Sunday 28 July 2013

Closest I have come to flying - Finally!

It took nearly 2.5 years for Tina and I to get an opportunity to jump from an aircraft at 13000ft. above sea level. And I must emphasise that getting to this point wasn't easy - from plans not working out on one occasion to potential heart break the second time due to health reasons - there has been drama attached to the build up of this jump!

It was a video of a friend skydiving, on Facebook, which made me take notice of this adventure activity (in 2010). At that time it was nothing more than an observation that skydiving can be done by not-so-adventurous people as well (= people like me). One thing that definitely seeped in my subconscious though - I had to skydive! I had duly noted details of the group that provided this service from my friend's video - this group's based in Thailand (Thai Sky Adventures).

In 2011, Tina and I started planning our holiday and after some look around decided to know more about skydiving. A quick look at TSA's website and after few e-mail exchanges with TSA - we were sure to do make skydiving as the primary objective of that year's holiday. We booked a combined package with TSA, which offered skydiving and bungy jumping (60mts. - highest bungy in Thailand). Even bungy jumping hadn't been tried by either of us - we decided to take the adventure head-on!

All bookings were done and we were already feeling on top of the world with the thought that we would come back having done things not many had tried - activities that needed some amount of courage and required us to 'jump' outside our comfort-zone. In excitement, we told one and all about our plans and how much we were looking forward to experiencing the rush...

BUT - excess of anything is not recommended. We learnt this the hard way - a week before we were scheduled to leave for Thailand, we received an e-mail from TSA - informing us that due to some 'technical' issues, skydiving won't be possible. That e-mail put us in state of confusion - neither did we feel like going to Thailand now (because the primary reason was removed) nor could we cancel bookings (airlines / hotels) without losing money. The thought of losing money was strong enough for us to decide to go - at least we could still try out bungy jumping.

The week we spent in Thailand (2 nights @ Pattaya - home for TSA and 4 nights @ Phuket) was definitely the BEST holiday that we have had - despite missing out on skydiving!

In 2013 now, Tina and I were back to planning our next holiday - but we had a shorter time window available with us (4 days). Both of us were quick to look for other skydiving options and this time zeroed on Skydive Dubai. We booked tickets and hotel for our holiday in Dubai, but left skydiving bookings for a date closer to our travel dates - learning from our previous experience (with TSA). Another learning we took from past experience was not to share our plans with anyone, until we had done it - superstition one could say.

This time we were looking at a different potential road block in our way to skydive. I got down with a severe case of pneumonia and had to be hospitalised for a week - all this just 6 weeks before our travel dates. Not only this brought everyone around to a state of panic about my well being, but also reduced my energy levels - both these aspects together put doubts in our minds...whether I will be fit enough in time to go...whether doctors will allow me to take a holiday...whether our parents would approve of our plans!

Both of us hoped and prayed - not just for a fast & complete recovery for me, but also for all of the above doubts to be turned into approvals. I was finally given an all-clear from doctors a little more than 2 weeks from our travel dates...but parents had to be convinced still, which we knew was still a challenge despite doctor's 'all clear'. A false promise won me an approval from dad for this holiday.

Finally - we were in Dubai...finally we were at the location of skydiving in Dubai...finally we were booked to skydive..finally we were strapped in a harness...finally we were sitting in the aircraft to take us 13000ft. above sea level...finally, I was scared and excited at the same time...finally I was at the door, ready to jump, looking at beauty of sea, land and desert (unique combination in Dubai)...finally I was airborne, free falling, free of any thought in my mind, unaware of anything else but the adrenaline rush...finally I experienced flying in open skies...FINALLY!

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