CAMARILLO, Calif. – When you're terrified of heights, the only logical thing to do is jump out of a perfectly good airplane, right?
OK, now that we've gotten that out of the way...
Sometimes your friends want to do something crazy and sometimes you agree to join, and the next thing you know, you're thousands of feet above the ground remembering that heights are your biggest fear.
I'm scared of heights to the point where climbing a ladder makes me shake uncontrollably, yet skydiving is something I've always wanted to do.
A few months back, I reconnected with a childhood friend, Jessica. While we were talking about everything we had in common, she asked me if I would ever go skydiving. A few days later, she told me she wanted to go somewhere warm and we should go skydiving in California.
I agreed and I was excited, but honestly, I wasn't sure if she was being serious. I mean, we hadn't seen each other in 14 years and suddenly we're planning to fly across the country to jump out of a plane...
But on July 26, that's exactly what we did.
Watch GoPro videos of the experience below.
Surprisingly, I was pretty calm as we climbed to 10,000 feet, squished in a little plane that left Camarillo Airport. I was relaxed and ready to go, my fear of heights somehow magically gone, until the door opened for Jessica to go. As soon as she jumped, it was as if the sky sucked up her and her instructor, and my panic set in. (Skip to 2:20 in my video below to see the look of pure terror on my face at that moment.)
When it was my turn to jump, I scooted out of the plane and put my feet on a little step before my instructor pushed us off into the air. By that point, my fear had taken over, but it was replaced with a rush of adrenaline the minute my feet moved.
The first second after the jump felt like I was going speed toward the ground, but after we flipped in the air, it was a completely different sensation.
I don't really know how to describe the feeling -- it was a mix between flying and floating. Once the quick free fall ended, I was just hanging there, as if I was standing on top of the air, surrounded by mountains that looked small, and a booming silence.
It was a surreal moment. If you ever want to feel tiny, hop out of a plane.
Even after facing my fears in the most extreme way, turbulence on the flight back to Michigan still made me uneasy. I don't think that fear of heights will ever fully diminish, but I definitely will be skydiving again.