. Anyhow, I did my best to impress how high 15,000 feet seems.
The view was spectacular, I jumped over lake Taupo, which is a massive volcanic crater lake (I think) slap in the middle of the Northern Island. The view was something that is only hinted at in this photo:
and is something that I only truly got a chance to appreciate after the chute opened:
Chute opens
Things get very peaceful very suddenly after the parachute is opened, you can take you goggles off and have a good look around. There was one fear inducing moment when my partner started loosening some straps and released one thing – causing me to drop all of tow inches suddenly. It was very disconcerting but allowed me to assume more of a ‘sitting’ position which was more comfortable (probably for both of us).
The entire experience was fantastic and one I’d recommend. Not to everyone, there are definitely people that couldn’t take the fear and excitement but if you get the chance to try it out and you can afford it then give it a go, even if you do look like a bit of a lemon.
I feel like an antique pilot