The Sky's the Limit! - Skydiving

Yesterday I got to go tandem skydiving! It was an absolutely incredible and thrilling experience, and this is from someone who used to refuse to go on roller coasters because the sense of falling scared me. Proof that people can change, haha. I definitely enjoyed it and would love to go again!

I used the company Skydive Sacramento, and jumped from 13,000 ft. We got a good deal using Groupon, so I definitely recommend looking there if you are going to go in Sacramento. My super cool dad came along with me. We arrived at the location in Lincoln, California, a warehouse building in a patch of dry farmland. After filling out paperwork (signing our lives away) and watching a corny safety video that was at least 20 years old, we were introduced to our tandem instructors. There was a bit of a breeze, so my hair decided to blow every which way during the entire experience, haha.

The instructors helped us put on the harness and explained the logistics of exiting the plane safely.
We entered the airport through a back gate and got into a plane. I had never been in a plane so small- it only had a seat for the pilot, and we sat on the floor, facing the rear of the plane.

The anticipation built during the ascent, watching buildings fade to squares, then fade to entire blocks and squares of empty farmland. We could see downtown Sacramento, Folsom Lake, and the mountains surrounding us. I couldn't believe that we would actually be throwing ourselves out of an airplane at such a dizzying height, but I was also very excited.

Our instructors strapped our harnesses to theirs, told us to put on our googles, and then the door opened. My dad exited the plane with his instructor first, and then it was my turn. 

The instructor and I slid to the side of the airplane, swung our feet out onto a little step, and then he pushed us out into the void. We fell instantly, and time sort of slowed to a stop. 
This hairstyle is hereby known as the upside-down freefall mohawk
First, we somersaulted a few times as we exited the plane, and my first impression was watching the horizon spin a few times as I hurtled toward Earth in freefall. Strangely enough, it didn't feel much like the standard sensation of falling. I didn't feel a drop in my stomach the way falling normally is. It almost felt unreal to see the earth so small below. In the pictures, I look absolutely terrified during the initial roll, but I think I was mostly shocked and disoriented.

During a roll, upside-down relative to the Earth.
As we straightened out, I felt the wind straight in my face. It was seriously like having a leaf blower blowing in my face and all around me. In the pictures, you can see my cheeks flopping up and down like putty. I tried to scream but couldn't hear myself, as I was dropping so quickly. My mouth was dry, and I felt the pressure in my ears build like diving to the bottom of a swimming pool. Yet it was one of the most amazing and liberating feelings in the world. It felt unreal, like everything was standing still yet somehow rushing toward me all at once.

Realizing the awesomeness of freefall
The combination of the speed, wind, dorky goggles, my squishy cheeks, GoPro lens distortion, and me trying to smile for the camera resulted in some REALLY hilarious photos, haha. By this time I was having so much fun.
I tried to look cute and instead look like a weird squishy alien
Before I knew it, the parachute opened and our descent slowed. I think the freefall lasted for about a minute, but the adrenaline made it hard to tell. I moved from falling horizontally to dangling upright. We turned from side to side and glided downward. I was able to remove my googles and enjoy the view. This part was fun but much less intense than freefall. It definitely made me want to try paragliding or parasailing sometime in the future.

Before we knew it, my dad and I landed safely back on Earth. Jittery and shaking from the adrenaline, I couldn't stop smiling as we walked back to the building to remove our harnesses.

Safely landed!
I absolutely loved the experience of skydiving! I am so glad that I proved to myself I could conquer my fears. I can't wait to have more adventures like this. If you are considering going skydiving, please do and be safe!