Skydiving in New Zealand – The 10 Stages of Fear

With the end of the year drawing in, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my travel highlights from 2015 and the one that immediately pops into my head is doing a skydive in Taupo, New Zealand.

I still can’t believe I did it and when I watch my video back it doesn’t feel like it’s me that I am seeing on the screen. As if packing up my life to go around the world on a solo trip wasn’t scary enough for a self-confessed introvert, let alone actually jumping out of a plane.

But that is one of the many beauties of travel – it can be scary, yet exhilarating all at the same time, and it definitely challenges your comfort zones. If you’d asked me a year ago whether I would do it, the answer would have been “HELL NO”

But I did do it. I faced my fears and experienced several other levels of fear which happened in the following stages.

1) The “hows-the-weather-looking” stage

It’s the morning and you’re nervously waiting around outside your hostel for your transport. You look up and notice there’s maybe two, possibly three clouds in the sky and a very light breeze. You secretly pray to the gods for the weather to take a sudden turn for the worst…but it’s not looking too hopeful.

Skydiving in New Zealand - The 10 Stage of Fear

2) The “am-I-signing-mylife-away?” stage

Your driver has arrived and they have confirmed your skydive IS indeed going ahead. SHIT. It begins to dawn on you that this is actually happening and the anxiety really starts to kick in. You forcefully make friendly banter with the other faces of terror around you while signing forms that talk about death and liability and make you feel like you’re already doomed.

Skydiving in New Zealand - The 10 Stage of Fear

Skydiving in New Zealand - The 10 Stage of Fear

3) The “fight-or-flight” stage

You’ve watched the safety briefing, you’ve chosen your package (15,000ft…WTF?!?!) and you’re now geared up in what can only be described as a boiler suit with crotch straps. Then they whack on a rather lovely egg-head-shaped hat with huge goggles just for comical measure. You’ve interrogated all the staff about the death/life ratio, but no amount of reassurance seems to make you feel any safer. At this point your mind can’t make sense of what is about to happen and you really have to fight the urge to make a run for it.

Skydiving in New Zealand - The 10 Stage of Fear

Skydiving in New Zealand - The 10 Stage of Fear

4) The “calm-before-the-storm” stage

You’re now in this tiny plane, awkwardly sat on a stranger’s lap while the propeller blades whir loudly as you make your way into the big blue sky. At this point you’re feeling surprisingly calm as you take in the amazing views around you. It’s almost as though your brain has given up on trying to comprehend what’s going on and all that built-up tension suddenly seems to disappear…until…

Skydiving in New Zealand - The 10 Stage of Fear

5) The “OH-MY-F-ING-GOD” stage

This is the moment of truth! You’re legs are now dangling off the edge of the plane but you don’t have long enough to even think about it. Before you know it you’re being launched into the open air. You’re falling and tumbling really, REALLY fast towards the earth. But it doesn’t feel like it. It feels more like you’re floating. No words can describe the adrenaline rush you get but it’s strangely euphoric.

Skydiving in New Zealand - The 10 Stage of Fear

Skydiving in New Zealand - The 10 Stage of Fear

6) The “is-this-real?” stage

The ground doesn’t seem to be getting any closer and for a split second you wonder whether this is actually happening or whether you’re dreaming the whole thing. These sensations are completely new to you and you’re seeing the world from a whole new perspective… it’s hard to believe that it’s real.

Skydiving in New Zealand - The 10 Stage of Fear

Skydiving in New Zealand - The 10 Stage of Fear

7) The “is-my-face-still-attached?” stage

Then your face goes. Like, completely goes. There’s absolutely no controlling it as the force of the air fills your cheeks, so you might as well embrace it. Or just scream some more…that seems to ease the feeling that your face is about to be blown off.

Skydiving in New Zealand - The 10 Stage of Fear

8) The “i‘m-aliiiiiiiiive” stage

After what feels like the longest, yet quickest, minute of your life, the parachute opens up and you’re being pulled back up through the air really fast. And then there’s silence. You can finally breathe a sigh of relief. You’re alive! You made it!

Skydiving in New Zealand - The 10 Stage of Fear

9) The “shit-definitely-got-real” stage

You’re feeling elevated in every sense of the word. As you glide around admiring the views, you’re suddenly very aware of the fact that you can now see your feet and they are still nowhere near the ground. But no amount of fear can take away the buzz of the experience.

Skydiving in New Zealand - The 10 Stage of Fear

10) The “back-to-earth” stage

There’s nothing to be afraid of now. Your feet are firmly back on the ground where they are meant to be…and you lived to tell the tale. And it is going to be one of the best god damn tales to talk about for the rest of your life.

Skydiving in New Zealand - The 10 Stage of Fear

And would you do it all over again? HELL YES.

Interested in doing a skydive in New Zealand? Click here for more information.

