Friday, July 9, 2010
What was I thinking?
I don't know what came over me. I have never had a strong desire to go bungee jumping, sky diving, paragliding or other such things. Probably because the thought of being that high makes me ill. As I was perusing my options while here, I saw the page on tandem flying. I looked at it, chuckled to myself: the thought of me, in the air? Yeah right.
And that's what did it. I considered the reasons to not do it, and the only reason which came to mind was that feeling in the pit of my stomach, my fear telling me not to do it. But you see, I have this strange attitude towards fear. I have trouble allowing it to hold me back. Now. This is a change, likely due to the fact that I faced a huge fear by moving to Spain for six months, alone. I survived that and know that it was worth all the fear and anxiety. Now I feel that there is no reason to let fear get in the way of me doing things. Anything. Including running off a mountain.
So that's what I did. It took me two days to think it though and get up the courage to even inquire at reception about how to make it happen. The sweet girl working that day asked if I was nervous, and of course I said yes. She assured me that it was safe. Then she giggled and said: "But I don't do it. Haha"
She called and scheduled me an appointment, even printed off the bus information and gave me a discount card. It was as good as done.
And so I embarked on this adventure. It didn't really hit me what I had gotten myself into, until I saw the yellow parachute gliding well above my head. That is when I started to scratch my scalp.
But there was no backing out. Lois, the instructor, introduced himself and quickly saw my nerves. He asked if I was nervous and I said "yes, very nervous." He said: "Goot. It very goot." I don't know if he was trying to assure me that it was going to be good, or if it was a good thing I was nervous...
Either way, I bought my lift ticket and climbed inside the little car to head up the mountain. Climbing the mountain surrounded by a sturdy box made my heart pound, and I couldn't believe I was actually going to be in the air, attached only to a parachute, from this height.
But I was wrong. I got out of the lift only to find another one, heading further up the mountain. My instructor quickly followed me out of another car. I looked at him and only pointed towards the other lift. He said: "Ya, we go up more." Luckily my stomach was empty; I wanted to vomit.
But up we went, Lois trying to make small talk, and assure me that it was good I was nervous...
We got out and set off for a small hill, sloping towards...nothing. Just the ground, thousands of meters away. He attached everything, including my harness to his, and told me all I had to do was walk when he told me to do so. I was expecting we would have to run off the cliff at full speed. We took a few steps to the right, then a few more, and suddenly the wind filled the parachute and we were in the air! I screamed (I had previously warned him there was a good probability of that happening) and kicked my feet, covering my eyes for just seconds, before I realized I was flying. After that, I squealed in amazement. I hardly stopped laughing the whole flight. It was incredible. Absolutely incredible. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Check out the video I posted yesterday (below the post about my hike) and look at my photos on Picasa!
Now it is time to get ready for another hike and my last day in Austria!
I will be home in FIVE short days. Unbelievable.
P.s. I saw the woman from reception on my way back. She asked how it was. I told her how amazing it was, and that if I can do it, she can do it. She said she just might.