Fear Conquering & Skydiving Over Queensland

Huge thanks to Tourism and Events Queensland and Skydive Ramblers for providing this exciting adventure! As always, all opinions are our own.

The Cessna 182 used by Skydive Ramblers, Queensland, Australia

Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane has become one of those ultimate bucket list items.

Like living to 120 years old or climbing Mount Everest.

Of the three, the most feasible to me was the jump. Which turned out to be a bit odd, because there was no jumping at all on my part – but I’m jumping ahead of myself.

My tandem instructor captures a moment of pure panic at Skydive Ramblers in Queensland, Australia
I’m so glad my tandem instructor, Julian caught this moment right before the door was opened. Until now, I never knew what I looked like in pure panic mode. Most of the photos and video are taken from a camera mounted on the (thankfully) multi-talented Julian’s wrist.

When we first spoke to Tourism and Events Queensland about heading to Australia, they asked if there was something special we would like to do.

Without hesitation, I mentioned that I always like to face a fear conquering event – something that inspires others (and myself) to step outside of our comfort zones.

It felt like we sat on the edge of the plane forever. Filmed at Skydive Ramblers in Queensland, Victoria
This is me – not looking down. It seemed like we sat here on the edge of the plane for two hours. Video evidence (see below) proves it was a lot closer to two seconds.

I should have known better, Australians are — by nature — an adventurous people, and I am not. I’m trying — and growing — but I’m not even close to Aussie level.

When skydiving was mentioned, I wholeheartedly said yes, drawing an evil glare from David. In a bit of role reversal,I was the one chomping at the bit while he was the one hemming and hawing.

The initial jump over Queensland, Australia on the Sunshine Coast with Skydive Ramblers
Thankfully, I somehow kept my eyes open. And my mouth. And my nostrils. I wasn’t aware that nostrils could get so big.

Catching on to his hesitation, the gang at TEQ suggested an alternative for David – a day at a spa.

He liked that idea, relaxing on terra firma, perhaps enjoying a massage, while I fell from the sky.

But there was a catch – if he chose the spa day, he would have to partake in a full body wax.

Suddenly, he was all-in for skydiving.

It wasn’t until the night before the Big Jump Day that I started to freak out. Not terribly, but just enough that my panic mantra (people do this every day and don’t die… people do this…) was necessary. I slept, but barely.

The initial jump over Queensland, Australia on the Sunshine Coast with Skydive Ramblers
Smile or grimace? We will never know.

With the moment at hand and panic mode setting in, I could certainly appreciate some humor, and the folks at Skydive Ramblers didn’t fail to deliver.

While getting harnessed in, my supersonic onslaught of questions (what happens if?… why do we need that?… how come you just?…) was cleverly answered or jokingly deflected by my tandem instructor, Julian.

Arm position while sky diving at SkyDive Ramblers, Queensland, Austraila
Arms out to embrace the earth coming up at me!

My first jolt of actual terror came when I saw the plane.

For some stupid reason I had envisioned a huge cargo plane full of enthusiastic jumpers standing in a large doorway while Ride of the Valkyries played in the background.

A semi-military situation with white chutes drifting over the target zone.

Nope. Instead a bright yellow Cessna 182 was on the runway. There would be no standing up in it, sitting was even tight.

Once we were in flight, I mentioned to David that six years ago – prior to my decision to face my fears head-on – I would have NEVER gotten into this kind of plane at all.

See how brave I am?

Or not, since I was (not so) subtly suggesting that maybe the flight alone was enough to get me off the hook. Maybe I should just fly around a bit and that would be plenty for the day.

David watches as I parachute over Queensland, Australia with SkyDive Ramblers

There were two problems with this strategy.

1) If I didn’t jump, David would be stuck, unable to get around me to jump, or more accurately fall, out the door himself.

2) David had, all of the sudden, become really excited about the prospect of hurling himself out of the plane. Damn.

So when we reached 10,000 feet, I jumped. Or dropped. Or fell. Whatever it was, I did it.

WATCH: I am visibly terrified.

I can’t really explain the feeling of free-falling. There is nothing natural that can prepare a human for the sensation; I don’t think we’re mentally equipped to process plummeting to the ground at 130+ miles an hour.

It isn’t like a roller coaster. I didn’t feel the sensation of the ground coming up at me. My brain must have gone into something akin to shock, because the entire thirty-second free-fall portion took on a slow-motion, dreamy quality.

Skydiving over Queensland, Australia on the Sunshine Coast with Skydive Ramblers

The opening of the parachute was my favorite part (mostly because I was pretty sure it meant I was far less likely to die by the end) and, for me, the biggest rush. That is where the roller coaster feeling happened, and I like roller coasters.

Once I let go of Julian (I had somehow clawed onto his arm) and realized that my white-knuckled hanging-on to the harness made no difference safety-wise (not that I stopped doing it), a peacefulness set in. It really was beautiful and serene up there.

