I was 18 when I took my first plane ride. I didn’t just fly to visit some family for a weekend, I flew all the way to Argentina to spend 2 months living and studying abroad. I was going big for my first trip, so when we got a long weekend off school to travel, I decided to keep going with that attitude. I went to Córdoba, Argentina to go tandem skydiving. 

Two friends and I booked the excursion through out hostel. Obviously, we couldn’t go jumping out of planes in the middle of the city, so we were told we would need to hire a taxi to take us to a more rural area. So, the next day, the three of us headed out to a tiny little building in the middle of nowhere. When we arrived, we couldn’t even figure out where to go. We knocked on doors and peeked through windows for a good twenty minutes before we finally found someone who told us the skydiving area was about a quarter mile’s walk away. 

Once we found the right area, we listened intently as the instructors explained the entire process of skydiving to us, in Spanish. The description of jumping out of the plane and terms such as “free-fall” only got me more amped up for my jump. All of us were ready to make this happen. Then they checked the wind and weather report and told us no one was jumping out of any planes that day. Total buzzkill. 

While I was incredibly disappointed and tempted to protest, I figured if the professionals with hundreds of jumps under their belts didn’t think the air was safe for skydiving, maybe it wasn’t in my best interest to throw caution to the wind. However, none of us were ready to give up on this, so we promised to be back the next day. 

The weather was much more cooperative the following day. Within an hour of our arrival, I was strapped into a banana-yellow suit and packed into a tiny plane. Since I was not licensed to jump alone, I was also tied to an instructor, so the only way to ride in the plane was to sit on his lap. While that was a bit uncomfortable, I was too excited to care all that much. I smiled and waved at the camera recording my journey and displayed my hands, where I had written “time of my life.” When the time came to jump, I gave the camera a thumbs-up and fell right through a cloud. 

The wind rushed past me, giving my chubby cheeks a very unflattering, yet comical look. I knew I looked ridiculous, but I smiled toothily at the camera anyway, knowing I would want to relive this moment again and again. The free fall only lasted a few seconds, but I soaked up every exhilarating moment of it. Next, the instructor pulled the string to release our parachute, and we began our slow descent to the ground. 

While the free-fall was all speed and adrenaline, the parachute-portion was more relaxing and awe-inspiring. I could see the Las Sierras of Córdoba below me, and feel myself floating through the air. For a short while, I was allowed to steer the parachute, making me feel a lot like a human kite. The ground approached us all too soon, and I was sad to feel my feet hit the ground. Actually, I did more of an awkward tumble onto my bottom, but that’s beside the point. My first thought was “I want to go again!” Alas, one jump was all I had the time (and the funds) for that day, but it was an experience I will most certainly never forget.