I Went Flying

When I was a little girl, I was obsessed with the idea of flying. When my parents’ friends would ask what I wanted to do when I grew up, I’d say, “I want to fly.”

“In an airplane?” they’d confirm.

“No! I just want to fly.”

Eventually, I would get adamant. I didn’t want to be a pilot, I wanted to magically sprout wings or spontaneously develop super powers.

When playing, I’d flap my arms while jumping off the couch, wear capes, try my hardest to get a moment of aerial suspension while carefully stepping onto helium balloons. At my most desperate, I seized the opportunity to grab the outside of the up escalator in Sears when I was five. For a few seconds, my feet left the floor and I was going higher and higher until my mother nearly had a heart attack and “rescued” me.

I think she knew it was inevitable that I would go skydiving one day.

Two years ago, I had the opportunity to go during one of the Automattic Grand Meetups, but chickened out and immediately regretted it. So when the opportunity came up this year, I signed up right away. Quite literally, my name was first on the list.

And then this happened, thanks to Skydive Utah.

It’s about eight hours later and I still can’t get over the rush. Once the parachute opened in the sky, I kept thinking, “I have to do this again. I want to do this again and again.” For better or worse, it felt like the first time I got tattooed. As soon as I was finished, I was ready for another.

It wasn’t scary until my tandem guide started walking us to the door. There was no “Ready, set, go.” We were just moving, and I was trying to remember all the rules they’d taught us before going up. As soon as we were out, though, I could see the gorgeous mountains of Utah all around us and the Great Salt Lake.

It really feels like a blur. I never felt like I was falling to the earth, but just floating in space, albeit with some hefty winds. As soon as the parachute opened, my guide announced, “Good news, the parachute works!” Despite my best efforts at laughing, I could hardly speak. I was in awe of everything around me: the whole experience, being able to see the world from this perspective. Of course, we also did some fun 360 spins and I got to “steer” the parachute for a bit.

Myself and Mike

It was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. The sense of humor in the folks who guided us was absolutely hilarious and appreciated. They somehow managed to make me feel extremely secure all along the way. Though, you can’t quite see it in the pictures and the video — in which I saw that I was apparently paralyzed by fear and awe — I’m so thrilled. What a gorgeous place for my first fall, and a great group of people, too.

Author: Erica V.

Always seriously joking and rambunctiously soft-spoken.

4 thoughts on “I Went Flying”

  1. I read this while we were still in Utah and I haven’t stopped thinking about it. You’ve written about sky diving in a way I’ve never heard it described before – as flying – and you’ve made it seem less scary and more transcendent than the terrifying prospect I’ve always considered it to be. I still doubt I’ll ever want to do it, but with a description like “I never felt like I was falling to the earth, but just floating in space,” I think I understand now.

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