Travel writer Nathan McGregor decides it’s time to stare his phobias straight in the eyes as he books himself in to do one of New Zealand’s most adrenaline packed activities, the Queenstown Nevis Bungy.
SOME people go travelling to meet new people, others new surroundings. I personally chose to also do it for these reasons, but to also push myself to my body’s limits and overcome personal fears. This includes heights.
And you don’t get much higher than the Queenstown Nevis Bungy.
That’s where I’ll start then I guess.
It’s hard to explain how I felt through the whole experience. The day before: Excited. The morning of: Still excited. During the weigh-in and first safety brief: A little concerned at the weight I had put on, but still excited. The bus ride, followed by the equipment set-up and final safety brief: Oddly confident. As soon as my feet went into the carriage that transports you out to the suspended bungy-base: Nervous as hell.
It was as this point I thought I might actually be unable to do this.
It’s also hard to focus on something else to take your mind off of it as all the mountains that surround the carriage are grey, making you feel that you are trapped inside some kind of cylindrical grey funnel.
At the bottom there is a small river that flows between the mountains. I found myself gazing at this as I managed to look away from my feet. Most people will say not to look down if you are scared of heights, but I found the calming colour of blue between the grey mountains actually help settle the nerves a little.
Another factor that helped to calm the growing anxiety was all the staff involved. From the bus driver, to the safety brief to the gents in the jump HQ, all were very friendly, confident and helpful people. They all seemed to wear the AJ Hackett brand with pride. These were people I felt I could trust, I had to.
I was second to jump. If I had to chose a number, I would have chose second. Not first and definitely not last.
There are some moments that I will remember for the rest of my life, these next few are definitely some of them:
Being ushered up to the ledge and being told to step forward, but instead I just did I slight military tap on the spot.
Remembering at this point to not actually look down but instead focus on where the river first comes into view from.
I’m even getting quite sweaty reliving this…
A member of the team releases a white cone-like mechanism next to you in free-fall. I’m guessing this is used to help bring you back in. But it’s also surprising weighty – I thought it was going to drag me down with it. At this point my mindset was basically: ‘Oh well, I have to go now. Otherwise they’ll have to bring it back in.’
Travel New Zealand: Queenstown Nevis Bungy
They count down from three and then you jump out.
I jumped out on two I think and opted for the much discussed ‘titanic pose’.
I’ve been asked to compare the feeling of this to something other people could relate to, but I can’t.
I remember initially enjoying the first two seconds, then hating the next four as you picked up serious speed in free-fall. Then laughing hysterically, as I never thought I would have the cahonas to do something like this. Finally, after releasing the green belt by your ankles so you are not salmoned back up, actually enjoying the views and just feeling good about yourself and what you have just accomplished.
Of course when I was back up at HQ I pleaded to be brought back in with much haste and safety.
Because I went second I was also able to really enjoy watching other people then do it after me; watch their fear pre-jump but then revel in their happiness and joy at having completed it.
I think I was also the first Scotsman to do the jump whilst wearing a turtleneck. I’m going to go with that.
Ask yourself: Why are you travelling? Whatever your answer is you should always aim to reach the maximum amount you are capable of. Whether that might be either making hundreds of new friends or searching for that perfect view at the top of a mountain.
I don’t know how I will top this – jump from a helicopter, maybe..?
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This article originally appeared on bbmlive.com