"Smile for the camera" the man next to me said as he pointed upward. Without even knowing it, I mustered up a smile while my mind screamed at me to focus.
My 20/20 eyesight was focused into two narrow tunnels, with everything else being blurred,
"Alright mate, back up behind the line" he continued to give me instructions and somehow my distracted body was responding. Instantly remembering how high up I was, my limbs received a surge of warmth as the adrenaline was released inside me. Stepping backwards seemed to take forever; the line felt like it was 5 miles away. Finally my toes passed a red tape line and I was in position. My mind finally decided that I was going to do this and compensated by gathering all of my extra adrenaline and rapidly injecting it into my psyche. Each heartbeat felt as if I had something inside my chest trying to escape. Whatever it was, it did not want to go along for the ride,
BOOM! My chest had to be visibly rising from this insane heartbeat,
BOOM! BOOM! The rate quickened,
Complete silence. I cant even hear my footsteps as my feet shoot forward at a sprint. I was not telling them to do anything, they were acting on their own. One foot places itself hard on the platform and the muscles in my leg flex as if their life depends on it. I remember I am supposed to do a certain pose as my body leaves the opening to the platform and exits into pure air and nature.
For a split second my mind is clear. I am flying...I am level with the mountains and not moving. My full vision returns and the air cools my body. My ankles are in my hands as I successfully finish my pose and hold.
Then the world around me blurs again, not because of my vision, but because the earth is falling. Or am I falling? My sound returns, but the only thing I hear is the rushing noise of falling ripping past my eardrums. Still facing forward at the mountain range, I admire its beauty for what feels like an eternity as I plummet to what my mind has me convinced is my doom. More and more trees pass by me, more and more cliff faces, as I am just...falling.
The sight of the ground quickly greets me and just at the point of thinking there will be no return, I am saved by something. I shoot backwards and up, as if a presence has hand-picked me for saving. Quickly, my mind and its critical reasoning skills come back to me as I revel in the joy of just having done my first bungee jump. As I bounce up and down with the bungee cord I come to a startling and mother-terrifying conclusion. I am addicted to adrenaline. The obnoxious heart pounding that I received before the jump, and the incredible sensation of jumping off of a very high place -- that feeling of falling, cannot be matched. It is both a terrifying and freeing experience to force your body to do something that it damn well knows it shouldn't. Just talking about it gets me excited and pumped up, and clearly I enjoyed it; this face doesnt lie:
Bungee jumping was by far the scariest experience of my New Zealand trip. It defies everything that your body thinks is correct...to be honest, I really think that my mind thought I was jumping to my death. But the company I bungeed with wouldnt be very good at their jobs if they had people dying would they? In fact, they had a 100% safety rating and I was really impressed with the amount of precautions that they took for their customers and employees.
I hope that you enjoyed my play-by-play description of bungee jumping, for some of you, I know it may be the closest you ever come to strapping in and jumping off something. For anyone else willing to try it? You absolutely must do it. It is more than just "fun", it is sensational in every meaning of the word. Your senses change behavior, your body moves without input from your brain, and when it comes down to it, its just you. Jumping. From. A. Really. High. Place. If you have ever seen a James Bond or Mission Impossible (and trust me, I felt like I could have introduced myself as "Rath, Jordan Rath" for the rest of the day) and wanted to get a glimpse of what those stunts feel like, then bungee jumping is something that should be on your bucket list...along with skydiving, but that's not until next post ;-)
Enjoy the video of my jump! (Not sure how good the quality is so if it is bad, check out a better HD version of it on my Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=2272548486710 )