7.28.2016

I Jumped 855 Feet - Twice

I just got back from Vegas, and have a LOT to talk about--some good, some bad, some ugly--but I have to mention the Skyjump first and foremost.



Video will be linked here asap; it is taking FOREVER to upload to YouTube.

Back in 2014, I leapt 855 feet from the Las Vegas stratosphere.  I never thought I'd experience the feeling again, but after getting back to the Strip and watching little bodies fly off the edge over and over I knew it was something I needed to do again.

It's not a bungee jump, but an actual free fall off the tower's edge.  You're hanging onto a safety rope and it slows about fifty feet from the ground, so it's full speed until you hit the bottom (and if you're me, trip all over the attendant who catches you.) 855 feet is no joke; it's taller than Hoover Dam!  The actual fall is somewhere between 14 to 17 seconds, which is a looooooong time to fall. Since my original blog entry about the jump was eaten, I'll summarize how it felt.



It was terrifying the first time.  From the moment I checked in, all throughout getting my equipment checked and re-checked, I was absolutely petrified and time seemed to move in liquid-slow motion.  I heard one great bit of advice, I forget from who--the attendants give a countdown. DON'T hesitate after the countdown, just use that as your 'sentencing' and go.  I did just that, and even though the half hour leading up to the jump I felt like I was walking to an electric chair or some other gruesome death, the moment my feet left the ground I felt amazing.



It's hard to explain why but I've always felt and noticed that adrenaline-kickstarts or near-death experiences really seem to 'readjust' my brain and make me feel happy for weeks, or even months, afterward.  I noticed this first in 2012, when my friend Brad and I went on this terrifying drop thing at a theme park in Utah called the Skycoaster.  He had to unhitch our cable and send us dropping several hundred feet. At the time he had been suffering really crippling depression and nothing I could do or say made the kid smile, but letting us loose in air seemed to make him actually happy--he talked about it for months and how nothing compared to the feeling of almost dying.  Chase, who has combat-related PTSD, has flat out told me the same thing: he's like me and loves the unnecessary brushes with death...like me, they make him feel alive and happy. I seriously wonder if someone should start funding skyjumps for therapy or something.

So for this jump, I was prepared.  There was still a bit of fear, but seeing the other jumpers and remembering that exuberant feeling, loving being alive, made me strengthen my resolve.  When the time came, I was putting on my clothes and heard my partner jumper ask a question to the attendant.  I immediately halted, recognizing her accent.  "Where are you from?"

"Sweden," she said.

"Ah...jag pratar svenska."

Her face lit up, she couldn't believe it!  This girl was jumping for her first time, in Vegas for the first time, and she was scared and petrified and not only could I guide her through what to do and how to prepare for the jump, but I could even speak her language and discuss her country with her! The 108 floor elevator ride was full of Swenglish and exchanging our ideals on the quirks of socializing in Sweden versus America.  Everything transformed so quickly into being supportive and chatty that I almost forgot what awaited me, until I stepped out onto that blue little ledge.



And then I was like "oh...shit." HAHA.

But it was beautiful.  A wonderful, lengthy flight, an actual leap of faith.  Sailing down alongside the tower and drinking in all of Vegas's night lights.  I would recommend it to anyone.

Would you jump?

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