Updated: Oct 27, 2021
Going bungy jumping is something that many of us have on our bucket list. I was definitely not one of these people. It wasn't even a thought that crossed my mind of something that I would ever want to do. This may come as a surprise to some people, but I’m actually not a fan of heights. So the idea of jumping off a platform, with a bungy cord attached to my ankles, was nowhere close to ever being on my bucket list.
Somehow things changed, and this happened to be yet another time where I decided to conquer my fears and do something crazy. So conquering my fear of heights, and plummeting head first towards a rocky river canyon floor, just had to be done. It wasn’t planned, but it just sort of happened.
Step 1. Committing to and paying for the jump
The first (and currently only time, so far) that I’ve gone bungy jumping happened when I was in New Zealand. According to many I’ve spoken to, they consider Queenstown to be the “adventure capital of the world." I find that to be a very bold statement; so for arguments sake, Queenstown could be the adventure capital of New Zealand. While there are a lot of different adventure activities to do in Queenstown, and I have partaken in many of during my visit, bungy jumping was not in the initial plans.
I had been travelling with two friends, and we had done a whole ton of activities around New Zealand. They both decided to go kayaking, and at the time I hadn’t been interested in going as well. As I wandered around downtown Queenstown, an opportunity presented itself. Before I knew it, I had booked and paid for a bungy jumping trip.
I look back now at this moment as a temporary moment of insanity. I’m still not sure what made me sign up, or what I was thinking at the time. This was never something that I had wanted to do, as previously mentioned heights and are not always the best of friends. But I suppose that sometimes the best memories just happen.
Step 2. Getting geared up and out to the jump platform
Taking their tour bus out to the canyon where we would make the jump provided more than enough time for anxiety to kick in; and for me to begin questioning this significant decision in my life. Needless to say I decided not to tell my parents what I was doing until after I survived. Upon arriving on-site at their office near the edge of the canyon, we were briefed and loaded into a little steel box which would transport us to a bigger steal box, hanging by steel cable in the middle of the canyon. This is sounding crazier by the moment.
In many instances, looking town through the glass floor of this steel box, in the middle of the canyon, would be enough to get anyone’s stomach turning. The ride out to the middle of the canyon, and then this glass floor were a couple of the series of steps preparing my nerves for the jump. As others complete their jumps before me, I begin to get more anxious before my turn comes. It’s hard to not feel at least a little bit anxious when you watch others disappear off the platform ahead of you; some with screams of excitement, others with screams of terror – it’s sometimes hard to tell which is which. Before I know it, it’s my turn to get loaded into the "electric chair" and into my harness, and take my last photo before the jump. And then prepare myself to do one of the craziest things I’ve ever done in my life.
Step 3. Getting to the edge and preparing to jump
I stand there at the edge of the platform, no longer questioning my sanity - because I know that I lost that long ago. Thoughts race through my mind as I question what in the world I am doing and why I thought that bungy jumping was ever a good idea. Will the bungy pull me back up safely? Will I fall to the depths of the canyon below and not survive? Will my lunch stay in me while I jump? Who was I in this moment, and when did I ever become this brave… or this stupid? These are a few of the thoughts that go racing through my mind.
As my stomach twists and turns, I stand there preparing myself for one of the biggest and craziest moments of my life. It’s a far distance to the ground, and staring down there doesn’t make the jump any easier to prepare for. With the trust and guidance of those that have jumped many times before, and those that work for the Nevis Highwire Bungy Jumping Company in Queenstown, New Zealand; there’s no other option but to jump.
Step 4. Actually jumping off the platform
After standing on the edge of the platform, with every possible reason going through your mind, and excuse why I shouldn’t do it; I've yet to realize that the best part is yet to come. I’ve spent my money, I’ve come this far, and now it’s time to actually do it.
I throw myself as far off the edge of the platform as I can, while trying to make a graceful head-first dive. It was not graceful. Nor was it a very good dive. I’ve never done well with diving into water, so why would it be any different diving into an open canyon. As I free-fall at incredible speeds (which feels like a guaranteed death on the jagged canyon floor, only to be washed down river and never seen again), with the wind rushing past my body; I can only think that I’ve definitely gone crazy.
Step 5. The bungy recoil
It’s within this moment that I realize that it’s sometimes a good thing to be a little crazy. All previous thoughts of doubt and anxiety can now be completely washed away as my body rushes full of adrenaline. The free-fall experience is incredible, but the next moment - the moment of pure relief - when the tension in the bungy cord grasps at it's furthest distance. At that point, my body is shot upwards in the opposite direction, away from the canyon floor. That’s the magic of physics at it’s best! Isn’t it great?!
I look back and feel great that I was able to do something so crazy, yet to amazing. There were numerous opportunities along the way to back out and not face my fears, but I’m so glad that I did. I still don’t completely get along with heights, but I’m happy that I was able to have this experience. Pushing my limits and always trying something new is what I’m always striving to do. I always need to remind myself to say yes more often to fun activities and adventures. And I encourage you to do the same as well.
Watch the video below of when I let my crazy side take over, and jumped the 134 metre plunge with Nevis Highwire Bungy in Queenstown, New Zealand:
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