I was a late bloomer when it came to discovering a life beyond work, one that is inspired by adventure and exploration. It started when it suddenly dawned on me that I was turning 30 and my life plans were pretty much limited to planning for meetings, deliverables, going to the movies or shopping. To make up for my lost twenties, I signed up for the Everest Base Camp trek. The 15 days EBC trek turned out to be an exhilarating and life changing experience – I had now tasted blood. I soon followed it up by signing up for a half marathon. The hours/days spent trekking and running made the experience even more satisfying to me – it felt like a journey, allowing me to fully soak in the experience and made the sense of achievement even sweeter.
So, when my sister suggested sky diving for our next adventure, I wasn’t completely convinced. Spending so much money for a 60 seconds of blink-and-you-miss-it kind of thrill didn’t seem like my idea of adventure. But the idea of jumping out of a plane and freefall was hard to resist and I easily gave in. We had to do a lot of research before we could finalize our operator for sky diving – price was one factor (we were going to sky dive in Switzerland) but we were more concerned about safety and wanted to make sure our operator had the required licenses or certifications. During our research we also realized that the altitude from which you jump matters. Several international phone calls and online research later, we had fixed our operator and the date. We were going to jump from an altitude of 15,000ft in tandem, i.e. strapped to an experienced sky diving instructor, from an airplane. We also took the package with pictures and videos, basically the whole deal (didn’t want to risk missing out on anything!).
We had to report at their office at 8 AM and didn’t really have to train or prepare in advance for the dive, just pray for good weather and show up on time! On the D day, we woke up to clear blue skies promising good views of the Swiss Alps but the nervous excitement didn’t let me enjoy my breakfast. Our group included three teenage American girls, one college-going solo traveler, a mother-daughter pair and two licensed skydivers. None of us had done it before so there was a lot of nervous chatter as they drove us to the air base.
On reaching the air base we were introduced to our tandem masters and given basic training on Do’s and Don’ts after we put the diving suit on. I guess the masters could sense that we were trying to mask our nervousness so they cracked jokes and were extremely friendly. We felt like we were in safe hands (literally!). Our tandem masters then started shooting our videos trying to capture our excitement on camera and also asked if we had a message for our family and friends. My sister and I decided to tell our parents about our adventure only after we had done as we didn’t want to unnecessarily worry.
As our airplane was flying to an altitude of 15,000 ft., our tandem masters strapped us to them, shot some more video and tried to calm our nerves. I am not scared of heights but just the idea of what I was going to experience was making me jittery.
And the experience didn’t let me down – I must have sat on the edge of the airplane strapped to my tandem master ready to jump for barely a few seconds but the view of being in the middle of snow covered mountains and clouds was so mesmerizing that I forgot I had to jump. And that’s when my tandem master pushed us off the plane and I was now flying and experiencing adrenaline rush like never before!
I realized that the speed at which we were free falling was so strong that my mouth was forced wide open into a smile and I was grateful for the eye mask that I had on. My tandem master now open the parachute and we started our descent. He even handed me the loops to maneuver the chute for a few seconds and it was fun as hell! And just when I thought the thrill was getting over, there came the excitement (read anxiety) of landing at such high speed – thankfully, I only had to keep my legs up while my tandem master made sure that we landed safely.
I had grossly underestimated the thrill, adrenaline rush and joy that can be packed into something that lasts barely a minute and I was happily proven wrong.
Experience your own adventure in Switzerland by booking your Switzerland Adventure package on GoFro today!
Author: Neha Yadav
Neha is a consultant by profession who shuttles between India & America. She loves trekking, running half marathons and of course exploring new places around the world.