“What’s wrong John?” asked the man suiting me up.
“Huh? Nothing.” I replied.
“Why are you jumping off a perfectly good bridge?” He asked with a smile and a laugh.
Why am I jumping off a perfectly good bridge? It seems like a stupid thing to do a good way to earn a one way trip to the hospital. Only, it’s not. It’s the most exciting thing I have ever done and maybe the smartest. OK, smartest might be pushing it but it was one of the best decisions I made since I have been in South Africa.
I have a natural fear of heights, as most people should. I mean, you lean over something and look down and see the bottom is hundreds of feet below and your natural reaction is to get back from the ledge. It’s a normal human reaction. But why then would you want to jump off that sound structure?
For the thrill.
It’s that simple. Bungy jumping provides an adrenaline rush like nothing else I have ever done. I’ve bungied twice in my life (the first time being off Auckland Harbour Bridge in 2007) and each time I was afraid to jump but went ahead with it because I knew it would be the thrill of a lifetime. Having jumped off Bloukrans in Plettenberg Bay, the world’s tallest bridge bungy, I can say that I have lived.
One thing I will say is that the walk out to the jump platform is the worst part of the entire experience. The metal grate walkway bends with each step you take and you wonder “When was the last time this bridge was tested? I can feel it bending and that’s not normal.” It also doesn’t help if you look down and see the ground below. Bad idea.
If I have one piece of advice to give about this bungy it’s this: Don’t look down. It will ruin the surprise. Pick a spot out on the horizon that is at your level and don’t lose contact with it. This is exactly what I did. I stared straight out and when the bungy guys behind reached 1 and yelled “BUNGY!!!” I bent my knees and pushed off as hard as I could and I flew. I flew through the air and as my body plunged toward the ground below I couldn’t help but flail my arms a bit because the fear inside me took over but I didn’t regret doing it. Not. One. Bit. And as I dangled under the bridge, the mantra of Face Adrenalin popped into my head and reaffirmed my decision: “Fear is Temporary. Regret is Forever.”