Experience life outside your comfort zone, one of the many challenges you are asked to face when becoming a team member for Chennai Challenge. I don’t think it gets any more outside your comfort zone then a skydive! I am one person who definitely likes to keep my feet firmly on the ground and only being 4’11 I’m never far from the ground either!
So in some moment of insanity I decided, to raise money this year I would jump out of a plane with a complete stranger at 10,000ft in the air.
So 17th April 2011 was the day. A very early start and a long journey to Nottingham begins the day. A slight detour with road works and diversions but eventually we get there with time to spare. Firstly a sausage and egg bap to get me going (after all it could be the last meal I eat). Then briefing time. A chance for us to be shown everything we will need to know to be able to complete this skydive safely. A few funny positions shown to us in the hope that we would remember. Legs back, hips out, head up, arms crossed… oh and don’t forget to smile at the camera! And that was before we left the plane. Then it was remembering to land safely. Nothing like a safety brief to settle those nerves!
Then the waiting begins and what better way to take your mind of whats coming then a game of uno! I lost of course. At this point I’m still not really nervous just excited which is surprising me. Then one by one we go, Dawn first, Joel next and after a plane of solo divers me and Max finally get up there.
The ride up to our height was interesting. Very cramped but breathtaking with the views. Still at this point I’m not noticeably nervous. We get to about 7,000ft and we start to prepare, helmets and gloves on but that’s not until we have been hitched up onto the lap of our instructor and strapped onto him within no room to spare (very snug).
Even while my instructor shuffled his way to the door of the plane I was relatively okay. It wasn’t till I was hanging out the door with the instructor rocking back and forth and trying to remember what I needed to with my legs, arms and head that my heart started to pound. Then we fall. At first you spin around but then once in position in the air the freefall is amazing! Such an exhilarating experience, it really does not feel like 131mph. The noise was incredible. I was enjoying that moment so much that I forgot I had a cameraman filming the whole thing and at the very moment he must have been getting great shots of my fetching helmet. Ooops, quick get my head up!
After 41secs our parachute is deployed. With a drastic change in speed we start to descend leisurely taking in the views, which were incredible. Eventually we get to the airfield and spin over it a bit. I catch a glimpse of our group and even manage a wave. Then in no time at all I hit the ground, safely.
All the planning and organisation and months of begging people for money and it is now over. Had they given me the opportunity to get back on the plane and go again I would have jumped at the chance! It was possibly one of the best experiences I will ever have.
This experience has taught me to forget my inhibitions and take chances. Never letting anyone especially myself tell me I can’t. The one surprising reaction I had when telling people I was doing this was ‘you’re very brave, I couldn’t do it’!!! How do you know? Until you step out of your comfort zone and try the impossible, never say never. I have given myself an experience I will never forget and in the process raised a great amount of money to change the lives of others.
Thank you to all who came and supported us, and a huge thank you goes to all those who have sponsored us.