Skydiving Into a New Decade

19 Feb

Okay, I’ll admit it. The title of this blog is a bit misleading. I didn’t actually go skydiving for my 30th birthday. I was all set to do it. In fact, despite my desire to travel without a plan, I had planned my time in the south of Chile so I would be to Pucón, the country’s adventure hotspot, by my birthday.

This is not a picture of me skydiving.

Then when I arrived in Pucón and I tried to sign up for my birthday skydive, the tour director at my hostel informed me that they can’t recommend the skydiving company in Pucón because the appropriate Chilean authorities declined to renew the license of the tandem skydiver due to his old age and some potential health issues. There had been no problems yet, but my hostel didn’t want to be responsible for recommending a sketchy activity in case something did go wrong. I was welcome to sign up for the skydive with another tour company that overlooked the guy’s lack of credentials.

Um, no that’s okay. I was scared enough to be jumping out of an airplane with a completely healthy tandem skydiver. I didn’t want to have to worry about something happening to my lifeline in mid-air while I was attached to him.

So, like many of the things I set out to do before I turned 30, my skydive will have to wait. My mom has promised to do it with me upon my return home, which I think will be way more fun anyway. (And now that it’s in writing on this public blog, she has to do it! Not that I’m worried about her backing out. She’ll probably be the one jumping out first while I’m hanging onto the airplane for dear life, having to get pushed out.)

Me on my 30th birthday, enjoying a relaxing pisco sour on a sunny terrace instead of skydiving

Anyway, I may not have skydived to arrive into my 30s, but it does feel like what I’m doing with my life at this current moment is a bit like jumping out of an airplane. It is risky, scary, daring, nerve-wracking, may be foolhardy, and I have no idea what the outcome will be. But it is also exhilarating, inspiring, fun, enlightening, and challenging in a good way.

One year ago, while I was shut in my office supposed to be reviewing contracts for unusual terms, I was spending afternoons surfing travel blogs and daydreaming about what it would be like to travel around the world on my own, with no work obligations, just me and a suitcase seeing new things and having new experiences. I felt completely trapped in my life and didn’t see how I could escape the situation I was in. Finally, my miserableness overwhelmed me, and I just did it.

And now here I am, in the middle of Chile, doing what I daydreamed yet thought I could never do, getting better at speaking Spanish, meeting new people, seeing parts of the world I didn’t even know existed.

So even though I don’t have a high-paying job or even a sure prospect of a career, a nice apartment, or use for most of the material things I accumulated during my 20s, in just seven months, I have learned much more about the world, its people, and myself than I ever thought possible.

Hurtling myself headlong into this new decade, I am looking forward to greater happiness and more confidence, self-assuredness, fearlessness, and freedom than my 20-something self enjoyed.


13 Responses to “Skydiving Into a New Decade”

  1. Travel Spirit March 3, 2012 at 1:21 am #

    Happy Birthday…you’re living the dream!!

    • Carly Larson March 4, 2012 at 8:32 am #

      Thanks Sherry! It was a pretty good birthday :)

  2. staci March 3, 2012 at 8:30 am #

    You are definitely “jumping” and are even more inspiring. xoxo!

  3. Penny Larson March 3, 2012 at 10:34 am #

    Dear Daughter, I am so excited to go skydiving with you in the great Pacific NW this summer. I have wanted to do this forever and to be able to do it with you, will be the best thing ever. The guys are too chicken to do this, so they will just have to watch. We’ll celebrate your 30 1/2th birthday!

    • Carly Larson March 4, 2012 at 8:35 am #

      Mom, I can’t wait for our skydive! It will be so much more fun (and less scary) doing it with you. The guys will have to take pictures of us floating safely to the ground.

  4. Darrell Hickman March 3, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    Happy Birthday Carly enjoy your trip through South America

  5. Cris March 3, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    Carly (my felllow caffeine addict ;-) )

    First, I wanted to let you know that I really enjoy reading about all your adventures in South America. Your posts are written so well that I can easily imagine you in all these fabulous places you’ve described! So, thanks for sharing these adventures with us!!

    BTW, going skydiving is also on my bucket list ;-) Sharing this experience with your mom will be one of these moments that both of you will never forget!!

    And, your 20s were great, but I am positive that your 30s will be even better! I am 100% sure!! You’ve accomplished something that few people dare to do!! You rock girl!! Happy birthday again!!


    • Carly Larson March 4, 2012 at 8:40 am #

      Thanks Cristina! I miss Italian coffee. :) Hopefully we can meet up in South America! You have to tell me when you go skydiving. Hope you are enjoying your last few weeks in Asia. See you soon, right?!

  6. Elisa March 4, 2012 at 5:57 am #

    Happy, happy birthday, Carly!!! I started reading your wonderful blog and am thrilled to see you living out your dreams and striving to be the person you want to be!

    • Carly Larson March 4, 2012 at 8:43 am #

      Thank you Elisa! Sometimes I think I am crazy, but it helps to get encouraging comments, so I really appreciate your kind words!


  1. River Rapids and a Volcano Climb « Winged Stiletto - March 4, 2012

    […] I wouldn’t be skydiving like I’d planned, it was a day of doing some of my favorite things, eating and shopping. […]

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