What it Feels Like to Jump off a Cliff

Thanks to Luke George who took this photo a couple of years ago at our cliff jumping spot.

Thanks to Luke George who took this photo a couple of years ago at our cliff jumping spot.

If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you follow?

Actually, yes I would.

One of my favourite summer activities is cliff jumping.  There’s a spot about 2 hours away, where the deep ocean meets the cliffs to form chiseled inlets.

There are various heights from which you can jump. Three meters; seven; fifteen. I once saw someone jump from about twenty meters and was afraid I’d see their body splat onto the rocks below.

I say I love cliff jumping, but to be honest, everything in me hates taking the leap. As I stand on the edge, every nerve ending tingles, frantically bombarding my brain with the instinctive message that jumping is a bad idea.

I hate the moment when I almost jump but don’t, and then, even more, when I launch myself out and have that split second realization that it’s too late to go back.

I hate the feeling of falling; legs kicking at the air; arms tensing in an attempt to defy gravity.

I hate the way the water hurts if you hit it on a bad angle, like a mammoth slap.

In fact, there is only one thing I really like about cliff jumping. It’s when the water catches you and holds you momentarily in its belly, and you rise and break the surface and feel ecstatic triumph. When you know, with a sense of pride, that all your friends jumped off a cliff, and you were brave enough to follow.

My Post-Adventure Bucket List

Towards the end of high school, I began composing a bucket-list of sorts. It had the usual things on it: skydiving, eating snails in Paris, seeing an aurora, getting a degree and writing a book. Most of them I’ve achieved, but as I look back, I’m not sure they’re actually the most radical things I’ve done.

Bucket-lists can be beneficial but they’re all about forward-planning and imagining. Sometimes they’re not realistic. Life may bring restrictions like health, finances, time or circumstances, and suddenly our dreams are out of reach.

As I reflect on my life, I realize that my BEST bucket-list is my POST adventure one; the things that I’ve already experienced that I’d never have imagined up myself.

Here are some of the things that I’ve done that weren’t on my bucket-list:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I took this photo while paragliding near the Annapurna Ranges in Nepal.

Flying over Mt Everest

Walking across a Burning Ghat on the Ganges River

Paragliding with eagles in the Himalayas

Cliff jumping into the ocean

Being elbow deep inside a sheep, trying to deliver a lamb

Road-tripping through torrential rain in outback Australia

Living life to the full isn’t always about planning, but about making the most of every opportunity; appreciating what we have been given, rather than focusing on what we’d like.

I may never see an aurora, get a PhD or travel into space, but I have no doubt that I will have experiences that I never would have dreamed of. I’d hate to miss them because I was so focused on my own plans.