Vision boards and bucket lists have an air of cliche, but that doesn't mean I don't keep one (or both). Let's be honest: for someone as (dis)organized as I am, having a checklist helps me maintain a long-term focus. Bungee jumping held position #8 on that checklist for several years, and on September 9, I crossed it out when I hucked myself off a perfectly good bridge with ample load-bearing capabilities. And I rejected its offer of support in favor of gravity's favorite pastime: pulling fools like me as close as possible (and as fast as possible) to the center of the earth.
Over one hundred meters below the San Francisco Bridge surges a torrent of whitewater. Sheer cliffs border Rio Pastaza, and the rapids carry all the way to the dam a few miles downstream. In short, it's a lot more extreme than what I envisioned for my first jump. I likened it to learning how to drive in a Formula 1 racer, and the road is ice.
Nerves set in as soon as we reached the edge of the bridge: one hundred twenty meters on paper looks a lot smaller than it does when you're planted on the upper end of it, trying to find the bottom. I felt a little better after the harness was secured, but somewhere after double-checking the triple-carabiner harness, a profound sense of isolation came over me like a cold blanket.
With the boss barking instructions and onlookers cheering, I was anticipating that the jump would have been a social activity, a collective achievement that we could all celebrate together later, clinking our glasses and sharing in the experience.
No such sentiment appeared, and any trace or hope of it vanished as soon as I began to count down from three. If there was a democracy in my brain, the count would have opted for me to stay on the bridge, and maybe even keep my lunch (I did, anyways). But Item #8 on the bucket list demanded an audience, and the noise behind me faded into obscurity. I locked my eyes on the horizon, away from the crowd, and in a split-second there was just me, gravity, and three carabiners. I learned what "void" meant.
But would I do it again?
You bet your ass. Especially now that I have health insurance.