Have you ever wanted to go sky diving? Ever wondered what the experience might be like?
Well, let me help you out. After all, I am the Adventure & Travel Guru, and sky diving probably counts as an adventure.
My first real experience with extreme sports was my intense white-water rafting trip in Uganda, back in 2009. When I went on my backpacking tour of Europe back in the summer of 2012, I decided that I wanted to continue trying more adrenaline-rush-inducing experiences. I’d never gone sky diving before, but it seemed like one of those things I needed to cross off my list.
Italy seemed like a fine place to jump out of a plane, so after some Googling, I came across a drop zone in the smaller city of Arezzo, in the heart of Tuscany. It wasn’t too far from Florence, where I planned to stay for a few days – close enough to make a day trip out of it.
Once I made it to Arezzo, I did my best to communicate to a taxi driver where I was going with my non-existent Italian language skills. Luckily he seemed to understand “sky diving” in English, so off we went, with me having no real idea where I was headed.
Since I’d never gone sky diving before, clearly the only option for me was to do a tandem jump, which meant that I would be connected by harness to the diving instructor. Once I’d arrived at the drop zone, I met the guy I would be jumping with. Looking back through my travel journal, I described him as “a slightly smelly but rugged Italian man who spoke next to no English.”
The weather was a touch windy that day, so we had to wait for the right conditions, but before long, we were off. I was crammed into a plane with seven Italian men, none of whom spoke any English. And when I say crammed, I mean it. One man was virtually sitting in my lap.
The plane got to the required height, then we were up. Sitting on the edge of the airplane with my legs dangling into the sky was pretty surreal, but not nearly as much as what happened once I simply pushed myself off and fell into the air.
The rush of free fall… there’s nothing quite like it. If my ears hadn’t been hurting so much, I would’ve relished the fall even more. My ears are just sensitive to changes in pressure; I don’t think that happens to everyone.
After about a minute of free fall, the diving instructor pulled the parachute. It felt like I could see the whole world. The landing was a bit difficult due to the wind, but I made it through in one piece, and all was well.
Falling through the air over the stunning Tuscan countryside was an experience I’ll never forget. If you’ve thought about having your own skydiving adventure, I recommend it!
Have you tried sky diving? Where did you do it? What was your experience like?