They say that the only way to conquer your fear is to FACE IT.
And though I’ve always believed in that saying, it has never felt frighteningly truer than when I recently visited the beautiful island of Guam where I had the amazing opportunity to go skydiving. Yes… SKYDIVING! What the eff! Why is an acrophobic like me even considering jumping off a plane flying thousands of feet up in the air?! Well, it didn’t really start out as a done deal when I arrived in Guam. Though the offer to go skydiving has long been standing even weeks before the trip, my decision to actually “take the leap” (pun intended, obviously!) didn’t happen until minutes before our trip to the hangar.
Honestly, Victor and Jeff, whom I was traveling with were also on the fence on taking on this challenge. It was all our first time and we really didn’t know what to expect.
An amazing skydiving experience at Skydive Guam
To give you an idea of how freaked out we were during “jump day”, our trip to the Skydive Guam hangar was filled with quiet conversation laced with a ton of expletives. Most of our talks as we nervously sat on the last row of the van traveling to the airstrip didn’t really make any sense. We were talking to one another, but in truth, what came out of our mouths were only words that tried to convince our own selves.
As we made our way to the Skydive Guam office where our short briefing, orientation and waiver signing were to take place, it felt as if ice cold water was slowly being poured over my head. I clearly remember how, as we anxiously watched the skydiving introduction video, Jeff held my arm and I could swear that his clammy palms felt as cold as a corpse. Hahaha!
Minutes felt like hours as we nervously whiled each ticking second inside the receiving area of Skydive Guam. We were given our jumpsuits moments later… and as we were putting them on, the realization that we would be free-falling thousands of feet above ground started to sink in.
Vic, Jeff and I were eventually whisked away and brought to an area inside the Skydive Guam facility where we would meet our professional skydive tandem partners. These guys were the ones who suited us up with the necessary harnesses and safety straps. Bobby, the tandem partner assigned to me by Skydive Guam, actually did an amazing job in making me feel a bit more relaxed. As he hooked me up and secured my gear, he assured me that everything was going to be fine. “Besides…”, he said with a laugh, “…if anything goes wrong, my fright won’t last too long!” I nervously laughed along. Hehehe.
After we were all geared up, we made our way to the plane which was waiting for us on the runway just behind the Skydive Guam facility.
Some last-minute reminders were given to us. Before we boarded the plane. We were told not to worry about the entire experience because our tandem partners at Skydive Guam are trained and fully competent with more than 8,000 jumps behind them. Our partners each have two GoPros mounted on their hands to document the entire jump… so, the only thing we needed to worry about, according to them, was looking good for the camera. I pretty much translated that to “Don’t freak out and look like a screaming girl!” Hahahahaha!
Our plane finally took off and slowly acsended as I excitedly looked out the open door. As the structures and vehicles on the ground started getting smaller and smaller, my heart pounded harder and faster. “Oh, sh*t! This is really happening!”, I thought to myself.
No sooner than saying a quick prayer and mustering enough courage to look calm and composed, we were immediately given the go signal by the pilot to make the jump. I quickly recalled what and what not to do during the dive and to always look good (or at the very least, “presentable”) for the camera.
Victor went first. Watching them drop out of the plane was just insane. The mere thought that I was jumping off next just made my heart race like never before.
Next thing I knew, my legs were dangling on the side of the plane as I was firmly fastened to my tandem partner who was behind me.
With a slight nudge forward by Bobby, and with no resistance whatsoever (because I had no control over everything that was happening), we immediately went hurtling through the air tumbling and spinning.
The feeling was insanely surreal. The intense rush one gets from the free fall is indescribable. The sensation of having butterflies in my stomach actual lasted a good 5 seconds only. The reason for this, according to Bobby, is because unlike a roller coaster that starts slow during the climb and suddenly accelerates during the drop, when you jump off the plane, your body is pretty much traveling at the same speed and velocity of the aircraft already.
The moment we found our balance and proper position during the free fall it was just a sweet sweet thrill that I couldn’t get enough of. I just started taking it all in with the kind of joy that’s hard to describe and a huge smile that I couldn’t contain – which you could barely see because of all that air rushing through my face! Hahaha!
Bobby, even let me handle both controls of our parachute which I excitedly pulled back and forth as we soared high above the beautiful island of Guam.
Before I knew it, we were seconds to landing. My tandem partner took the reigns of the parachute and expertly maneuvered our way to the landing spot. Closer and closer. Then… touchdown.
I have no regrets whatsoever on doing the skydive at Skydive Guam. I probably would’ve regretted it more if I didn’t push through with it.
And since words fail to fully detail this awesome thrill, here is a video of my actual skydiving experience at Skydive Guam for you to enjoy.
This is one experience I won’t soon forget. And hey… I get to cross off one item on my bucket list – the kind of item that a lot of people could only hope doing.
I strongly encourage you to experience skydiving yourselves – even for just one fleeting moment. It may seem extremely frightening (and I won’t judge you for freaking out), but the thrill and sense of accomplishment you get in the end greatly outweighs your huge apprehensions.
I’d like to thank Ms. Carmel Carpio and the amazing people of the Guam Visitors Bureau for the incredible opportunity to go skydiving at SkyDive Guam. Carmel, thank you for convincing me to reconsider taking on the awesome chance of a lifetime.
Thank you to my skydiving buddies – Victor Basa and Jeff Lo. Together we overcame our fears in the funniest yet most memorable of ways! We did it, guys!
Thank you also to Skydive Guam for making my first ever skydiving experience a truly unforgettable one.
So… did I permanently overcome my fear of heights? Probably not. But on this particular occasion, I realized that my will and determination are most definitely stronger than any immediate fear. And because of that, half the battle is already won.