But not calm enough to truly settle a panicky person such as myself. So I began to fire off questions about the landing. Seems I had to have something new to freak out about. Sorry Julian – it’s how I roll. Man, Julian’s a good guy.

Picture perfect landing onto Coolum Beach
Picture perfect landing onto Coolum Beach!

Landing was mercifully uneventful, I simply stood up when Julian said “stand up.”

Ambushed by a news crew!
Shoes are optional for this news crew! Love it!

Then the news crew came racing over.

We had no idea they were going to be there and I was too wigged out to do anything but babble.

Luckily, our segment was short, David quickly came to my rescue and the reporter was really, really nice!

WATCH: I am introduced to the Australian public by way of the amount of saliva I don’t have in my mouth. Classic Veronica!

The best of David's face whilst skydiving!
Bonus Fun! The best of David’s face whilst skydiving!

Fear conquered. Will I do it again?

Ask me again on my 120th birthday.

Veronica, GypsyNester.com

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49 thoughts on “Fear Conquering & Skydiving Over Queensland”

  1. Hmm. I have thrown up on roller coasters. I hate roller coasters. I’m thinking skydiving might not be such a great idea for me. Throwing up at 130 MPH could get pretty messy—especially for the bloke behind. You are very brave—or very, um, foolhardy. I figure there are many ways for me to tempt fate that I can’t/don’t want to avoid—crossing the street comes to mind—or just walking on the sidewalk and a bus comes careening over the curb —what, me catastrophize?!?! The video of the jumps was awesome—a vicarious thrill. BTW,I have now officially decided that there is nothing wrong with living vicariously from time to time. 😉

    1. Oddly enough, jumping didn’t have that “get your stomach” feel that roller coasters do. It was more just a strong sense of your mind telling you you should not jump out of an airplane 10,000 feet high.

  2. Awesome! i wish i could do this. 😀 i’m afraid of heights. but i want to face it.
    I’ll do this. you give me a motivation. hahaha thanks

  3. Fantastic!! I mean FANTASTIC!! I admire your adventurousness, although if the Australians ask me if I want to do something special, I’ll know to say “maybe!!”

  4. Wow – you’re either brave or crazy – always hard to tell the difference! 🙂 I bet it was an amazing experience but even though I”m typically not risk averse it’s the one thing (well there’s also bungee jumping) that I wouldn’t try. Good on you!

  5. Awesome and congratulations! I was planning to do this when I turned 50, but that’s passed, so maybe when I’m 60? Or maybe I’ll be one of those grannies that looses their teeth on their first jump at 90? After your video played youtube suggested I watch “Near death airplane collision with skydiver in free fall” so I have to build up my courage!

  6. I used to think that I wanted to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, but now I am thinking I prefer to be seated inside the aircraft whilst flying through the air. I am only planning to live to be 115 so I have to choose my priorities in life 🙂

  7. And I thought I was brave for going zip lining! You were wise to go tandem …at least you don’t have to worry about what to do if something goes wrong! It looks like an incredible rush though and I’m definitely tempted to give it a try some day.

  8. Ha! Great job! I’m scared of doing it but I think its one of those things that has to be done at least once. Admire your courage, must have felt great afterwards realizing what you had done.
    Frank (bbqboy)

    1. That’s pretty much where I was at. Veronica was the one who wanted to try it… right up until we got up to about 5000 ft. After that, she was terrified. I ended up liking it. Very glad I did it, but don’t really feel the need to do it again.

  9. I love it! I’ve always wanted to sky dive, but I doubt my spine would like it. Maybe I could drop into water!

  10. Skydiving is awesome! I’ve only done it once, but I will always remember how amazing it was to be floating (after my chute was opened) in the sky and looking down across the land.

    Those last pics of David are fantastic btw!

  11. Well done Veronica & David! It is certainly a leap of faith and one worth experiencing. And you are right in saying that you cannot express the feeling of free-fall in words. It is something you have to experience to understand. Julian is a great Tandem Master! Jumped with him twice before and he knows his stuff backwards, as do all the team at Skydive Ramblers! So, what is next to cross off the bucket list? Cheers, W&M

    1. I can’t brag enough on Julian! He instinctively knew the right mix of humor and reassurance that I needed to get me through the jump. There was definitely a point where I was about to chicken out as he was making the last minute preparations before he opened the door. He took the time to calmly talk me through (again) and it was in that moment I felt safe enough to go ahead. Amazing man, our Julian!

  12. Inspiring… but not quite enough for me to conquer MY fear of jumping/stepping/getting pushed out of an airplane. I chose a slightly milder version and went zip lining with a friend last weekend. It was spectacular! I even jumped at the (half price since I was already trained and in my gear) optional ‘Speed Run’ after the main course! Loved it as well. The guide on the parallel line was kind enough to capture my trip on video on my phone! Way cool. We both agreed that next time we go for the Extreme run!

  13. AWESOME! Those photos of David’s fact are what make the post, at least IMO hehehe — priceless 🙂 Of course being greeted by a news crew after landing safely on the ground must have been pretty nice….almost as nice as, well, landing safely lol

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