‘Jump and you will find out how
to unfold your wings as you fall’ – Ray Bradbury
Ah, bungy jumping. You’re a special one aren’t you? Me and bungy jumping, we have a special thing going on these days. It’s love. It really is. To date I have completed the following bungy jumps:
- Cairns Tower Bungy, Australia – 50m/164ft
- Kawarau Bridge, New Zealand – 43m/141ft
- The Nevis Bungy, New Zealand – 134m/439ft
And the plan is to, at some point, complete these ones too:
- Last Resort Bridge, Nepal – 160m/524ft
- Vidraru Dam, Romania – 166m/545ft
- Kolnbrein Dam, Austria – 169m/555ft
- Niouc Bridge, Switzerland – 190m/623ft
- Europabrucke Bridge, Austria – 192m/629ft
- Sochi 207, Russia – 207m/679ft
- Bloukrans Bridge, South Africa – 216m/708ft
- Contra Dam, Switzerland – 219m/720ft
- Macau Tower, China – 233m/764ft
I would have the Royal Gorge Bridge bungy in Colorado included in this list, but it is no longer open to the public.
But this post is about my first bungy jump. The Cairns Tower Bungy in 2015.
Now, as I mention in my post regarding #14 on my bucket list – skydiving – I do/did have a fear of falling from heights. With skydiving, through a mixture of alcohol and the choice being out of my hands, this fear was adequately dealt with. Bungy jumping, however, is a whole different ball game. But, as so often happens, I got so excited on the way to the jump I made the stupid decision to volunteer to go first amongst the small group of people I met in the minivan on the way there from the hostel.
Fast forward the weigh in and the walk up to the top of the tower bridge (yeah, they made us walk to the jumping platform), there I was getting strapped up and asked to stand up and make my way to the edge. In similar fashion to my skydive video, the shuffle to the board end elicited one of my best one-liners to date; “I feel like a f*cking penguin”.
To be honest, it’s true. I have felt that exact same feeling each time I have jumped since then.
Anyway, unlike in future jumps, I didn’t go first time in Cairns. I made the mistake of looking down and my body clamped up. I was finding it hard to breathe and really didn’t know if I could go through with it. I even found myself asking if I could be pushed!
Of course, they couldn’t push me. It’s something you have to do yourself. Your whole body starts screaming at you when you’re at the edge of that jumping board. Your mind is telling you not to jump because there is no logic. Your heartbeat quickens as the realisation of what you are about to attempt begins to set in. Your stomach begins to start doing somersaults.
In the end, it wasn’t quite a swan dive. In fact, it wasn’t even a dive at all. I fell – literally. I leaned out until I felt gravity pull me over the edge towards the ground below…
A couple of seconds later I found myself dunked under the water and flying back up into the air. Instantly I heard myself shout out in jubilation. To this day, I swear I saw what people would equate to their life “flashing before their eyes”. When you leap, you forget that your feet are attached to a cord. You have no idea whether or not your are facing your last seconds or if you are going to be jumped back up. In that moment, I faced my own humanity, my own mortality. The hit of the adrenaline coursing through my body was so great that I felt invincible.
I’ve been chasing that feeling ever since. I guess that’s why I want to jump from higher, to try and achieve that sudden blast of adrenaline and that feeling of invincibility. It’s hard to describe if you yourself have not experienced it yourself, other than as something that has thus far eluded me.
So I guess I’ll keep on jumping, at least until I find something that brings out in me, an equivalent reaction.
To see my full bucket list, click here