Skydiving on Mars (And How To Look Less Stupid)

Over the next month, I’ll be posting several articles on my recent trip to Jordan. These will be posting on Saturday’s in addition to all of our regularly scheduled content and will be focused on travel, adventure and living a better story. Enjoy.

Tomorrow, NASA’s rocket, the Curiosity rover is landing on Mars. People are quite excited about it, as it’s quite the scientific accomplishment, but I’m a little but I’m a little over it. After all, I landed on Mars a month ago….or at least skydived on to it. Here’s what happened:

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Sean and I were hanging out in Jordan, and we find out that we’re scheduled to jump out of a plane in Wadi Rum (The Valley of the Moon) named because it’s essentially a desert valley that looks like the moon or mars.

As soon as I heard about the opportunity, I was pumped. Sure, I’ve gone skydiving before, but last time I looked like an idiotthis was my chance for redemption!

I’ve consistently said that becoming okay with looking stupid is one of the most important things you can learn to do. The first time you try anything, you’re bound to screw up, do something stupid and look dumb. And that’s why lots of people don’t do cool things – they’re simply scared they’re going to look stupid. I used to let this paralyze me all the time, but over the past two years, I’ve gotten over this fearBecause just like you have to suck a lot in order to suck less, sometimes you have to look really stupid at first in order to look less stupid over time. But that doesn’t mean you want to look stupid all the time either! I was determined to look definitively less stupid this time through.

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A Brief Guide On Looking Less Stupid

Like I said, for my last skydive adventure I looked really stupid. Almost immediately after exiting the plane, I lost my goggles, lost a contact, made a bunch of really dumb faces and generally looked very, very stupid (all photographic and video evidence is available for your enjoyment here). I wasn’t going to let that happen this time. Here’s how I fixed it:

Take Inventory of What Went Wrong.

Last jump, I lost my goggles, a contact and my dignity. I wanted to hold on to at least one of those things this time.

Learn Something

I learned 3 things last time I jumped:

  1. Don’t lose your goggles
  2. Keep your mouth shut or you’re going to look stupid while your cheeks flap in the wind.
  3. Seriously, keep the goggles on.

That was it. If I could master those, I figured I’d be golden.

Upgrade Your Equipment

The operation at Skydive Jordan was top-notch. Skydiving in Oregon was fun, but there’s a reason Skydive Dubai (the organization that organized the Skydive Jordan operation) is ranked one of the best skydive operations in the world.

Everything from registration, to the waiting experience, to the actual jump and the turnaround time for the photos was incredible. I’ve mentioned before how getting great photographers to help you document whatever you want to do is a massive advantage. The results are apparent: you can literally see the difference in the photos below.

Get a Good Background

If nothing else, make sure you’ve got a great background. Real estate people say location, location, location, but for adventures it’s true to. I could have forgotten my pants and the photos would still look awesome thanks to the location.

Have Fun

If you have a good time, looking stupid doesn’t matter. Who cares if you look stupid while skydiving on Mars? YOU STILL SKYDIVED ON MARS! Have fun and nothing else matters.

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I could explain step by step how the jump went, but the video does a much, much better job at capturing it all. Simply put: it was a BLAST.

[click to view in email]

The video turned out great (I didn’t lose my goggles – so I was already ecstatic), but then I got the photos and just about lost it at how great they turned out (did I mention I was skydiving on Mars?).

SUCCESS! I jumped out of a plane in Wadi Rum (one of the coolest places on earth and my new favorite adventure location), I didn’t die AND I didn’t look like completely stupid. Triple boom.

But, if I hadn’t been willing to look really stupid last year, step out of my comfort zone and take a bunch of people I didn’t know adventuring, I probably wouldn’t have been ready for this one. So go adventure and don’t be afraid to look stupid along the way (don’t worry, you’ll get better over time)

While the entire trip was sponsored by the Jordan Tourism Board, but sponsored or not, this experience was freaking awesome (and unlike Reine, I wasn’t nervous at all)Did I mention this was on Mars…er…Wadi Rum? I cannot wait to get back there.

Comments

    • says

      Haha.

      That’s a whole NOTHER story. I kept thinking that I would weigh us down and she wouldn’t be able to hold us up (as if she, not the parachute, were the reason we’d slow down our freefall).

      Lot of fun – and pretty cool lady from New Zealand.

  1. says

    This is awesome! I have skydived a few times here in the states but jumping over Wadi Rum must have been absolutely incredible!

  2. Kathy Brown says

    Very timely post! I’ve been invited to try medieaval heavy combat fighting at the weekend. I know I’m gonna look really stupid. I’ve just come off of 2 months of hardly any exercise due to a bad throat infection & I’ve never had particularly great upper body strength – need I say more. I very nearly passed on the offer, but I’m glad now I didn’t, (and if I can manage to figure out how to upload some piccies to this page, next week you might even be able to have a good laugh with me at how I went).

  3. says

    Skydiving is def fun and awesome. But whats so “impossible” about jumping out of a plane while tethered to a professional who babysits you all the way down to the ground? Or running a triathlon with thousands of other people who also complete the course.
    Just like the computer guy at the coffee shop told you, go do something challenging that no one else has actually done before!

    • says

      Nicky, the unofficial goal of the sie is to “Push your limits, tell a great story and do something impossible.”

      I think this fulfills the requirement of the middle part of the goal especially considering visiting Jordan, skydiving or any of that would have been very impossible for the former laid-off UPS worker that I was when I started this site. That said, Russell definitely encouraged me to step it up so we’ve got a few big challenges later this week we’re announcing – be patient :).

  4. says

    My first jump was without the benefit of being tied to a sexy Kiwi and I look even more ridiculous than you do. Jumping out of a plane is on everyone’s bucket list but most people take their cues from movies and T.V so they don’t know how strenuous it can be.
    Anyone who is interested can read about what I learnt skydiving in Florida which is way prettier than Mars.

    http://www.writingsofamidlifeman.com/2012/07/02/skydiving-3-things-you-wont-learn-from-a-movie/

    Hopefully, you’ll look sensible on your next jump.

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