My girlfriend is convinced I jumped out of a plane to impress a guy. Not entirely true.
Rather, I wanted to know what it feels like to free-fall to earth from 8,500 feet. So I decided to give "tandem jumping" a try and find out... If you're going to do this, there are several things you should know: a man you have never seen before will tie you up in a harness that wraps over your breasts and between your legs, put you in a very small airplane, strap you to his chest, assume the full spoon position, and ask you if you're "ready?"
If you're squeamish about feeling a strange man's groin in your butt or hate heights, this isn't for you. But if not, you may get the thrill of your life.
For the first five seconds I was stunned. I got that familiar roller-coaster feeling: stomach compressed into a tiny metal ball. I was disoriented because we turned somersaults a few times until I remembered to arch my back. Then we turned right side up, stomachs to the ground.
Suddenly I felt weightless, as if suspended in a wind tunnel or flying, though we were falling at about 150 miles an hour. I was grinning so deeply it hurt.
Thirty seconds later, my mate pulled the rip cord. Suddenly, we were swinging, floating, the parachute magenta against a pale blue sky.
He pulled the ropes (steering toggles) to steer the parachute toward the big, open, dirt bulls-eye where we were going to land. For another five minutes, we floated toward earth. With the dirt pile just seconds below, I pZulled my knees up into a sitting position and landed gently on the ground. For the rest of the day, I felt peaceful, contented, and totally immune to the cares of the world. After all, I jumped from a plane-and lived.
Tandem jumping is a barrel of fun, and in the Czech Republic the place to call is Sky Service at +420 732 333 7777 for more information.