As a bit of a daredevil in my younger days, I was blessed to check some fun and memorable items off my bucket list. One of my friends took me acrobatic flying in a Super Decathlon and I was hooked, parachute and all. Lazy eights, hammer-head stalls, and clover leafs made me feel like I was over the moon! While upside down, my friend keyed up the mic and yelled “Are you okay?” into my headphones. All I could say in response was, “Whooooo Hooooo!!!” Afterwards, I thought ‘what if something happened to the pilot and I had to land the plane by myself?’ I better sign up for an Aviation Ground School course at the local college and take flying lessons! Yep, that’s what I did. Power on, power off stalls and touch and go landings were my favorite during training. For you aviation enthusiasts…Whiskey-Hotel-Oscar-Oscar-Oscar Hotel-Oscar-Oscar-Oscar!
No doubt about it, I loved acrobatic flying over the ocean, but I thought I better learn how to scuba dive just in case we ended up in the water, LOL. That was my next bucket list adventure. I traveled to awesome scuba spots like St. Thomas and Cayman Islands, which had breathtaking underwater views, but after a close shark encounter and lost underwater camera, I gave up. On to trick waterskiing instead. That was a crack up though, because, try as I may, I could never waterski backwards for more than a few seconds before falling forward and landing face first! I experienced the opposite of landing flat on my face while trying out snowboarding, which I can say with authority, at least for me, should be renamed to ‘butt-boarding.’
Next, I organized a group of emergency responders for a skydiving adventure, another one of my bucket list items. But, one-by-one, each canceled until I remained all by my lonesome self. Too scared to go alone, I put that one on hold.
I defended that bucket list item when my microbiology lab partner challenged me to a debate. The question: was skydiving more thrilling than hang gliding? Of course I picked skydiving. My lab partner, who was a certified hang glider, picked that. On hang glide day, my lab partner paired me up with a cute instructor for a tandem ride. I thought it was awful nice of her! In preflight training, I learned when you tandem hang glide, the instructor must put his arm around you to grab onto the handle. Yep, that’s what they told me 🙂 But the sticky (or smelly) part was: once the instructor put his arm around me and we ran off the cliff, I smelled a powerful stench of body odor coming from him. And though there was beautiful scenery as we gently soared over the hills below, nothing else mattered to me except landing and getting the heck out of dodge (and maybe a hot shower!). My lab partner and I never followed up with a skydiving trip to compare the two, so no one won the debate.
I checked a few more items off my list including backpacking in the sierras, swimming with stingrays, and came in second place in a mini-grand prix race, which was the coolest thing ever with its tire-lined racetrack and pit-crews. I was pretty excited, especially since I accidentally rolled my race car in practice. Ooops! Now that’s one for the books (pun intended).