You jump, I jump.
I have gone full circle, back to Canada to the familiar unfamiliarity that will become my home next year. Batteries are recharging at a less than Duracell pace but each day I’m noticing a difference, an improvement. We returned to B.C last Sunday for the wedding of our friends. Dave’s family in it entirety are here for the first time all together on Canadian soil and it was a tear-inducing shock for them to see us. Or “Tarzan and Jane” as we have newly been christened. The shock for me was a more lasting impression. It began from the moment I stepped into Jordans spacecraft-like Tesla to now as I’m writing this sitting in a comfortable room with leather couches, animal prints, ornaments and a fireplace, worlds away from my previous location of Nicaragua. The poignancy of being once again in the same place that my journey started, seeing Dave’s nephew double in size and weight ten months following his birth, is striking. It feels in so many ways that a blink, maybe two, has lapsed since last August but then I recall how I have changed, all I have done and I realise how extensive my experiences have been.
Rewind approximately fourteen months and myself and Dave are exchanging bucket lists. His was very much a more prolonged and elaborated version of mine but importantly sharing the same essence- one of spontaneity, a desire to learn and a desire to share and give back. Needless to say, our bucket lists somewhat amalgamated therein. “You jump, I jump”, so to speak. And jump we did.
For our birthdays, a month apart from each other, there was a mutual agreement to give experiences rather than material gifts. To ease us into our trip, I had booked a fancy hotel for three nights and we had lapped it all up happily, enjoying the restaurant buffet, the multiple beachside pools and our first sweet, creamy tastes of piña coladas. My gift had to be given to me in advance of my birthday as it was an experience that was only available in one specific city. Puerto Vallarta. I had little idea as to what it could be but I think horse riding or skydiving sprung to mind as potential candidates. On the day of the activity I had thought Dave would lead me on a wild-goose chase, blindfolded, plunging me in the deep end as he tends to do. In reality, Dave was in fact fearful of my reaction and my willingness to participate and decided to give me fair and due warning.
“It’s a bungee jump.”
Apart from the instantaneous sweating and heart palpitations that ensued, my resounding reaction was one of confusion. You see, I had actually stated, very clearly and adamantly, that bungee jumping was not on my list. The notion of my feet being the only things connected to a giant slingshot and the means for which my body to be catapulted across whatever landscape, however breathtaking, just didn’t appeal. Violent head rushing and whiplash was what that meant to me. That being said, I was never going to be that girlfriend that said no to a present from her boyfriend, especially a boyfriend so keen on all things extreme sports. I conceded, with a palpable lump in the my throat.
After a short bus journey a little out from P.V., we arrived at our destination. Sure enough, the platform for the bungee was in clear view, a pirates plank leading to a 120 ft plunge over the sea. The weather was dry and hot giving me good excuse for my profuse perspiration. We were greeted by a middle aged American, delighted to have us there and show us the best time possible. Although the place was quiet and a little run down, the pool and bar had unrivaled views of the city and ocean. It wasn’t hard to see the potential of the site and so it didn’t come as a surprise that the only other people there, a group of adults in their thirties, were in fact that new owners of this quiet peaceful location into a tourist hotspot. I’m pretty sure this bungee won’t be €30 for much longer.
Psyching myself up for the jump, we grabbed some drinks and watched another brave soul harness up and take his position. My heart was in my mouth watching him fling his body off the platform and bounce nonchalantly to a halt, like an upside down rag doll on puppet strings. Shooting down the complimentary tequila shot hoping for some liquid courage, it was my turn next. Making sure I said a good goodbye to Dave (thinking maybe it was my last), I took to the stage and a sense of calm settled upon me. Either this was going to be a once in a lifetime, exhilarating experience or a fantastic way to die. Once the decision was made to fall backwards rather than forwards, before I knew it I was listening to a man count me down from three.
Three, Two, One.
Ever since going to Disneyland Paris for Halloween on a surprise family holiday, I’ve always loved that feeling of my stomach somersaulting independent of my body. This was like that but all the roller coasters I’ve ever been on combined into one big gush of freewheeling freedom. I couldn’t even make a noise, the air escaped my lungs in silence as the blood pounded with force to my head. Whether it was the heat, the tequila or my anxious disposition, after my first rebound on this elastic cord things began to look a bit off. My vision started getting spotty, the sun became very bright and in between this was a very definite blackness, becoming more regular with each blink. I was blacking out. I mustered all the self-determination one can when they’re suspended upside down on a giant elasticated shoe string and made it safely back to the top, a little shaky on my feet but dizzy with excitement too. Dave met me with a look of bemusement and intrigue, flooding me with questions about the jump, “Was it scary going backwards? How do you feel? You didn’t even make a noise?!” Struggling to get the right words together, I explained what had happened. Of course it was amazing, thrilling, terrifying and more but the view is difficult to appreciate when your seeing it with interluding blackness every few seconds. It didn’t take Dave long to ensure that wasn’t going to be my lasting impression of the bungee experience. In minutes after he had done his own bungee, he had it arranged that we would both be going again.
Plunging forward with more confidence this time, I embraced the rush and with it, the panoramic views of the ocean and the city. It was everything I had hoped it would be, and I wanted to do it a million times over. I made sure to be more vocal this time, finding my voice despite the speed I was moving at, letting Dave know that I was more than ok.
Bungee jump. Check. Bungee jumps. Check. Only a few weeks into our real traveling experience and already one thing ticked off. Although, admittedly I had to write it down in order to tick it off…a minor technicality. Now a year on, I’ve added and crossed out so many more. It’s a complex feeling, one of growing older as well as fulfilling my dreams. Bungee jumping is only part one of the series. Stay tuned.