I think Tim McGraw would be very proud of CR10 today. Today I, along with many other CR members, went sky diving AND canyoning (rocky mountain climbing, and falling, essentially). I also kind of learned how to do a headstand (thank you Brittany and Lauren for holding my legs up). Today was full of literal and emotional highs, smiles, and singing. I loved singing Tim McGraw’s song “Live Like You Were Dying” with the entire bus of eleven CR members who were anxious to leap out of a plane and accelerate towards the Earth. All we need now is to ride a bull named Fu Man Chu for 2.7 seconds, and we would really be living, according to Tim McGraw. Maybe it’s coming in Italy, stay tuned….
When I first heard about the opportunity to sky dive from the people who were on CR 9, I was all about it. I have been looking forward to this day of adventure from the moment I knew that there could be a chance of it coming to fruition. I absolutely love an adventure that pushes my comfort zone, and for anyone who knew me as a child you would never believe this statement. I was able to share a little bit of my elementary school personality at dinner, but I was extremely shy. My mom even spent a whole summer teaching me how to look people in the eye when I would talk to them. This is surprising now because I am a huge extrovert, feeding off of other people’s energy and enjoying the company of many people. Never in a million years would my younger self have pictured my 19-year-old self skydiving or canyoning, but I couldn’t be happier that I did. I gave up a lot of control today over the outcome of each situation, and it was so freeing. It was also terrifying in a few ways, as you can probably imagine. I usually like to have control over life, keeping things the way that I like them and avoiding failure or conflict at all costs. Today it wasn’t in my ability to ensure that the situations went perfectly. I had to trust that I would be okay and these people and parachutes would save me. It was a leap of faith to not be able to control the situation, but every time that I relinquish my control, a grand adventure takes place. Today was just that- an adventure made incredible by the lack of control and the thrill of the unknown.
The experiences of sky diving and canyoning brought many of us together, in that we were unsure of what each event would hold for us. We released our control and, for some, their huge fear of heights and trusted each other, the parachutes, and the ropes. I am incredibly impressed with Emma Hofmeister, the girl who told me going in that there was no chance she would walk across a suspended bridge. She did it all today and even led the way for much of the canyoning trip. She was the first one out of the plane to skydive and didn’t shed a tear, or pee her pants (viable options for both of us).
Today it was comforting to be surrounded by each other, but ultimately it was an individual decision. Each time we jumped off of a huge rock into the depths of the canyon in a superman, quarter turn, flat on your back, don’t hit this rock or you might be seriously injured pose, it was an individual choice. However, I always knew that when I surfaced from the beautifully clear and icy water, that Jake, Jacob, Emma, Olivia, and Brooke would be there to help me out and cheer me on. I also knew that after I made the decision to slide out of the plane hooked to a guide and a parachute that I trusted with my life, that Ryal would be there to give me a huge hug and the rest of the squad would be cheering as well. Today I gave up a lot of control, and gained a lot of trust. I was forced to trust the harness and the parachute, but I also had to trust the people around me to encourage and stand by me in all the adventures. It is so encouraging to know that these people stand be beside me in discussing the hard moments of suffering in Dachau, as well as sharing in the spontaneous moments of free falling in the Swiss Alps.
I can’t leave this blog post without mentioning the stunning beauty of Interlaken, Switzerland. I’m not fully convinced that the mountains and the lakes are real because they are just so beautiful. It is beauty unparalleled to anything I have ever seen before, matched with the relaxed and quaint town of Interlaken. As we were going up in the plane, we were around the height of the mountains when my sky diving instructor told me we were at 2,000 feet. I was scared at this point because we were already so high. He then told me we would be at 11,000 feet before we jumped. My heart skipped a beat. I can now say that I have touched a cloud and that I lived to tell the tale (sorry mom for the heart attack that I gave you).
Today was the ultimate Ausgang, and if you don’t know what that word is check out Olivia Chambers’ blog post because it is an amazing word.
AUSGANG & AMPLEMANN !!