Skydiving in Spa Belgium
I wanted to write a post for anyone considering skydiving as an excursion idea, especially if you’re going to skydive in Belgium. It was an anxiety induced ride of fear, adrenaline, and absolute fun!
The idea to go skydiving came up how I imagine it does most of the time, as a ‘why not?’ type conversation. I was stationed in Germany and one of my close friends was stationed in Belgium. Being so close, we figured we’d meet up and were trying to figure out what we could do. He was fairly quick to suggest skydiving and I for some reason said yes without hesitation.
We had another friend that was supposed to join us but backed out, I don’t blame him, my nerves were on edge.
After some debate, I decided to just drive up to Belgium and meet him since I just bought a car and it was cheaper for me to travel.
Getting to Belgium
The whole drive to Belgium it never really hit me I was about to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. I was just excited to travel a little and experience Belgium.
But, after a long mindless drive, I made it to Belgium safely.
Side note: Belgium has some of the best food I’ve ever had in my life. The gas station burgers there tasted like gourmet food and I loved everything I ate!
I didn’t meet up with my friend until later in the evening and called it an early night as we planned on going straight to skydiving the next day. Looking back, that was the best idea since I probably would’ve changed my mind.
The day of… Time to Skydive!
The morning of, I woke up and the first thought the went through my head was, “s&%t”. The first thing I thought was that I hadn’t backed out and it was too late now, I couldn’t abandon the idea and let my friend go alone.
I slowly went about my morning routine, acting like what I was about to do hadn’t been done successfully by so many before me. I really was over-stressing a bit.
We decided to get something in our stomachs beforehand (neither of us were the throw up during stress type). We didn’t want to be worried and hungry, so we figured just worried was best. Looking back, it was the funniest meal I’d ever had, because neither of us said a word to each other.
It was clear we were both to wrapped up in our thoughts of hopping out a plane to even speak (food was great though).
Arriving at Skydive Spa
I didn’t realize I was able to get more anxious, but when we parked and began walking to the entrance my palms became waterfalls. I’ve heard other people’s stories of when they skydived for the first time and never truly understood what they meant, at that moment I did.
Walking through the front door, we were greeted by incredibly nice staff and a large open floor of people folding parachute packs. That’s it, that’s the moment it hit me the hardest. Just kidding, it got worse.
The staff were very accommodating and spoke far better English than I spoke French, so I am by no means complaining when I say there was a slight communication barrier. We had picked a random skydiving place with no regard to their accommodations and just kind of hoped for the best.
Despite us being the only two people there that ONLY spoke English, they were very reassuring and helpful! We ended up getting a safety brief to just the two of us while the other people we’d jump with got an in-depth brief in French.
I really felt like we missed some info since our briefing took about 3 minutes while their briefing took a solid 10-13 minutes. That made me a little nervous, but with a language barrier, there’s only so many ways someone can tell you “Don’t be dumb and do what your tandem tells you”.
The waiting game
After all the paperwork signing and safety brief, we were given some fancy jumpsuits with little straps on the thighs. Those straps were unsurprisingly used to pull your legs up when landing so you can literally scoot your butt across the ground to slow down. Cool, as a guy, sounds fun (sarcasm).
As we were partnering up with who we’d be jumping with (obviously I was jumping tandem since it was my first time), I was the only one without a partner. Remember how I said it got scarier, this is that moment. As I looked around, I began to worry, “Was there a misunderstanding? Did they think I was jumping solo?! What’s happening, is my guy late because he got really drunk last night and won’t be able to function a parachute?!”. Yes, the ideas got dumber and more ridiculous with time.
Eventually, I talked to someone with a clipboard (she seemed official) and asked who I was jumping with. She said a name I couldn’t pronounce, and I asked where he was. After a second of looking around, then down at the clipboard, she stops and goes “oh”, and points directly up to a group of people falling out of the sky to point out the only guy wearing what looked like shorts. My jump partner was currently falling to Earth with someone else.
He was going to do two consecutive jumps and at first, I was relieved there wasn’t a mix up. That was until I heard screaming and looked up to see my partner spinning in circles (voluntarily) and scaring the hell out of the person he was with. “Great, I’m going to die of a heart attack at 21” was my only thought.
Boarding the plane!
Eventually my guy lands, unclips, and rushes over to me before introducing himself. He was the last person we were waiting on, so we all begin to board the plane.
The plane wasn’t large and is something you see on movies being used to smuggle small amounts of drugs. Not the friendliest comparison but it’s all I got. We all line up on the seats so we can easily be strapped to our partner before hopping out, my heart is now beating fast enough to dance to.
Before I know it, we’re off speeding down the runway. As we get enough lift to get off the ground, I notice a little turbulence. “Ok, I’ve flown before, a little turbulence isn’t bad”, I think. Then there’s more turbulence, worst than before.
Eventually, the plane is shaking around like it’s a saltshaker and a chef is trying to get the last specks of salt out. I thought the plane was broken and we were about to skydive before we even got out of the plane. Nope, it was business as usual.
I guess it’s normal for smaller planes to have a level of turbulence that causes you to rethink your entire life.
TIME TO JUMP!
I look out the window and people are ants, the plane is still rocking, and then a little light comes on at the front of the plane. My mind stops, time stops, and I strongly considering showing everyone on this plane what it looks like for a grown man to dehydrate from crying.
No time for nonsense, the door slides open and the solo jumpers are already on their feet approaching the gaping hole in the plane. They plan on jumping together and two straddle a pole on the outside of the plane. Then I realize, “That guy is on the outside of a plane, in the sky” and that thought took away a lot of the fear. The fear wasn’t gone because he was being brave or anything, it was because my brain couldn’t process how absolutely ridiculous the sight was.
Eventually the tandem jumpers (me included) begin scooting ourselves down the bench to get out, I’m the second one jumping. I watch the first two guys sit on the ledge of the door with their feet hanging out and just like that, they’re gone.
“S#!t, it’s my turn.”
Before I realize what’s happening, my feet are dangling out of this plane (that’s still shaking) and the guy I have entrusted my life asks me to move my head to the side so he can see.
“You got it! I’ll move my head if it helps, hell, I’ll give you my bank info if you need it to get me out of this alive!”
And just like in other stories of skydiving, he counted down from three before jumping, and jumped on two… asshole.
The first few seconds of falling, my stomach became one with my throat and I could taste the lunch from earlier. Just kidding, I couldn’t taste anything because my mind was fully focused on screaming internally.
But that was it, that was the worst of it. Honestly, after my stomach hit my throat and returned to its normal position, every single fear and worry of jumping was just gone. I can’t explain it and it doesn’t make any sense, but I opened my eyes (we had goggles on for the wind) and felt absolutely zero fear.
We were just peacefully falling, and the ground didn’t seem to even be coming at us that fast. Sadly, we were only able to freefall for so long, because you know, the ground is coming. But I loved every minute of it and even parachuting was so calming that I could’ve floated down for hours and never gotten sick of the view.
After a few minutes, we came down to land and as expected scooted to a stop. I got up, felt an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment (even though I did nothing whatsoever) and walked to greet my friend.
Just like that, all that anxious anticipation and fear was replaced with a feeling a tranquility. What a rollercoaster of emotions.
Would you do it again?
Skydiving truly is a one of a kind experience. I highly recommend for everyone to try it once and I may do it again someday. I don’t feel the need to do it anymore as it’s marked off my bucket list. But overall it was a moment I’ll always remember and am so glad I didn’t back out.