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  • Reply
    November 19, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    Love this – just went Skydiving in Sydney yesterday, so absolutely relate to each and every one of these stages 🙂

    • Reply
      November 19, 2015 at 8:19 pm

      Haha! I’m glad you agree! I bet it was great in Sydney!!

  • Reply
    November 20, 2015 at 12:25 am

    Haha, great post! i did a skydive at Fox Glacier, very spontaneously. I was so terrified i was trembling, but it was amazing. And yes, i went through every single stage of this too, and would definitely do it again! it was amazing! 🙂

    • Reply
      November 20, 2015 at 7:27 am

      Thanks Gemma! I think you go through every possible human emotion doing a skydive! So worth it though! I bet it was amazing above the glacier! I think if i do it again I’d like to do that

  • Reply
    Amy (Two Drifters)
    November 20, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    Girl you are brave!!! Great photos. Especially love the one with your mouth open ahahah, priceless memories right there!! 😀

    • Reply
      November 20, 2015 at 9:08 pm

      Haha thanks Amy! It’s such an awful photo but had to share for comedy value!

  • Reply
    November 20, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    Oh my God!!! I love the articule and I really like the pictures, I can feel the adrenaline!!

  • Reply
    Amanda Williams
    November 20, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    Great post. You are way braver than me!

  • Reply
    November 20, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    Great pics! What an exhilerating experience!

  • Reply
    Lara Duning
    November 21, 2015 at 6:41 am

    You’ve got guts of steel! Great piece!

  • Reply
    November 21, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    I bet New Zealand is a great location for sky diving! Hopefully one day i’ll be brave enough to give it a go. I just fear i’ll spend the whole time with my eyes shut lol

    • Reply
      November 21, 2015 at 8:46 pm

      haha I thought I would do too, but you just can’t help but stare in amazement!

  • Reply
    Mimi Rose
    November 21, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    I went skydiving in Taupo as well and I went through the exact same stages, haha! I couldn’t believe that I had actually done it when I had my feet on the ground again, but I was so incredibly happy that I faced my fears in a big way. My favorite moment was once the canopy had gone up, just peacefully gliding to the earth – such a difference to the free fall. Btw, I love the look of your blog, Nikki! Looking forward to reading more of your posts. 🙂

    • Reply
      November 21, 2015 at 8:45 pm

      thank you so much mimi! the gliding bit was so awesome!!

  • Reply
    December 21, 2015 at 7:02 am

    I did a skydive a few weeks back in Australia in Mission Beach (over the Barrier Reef). I can completely relate to this, and the one about losing control of your face is so accurate! That was something that I wasn’t expecting and it was like “What IS happening?!” The photos proved that it looked as weird as it felt!

    People always ask me what it felt like and I find the freefall sensation impossible to put into words. There’s just nothing to compare it to, it’s such a unique experience.

  • Reply
    January 28, 2016 at 4:17 am

    I’m at the ‘Will I? Won’t i?’ stage! 🙂

  • Reply
    April 1, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    Great post. It just brought my skydiving memories back 🙂 It is hard to describe how you feel when you are up in the sky, but you’ve got some great stage descriptions. Here is a link to a video post about my first skydive experience, in case you want to check it out 😉

  • Reply
    Patricia - Ze Wandering Frogs
    April 3, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    Something we have yet to do! Thanks to your ten steps, I know exactly what to expect now! 🙂

  • Reply
    Rob Taylor
    April 4, 2016 at 5:14 am

    I would’ve bailed at step 3. No questions. Craziest thing I’ve done is raft Class 4 rapids venturing on Class 5. That was more sane that this I feel.

  • Reply
    Corinne Vail
    April 4, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    I’m with Rob…not going to do it. No way, no how. I have a hard time rapelling, where I’m hooked up to ropes, let alone stepping, jumping out of a plane. Not going to happen!

  • Reply
    April 4, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    I would live in stage #9 for ever. I don’t know if I could ever be this adventurous. I cannot stand falling anywhere!

  • Reply
    April 4, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    This has been on my list of things to do for awhile. Just haven’t had a chance… New Zealand seems like a beautiful place to have done it.

  • Reply
    mark wyld
    April 4, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    amazing experience for you and well done for having the should I say balls for doing this. Not for me i find something strangely wrong with jumping out of anything that’s moving

  • Reply
    April 4, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    aaaah! that would freak me out! I want to do it too 😀

  • Reply
    April 5, 2016 at 4:52 am

    Not done too many crazy things except some extreme rides in amusement parks, can see you had an awesome experience. Waiting to do lot of crazy stuff 🙂

  • Reply
    April 6, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    This is good! Definitely made me laugh out loud with the names of your stages.

  • Reply
    Soumya Nambiar
    May 2, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    I was watching my Skydiving video yesterday and yes I went through similar emotions. I was scared shit. But if you ask me if I will do it again? Hell yeah

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