Sunday, January 31, 2010

New Zealand - Free Falling

I'd say I jumped out of an airplane at 15,000 feet, but really I was pushed. In NZ, there is absolutely ZERO ground preparation. Hamish, the jumpmaster I was attached to, said it just makes people nervous so they feel no preparation is better. While we climbed up to the 15,000 feet I asked if there is anything I should at least know for the landing, and his reply was that we'll worry about that if the chute opens! So there was no choice but to sit back, relax and enjoy the view of Lake Taupo and green hillsides!

We did around a 70 second freefall - in which time we covered 10,000 feet. Nearly two miles, so crazy. Then the rest of the way down was around 6 minutes. I even got to "fly it." It was so amazing, the feeling of plummeting to the earth was definitely different from any I've felt before. Once the chute opened Hamish thought it would be fun to spin us in circles real fast - which was almost more than I could take.

My mom always wanted to skydive - we even made plans to but her Oncologist wouldn't allow it. I hope she was able to watch me today! I hope there is skydiving in Heaven because I know she'd love it!

My skydive album:

Location:Rotorua, NZ

Saturday, January 30, 2010

New Zealand - abZORBed

I can't stop saying out loud - New Zealand is so beautiful! It reminds me of a cross between Hawaii and Colorado - it's completely lush with both pine and palm trees all mixed together...and the most beautiful sunsets! (this pic below is from the porch of a home of a nice Kiwi family I met who invited me over for a lamb and veggies dinner)

Yesterday was activity-filled! In the morning I went white water rafting, what a rush! I was the only American which quickly earned me the name "Miss America" and some special treatment while rafting from our guide Pete. And by special treatment I mean Pete throwing me over the side of our raft when I wasn't expecting it (he had thrown no one else out) and off I went down the river hoping not to crash into one of the many large protruding rocks. One of the 'safety kayakers' came over to me once I finally stopped, only to then be lifted by Peter onto the Kayak. Not in, on. He told me to "straddle tight" and off we went. The kayak quickly flipped and I found myself going down falls upsidedown underneath a kayak, and was quickly separated from it. I couldn't stop spinning enough to figure out which way was up - it was a bit scary! (the guides didn't heed my accident-prone warning!) Finally I got back in the raft, gave the guide a good punch and told him that scared the &$*# out of me! He said if it's not scary, it's not fun! And I agreed, because it was a blast! We also went down the largest commercially rafted waterfall in the world - a 21 foot drop. But compared to the uncontrolled feeling of careening down the rapids with my survival resting solely in my life jacket, the waterfall was a breeze! The 'life' jacket definitely earns its name! (that's me in the raft going off the waterfall)

I also Zorbed. Remember those plastic balls you'd put your hamster in and he'd roll around your floor? Same concept, only filled with air, and the part I was in also was filled with water - and you get pushed off an edge and roll down a curvy path down a hill. I was in the Zorb sloshing around, it was nuts! It's wet so you have no grip or control, it was a 40 second rush! I suddenly feel guilty about unnecessary hamster torture I committed as a child! (this pic is a zorb going down the same track I went down)

To top off the day I did the luge track - I finally conquered my luge fear I've had since my nasty spill in Germany in 2000.

New Zealand prides itself on being the adrenaline junkie capitol of the world, and for good reason!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Was there ever an Old Zealand?

I turned my iPod on shuffle on my flight from Dallas to LAX and the first song it played was "Falling Down a Mountainside." I hope that isn't some sort of musical foreshadowing! I'm at the Admirals Club at LAX enjoying a free glass of pinot noir and looking over my gigantic plane I'll soon be boarding to Auckland. I'm pretty jazzed that this 13 hour flight will be in first class not business like I booked - so a bed that lays flat awaits me! This I believe, not my music, is a sign of more good fortune to come!

I'm officially unemployed and homeless. I packed up my life and it fit nicely in a 10x15 foot storage unit; I'm off the reservation. It was odd to pack up the 'things' in my life without know where or when or what I'll be doing when I unpack them.

I've been asked if I'm running away from real life. Who says my so-called real life has to always be a steady career and routine in Dallas? I believe seeing the world is every bit as much real living. Of course 2009 was no cakewalk for me, so I see 2010 as a year of healing and enjoyment. In this journey I'm circling the globe - then I will be right back to where I started. Only I hope with renewed purpose, hope, a little more patience and a few new pair of shoes!

Speaking of hope, I sure hope I like myself because I'm going to get a whole lotta me time over the next three months! When I get to Auckland I have a hotel lined up for one night - and no other plan. I'm thinking I may flip a coin to decide if I should start heading north or heading south -and let my adventure begin! (I'm very grateful to the someone who sketched out a NZ plan for me.) When I've traveled alone in the past the travel gods have been so good to me, and I'm so thankful for those fortuitous friendships!

I'm also so very thankful for all my friends and family that have been so supportive of this trip and helpful in getting me ready; I'm thrilled to share this adventure with you!

I'm off in search of Kiwis - people, fruit, animals...I'm not picky as to which kind!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:World Way,Los Angeles,United States