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.
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.)
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.