This is a guest post that I sent to Aloysa at My Broken Coin a couple of years ago. I thought this would make a nice follow up to the more serious Go It Alone post since I compared striking out on your own to bungee jumping or skydiving.
In 2006, I flew to New Zealand to meet up with my parents. We planned to caravan around the North Island for 10 days before going to visit my Aunt in Melbourne. I guess it might sound strange for a 32 year-old guy to be going on vacation with his parents, but I haven’t seen them for a few years and I wanted to drive them around and show them a good time. Mrs. RB40 was working on her Master’s degree and she went to Oaxaca for a class at the same time so we had separate vacations that year.
New Zealand was just awesome. The country side was lush, green, and beautiful; it really reminded me of Hobbit country. The people were very friendly and relaxed so this was my kind of place. Auckland felt like any city, but outside of that big city most places had a small town feel. Anyway, I had always wanted to try bungee jumping and what better place to do it than the home of bungee jumping – New Zealand. I researched before I left and found a good spot at Taupo bungy. This jump is off the cliff above the beautiful emerald Waikato River and you have the option to touch the water!
One of our stops was Lake Taupo, but my mom really didn’t want me to bungee. I could see it from her point of view, who would want to see their kid jump off a 150 foot tall cliff? So I thought to myself, I’ll do it another day when the parental unit is not around. We checked out the gypsy/carnival caravan, explored the town, hung out near the lake, and had a relaxing time in general. On our way out of town, I figured – let’s stop and see what the jump looks like.
We got there and it didn’t look that scary at all from the parking lot. The viewing area was level with the cantilever jumping platform so you only saw people jumping off and not how high the drop was. Then I saw a couple of girls doing a tandem jump and I thought to myself, “COME ON, girls are doing this!” So I told my mom, hey look everybody is fine.
That’s how I found myself at the plank looking down 150 feet to the river. And yes, I elected to touch the water. They told me to be stiff and fall forward like a board. But I tell ya, when you’re looking down that far, your body won’t edge forward like that. I only hesitated a second and then bent my knee and down I went. I saw the platform falling away and it was a perfect ZEN moment for me. My mind went completely blank and it was a great feeling of freedom.
So what did I learn from this experience other than bungee jumping is awesome? I learned that if you want something, just keep moving toward it. Even if you don’t get it right away, keep edging that direction and someday you’ll get there. Once you’re at the edge, just do it and don’t put it off. Tenuous? Maybe, but I’m sticking with it.
2012 update: Some of you may have seen the story of the Australian woman’s bungee jump over Victoria falls. The chord snapped and she fell into the river. Yikes, that is scary! I still think bungee jumping is pretty safe. She survived didn’t she? However, I will not do this again until baby RB40 is off on his own. Having a baby really change your perspective and I am not willing to take much risks anymore. Have you tried bungee jumping? Did you like it?