What Skydiving is Like from Someone Who is Afraid of Heights

Tandem skydivers in mid-air, one man, one woman. Man is excited and holding two thumbs up, the woman is screaming and not happy.
As you can clearly see here, I am very terrified, nauseated, and a little bit excited.

My Fears, Explained

What is skydiving like for someone like me? Okay, just so we’re very clear- I get FREAKED out when I can see down below from like 2-3 stories. I don’t like to ride on escalators. Traveling on gondola lifts scare the shit outta me. And don’t get me started on flying- I used to be fine with it (when I was a kid and didn’t really THINK about what flying was, all the things that could happen, etc.)… but now I definitely panic each time. I even get weary when I think of people living in apartment buildings. (Can you tell I don’t live in NYC?)

And as a small, but relevant, side note, I have bad motion sickness. When can motion sickness strike? Riding in the backseat of cars (sad), riding on rollercoasters, and watching an IMAX movie (which I didn’t realize until we paid for one and then had to leave not even 20 minutes in because I was extremely nauseated- sorry, Chris!). So keep this in mind as you read.

Despite all that, my fears and sickness haven’t stopped me from doing very much. I’ve still been on multiple gondola lift rides *shudder*, flown in airplanes, taken cruises, and ridden on escalators. But skydiving? That’s a WHOLE new level of crazy.

View looking out of an open-door airplane at two skydivers.
Experienced strangers who jumped out first.

Initial Idea and Planning

Whenever skydiving has come up in conversation, I’ve always voluntarily said “ABSOLUTELY NOT,” “No fucking way,” etc. Amazingly, a few years after all these conversations, the idea of POSSIBLY jumping out of an airplane struck me when I was thinking of some bucket list items to put on my 101 in 1001 list. (more on this list in a later post) I decided I wanted at least one thing on there that REALLY terrified me. I also wanted to do something for Chris (my then-boyfriend, now-husband- thank God, because I’m not skydiving for someone else again), and I knew he’d always talked about doing it. So, after some extensive research, I put it on the list. Which means I was in it to win it.
The things you do for love.

After all the research, I planned the big event to happen for our 2 year dating anniversary. (I guess that meant I was pretty seriously in love with him at that point, since we weren’t even legally binded yet) I decided to book our once-in-a-lifetime adventure (and I do mean ONCE in a lifetime) at Skydive City (Zephyrhills, FL). It was fairly close to us and is one of the more popular skydive zones.

Aerial view of lush, green grass and trees with many buildings. (Zephyrhills, FL)
Zephyrhills, the view when we were getting close to landing.

Even though it’s SO HARD to keep a secret like this, I managed to do so until the morning of… I wanted to tell him in advance just to make sure he was still cool with the idea, and for mental preparedness. (because if someone sprung this on me as we were walking to the airplane, that would NOT be okay. At least for me- give me some heads up!) He loved the idea, and it was AMAZING to do it together! (Note: I 100% don’t blame you if you are the partner in a relationship who is like me, and will continue to adamantly refuse to jump out of an airplane for the rest of your life- totally respectable.)


I was pretty calm the whole morning. During the ride there, through the instructions, gearing up, and getting on the plane, I was chill. It only really hit me as the first couple of solo jumpers were exiting that I was like “Hmm… I wonder if they’ll let me just stay with the pilot and land that way? I wonder how many people have been like “JK” after paying the money and getting this far?” I WAS already that far… so I told Chris I had to jump first to get it over with!

Tandem skydivers ready to jump out of the plane.
Look at all the joy you can see in my face. πŸ˜‚This is right before we jumped out. Chris is still waiting to go after me.

I still honestly have no idea how I was able to take the mental (and physical… haha) leap of faith OUT OF AN AIRPLANE AT ABOUT 13,500 FEET, but I did it! I HATED the free fall (maybe hated is too strong… I just didn’t like it, especially when my tandem jumper SPUN US AROUND MULTIPLE TIMES even though I told him about my extreme motion sickness…).

Tandem skydivers (man and woman) freefalling and spinning mid-air after just jumping. Lots of clouds.
Me, DEATH GRIPPING the tandem guy’s arms letting him know that I HATE THE SPINNING because we can’t talk while free falling.

The floating down toward the ground after the parachute opened was the best part- you could relax, take in the scenery, and actually enjoy the experience. I’ve read that other people LOVE the free fall, so it’s all just difference of opinion. β€‹It would’ve been 100x more enjoyable if my jumper didn’t spin us around, but I still think the moments after the parachute opened were the best. Not including landing safely. πŸ˜‰

Tandem skydivers mid-air (man and woman), smiling and putting thumbs up.
So many gems. I tried to smile after I realized that all of my pictures so far would be me- not smiling- with my eyes closed.
Tandem skydivers (man and woman) just pulled the parachute cords from free fall to drifting.
He just pulled the parachute cords- yey! About to end the worst part πŸ˜‰

Some Tips

To be as prepared as possible, I took dramamine pills before skydiving, but I still threw up after landing. A positive is that it wasn’t while we were in mid-air. (it probably would’ve worked if my tandem jumper (who was otherwise great) didn’t spin us around during free fall). Also, it was good that I took them anyway, just for piece of mind, and it most likely held off the throwing up – and maybe it held off me throwing up multiple times? Either way, I almost expected it from this level of motion and excitement.

Tandem skydivers about to land in a grassy area.
The landing was fun and easy! Just had to put my feet straight out.

Chris’ sinuses were acting up after we landed, so the both of us were feeling pretty crappy the rest of the day (albeit glad we did it, and excited about our accomplishment). Two of my top tips: making sure you’re well hydrated before and after, and taking medicine if you need it (dramamine/sinus/etc).

Tandem skydivers just landed, the woman is lying dramatically and catching her breath after skydiving for the first time.
Look how dramatically I’m lying here! I told him I didn’t want to get up.
Two men and one woman smiling after just landing from skydiving!
The forced smile before throwing up a little while later πŸ˜‰

Have YOU ever been skydiving? Would you ever do it? What tips do you have, or what was your best/worst moments!? I’d love to hear!

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