The skydiving paradox:
surrender control at 4000m



Bring it on! It’s just jumping and falling, right?

Break your comfort zone is my go-to advice to grow and experience life!
Usually, I am the one pushing others’ limits, but this time tables turned and I had that ‘pleasure’.

Just a typical night out with friends, all talk and banter, until Poly (routine collaborator in crimes) puts a spin on things: “You made me a climber, let me make you a skydiver”.
A trio of tequilas and a bit of ego push, and I’m all in.

These three tequilas…

Day zero: everything is still under control

An amusing day with Branco, filled with theory and land exercises. I learn all the different ways I can die. No wonder why he doesn’t smile often. I am starting to realize what is coming. All is still under control. Just another skill to learn. Not a big deal!

They’re flying. I’m just falling, uncontrolled.

First jump. Held by two instructors while working through the exercises. Adrenalin hits, and 40secs feels like 5. I expect to have more control, but it is complete chaos. The air feels solid and every small move makes a big difference. I have a death timer on my hand (the altitude meter). Relax to be stable they say, sure, just have to ignore the death watch on my arm. Trying to chill in a free fall is like trying to nap on a roller coaster.
Can’t even remember if I deploy my parachute or if one of the instructors did, but anyway, I land successfully and a few minutes later, I am on the ground.

I am silent and regretful

The control freak I am for the first time ever I have to trust my life to people I barely know. Pushing all my safety limits here!

Moments away from a 'chaos' revelation!
Moments away from a ‘chaos’ revelation!
The smile on Poly's face and the doubt in my eyes
The smile on Poly’s face and the doubt in my eyes

Few jumps later and I’m out

The AFF course suggests the first solo after 6-7 assisted jumps. I suggest a reality check!
I almost just manage to do the exercises, but everything feels on the edge and this is terrifying. The moment these instructors let go, I’m pretty much a human tornado, and opening the parachute alone? Forget about it! The danger of a parachute deployment while spinning? Twisted lines, and well, you get the picture…

Never before has my mental state been so impactful. Being relaxed is crucial and I can’t do it! Tension builds up even from the night before. The nightmares scream that this day could be my last.

On the bright side, there’s definitely a light in the tunnel. One of the jumps was different. I was late. Zero time for nerves – it was a hilarious run from my car seat straight into the plane’s cabin and the jump was perfect.

It felt beautiful and fluid.

This success gives me hope, but I decide to hit the pause button . Need some time to rethink my goals. What’s my endgame here? What am I trying to prove? Sure, pushing my limits is how I want to experience life, but at such a high risk? Nah, I might skip this one. I choose life over a short story of an adrenaline junkie.
I decided to quit! Well not exactly, just a step back. I’m switching gears to the more manageable method: wind tunnel practice.

The wind tunnel – I feel ready and excited

Yep, it’s becoming expensive, but then again, this is skydiving – where ‘free’ is always followed by ‘falling’!” Must be in the small print so I move on. Poly’s excitement for our first air bachata is more energizing than a Jack Russell on Red Bull. Honestly, her thrill is the secret behind my sky-high motivation to keep pushing. Tunnel completed! I’m pumped and ready!

1h in the tunnel(2min sessions) Enough time to chill and practice everything, especially the parachute pull.
1h in the tunnel(2min sessions) Enough time to chill and practice everything, especially the parachute pull.

Things did happen, just not as planned

My first jump after the wind tunnel is a comedy, I am all over the place – a human pinball. What is going on? The air feels different in the sky. It is different because I am different. It’s all a mental game! Another motivation hit, but I’m not giving up yet. I have another idea.

I am ditching the course playbook. Doing many things in a single jump is too intense.
My approach – one jump one exercise – keep it chill and focus on arching.

Jump 15 – first solo and I’m all in one piece!

Some become skydivers in just 7 jumps – proving that it is all a mind game. Less mental baggage equals perfect arching. This is why youngsters often surprise in skydiving, no worries just free-falling fun. The big invaluable lesson for me is experiencing firsthand the dominance of the mind over the body.

Staying relaxed on a free fall with a death timer on the wrist
(the skydiving paradox)

Despite internally freaking out, falling through the clouds looks so cool and peaceful.
Despite internally freaking out, falling through the clouds looks so cool and peaceful.
Thumbs up to Skydive Sofia for not letting me become a pancake! True pros!
Thumbs up to Skydive Sofia for not letting me become a pancake! True pros!

And finally – Expectations vs reality

A year down the line, chaos is a memory. Some more wind tunnel and several jumps and I’ve earned my A license. Now, Poly and I are sky buddies. But this isn’t just about skydiving, it’s about breaking limits. What I think would be a simple jumping and falling turns into a self-discovery journey and a crash course in humility.

Practical applications? Well, aside from potentially looking cool during a plane crash scenario, this experience has given me a unique perspective. It’s about knowing when to hold on and when to let go, understanding that sometimes the greatest control comes from surrender.

As it turns out, the mind really does rule over matter.

As for the next self-discovery journey? With an open mind, the sky becomes the beginning, not the limit.

YouTube video
Training with Poly for our first tandem jump. 
The ultimate goal is within reach!
Training with Poly for our first tandem jump. The ultimate goal is within reach!

Two years later – the happy end!

YouTube video