1 Year of BASE

Today marks the anniversary of my first BASE jump. I made 82 jumps over the year. I would love to have broken 100 but at the same time its not about the numbers.

The experiences I’ve had, the places I’ve had the opportunity of visiting, and the people I’ve met over the last year have been life changing.

BASE has given me a true appreciation for life. I’m often asked why I choose to participate in an activity that is so dangerous and while I think it’s unexplainable in words, and that you have to experience it to fully understand it I want to make an attempt at doing so, and list some of my favorite things about it so here it goes.

1- It forces you to be present and confront yourself 
How often in life are you truly in a position knowing that there is a possibility you can die? Sure, any one of us could die in a car crash today but it’s something you don’t usually think about.
Any day that I know I might be jumping I walk around with butterflies in my stomach and I’m constantly fighting the ‘what if’ scenarios that my mind wants to create. When I’m on a jumping trip I don’t deal with it as much as when I’m at home because it almost seems like its not real. Jump, pack, repeat is the usual process when somewhere like Idaho. The world seems to be on pause and all that exists is whats right in front of you but at home I have my real world responsibilities to work into the mix as well.
On a day when I might be jumping I sometimes walk around thinking that it might be my last day alive and I focus on all the things in my life that I’m grateful for, knowing that it might be the end. I wrote about this in detail in a previous post that was published on Skydive Mag (read it for a little more perspective).

You really learn a lot about yourself and put your life in perspective when standing on an exit point or clinging to a ladder hundreds of feet in the air and I feel that I have learned more about myself in those moments in the past 12 months than any other period in my life to date.

It’s a very spiritual experience for me.

2- Problem Solving 
Every jump is totally different even if it’s off the same object, with the same gear, and with the same people. The wind is always a little different. The day or night leading up to it is always different. How you feel is always different. Because of this you have to access the situation differently and come up with strategies on how to safely pull off the jump. A ‘normal’ person wouldn’t believe how much planning goes into something that might last 20seconds from the moment you step off the edge to you getting your feet back off the ground. This planning and on the spot decision making is very fulfilling to me.

3- Travel
I love going to new places and exploring. I’ve been doing it my whole life. The way a new place looks, smells, and feels. I love it all. BASE is allowing me to travel to places that I wouldn’t have gone without it and it allows me to see things from a totally different perspective. Standing on a cliff and taking in the amazing views is one thing, but to do so then jump off, and hike out is something totally different and very special. This past year I was just jumping around the US but I have upcoming plans of going to Italy, and next year Norway and Malaysia to jump.

4- The People 
There is a very strong bond that forms when sharing intense moments with people. I’ve been doing this my whole life through various different sports and I’m truly addicted to it. I’ve experienced it through all sports but when you make eye contact with a fellow jumper in the moments leading up to a jump or give each other knuckles there is an unsaid understanding of the risk you are both about to take and you again share in each others elation on the other end of the jump.
Not to mention all the crazy shit that happens outside of jumping. The jokes, constant antics, and fucking with each other as much as possible is always really fun.
People who I didn’t even know a year ago I now consider family and that will continue to evolve over the years.

5- It’s fucking AWESOME
When that chute opens without any problems it’s like breathing for the first time. I look around as if I’ve been blind but can finally see. The world seems fresh, problems seem distant, and stress is completely gone.
There’s a moment when you step off the edge that seems to happen in slow motion and you remember so much detail about such a short period of time. This feeling is extremely addictive and must be controlled. Anything that seems to good to be true usually is.
I’ve thought about giving up everything in my life many times to pursue that moment more and more but I’m able to keep it at bay.

There life changing consequences from errors in judgement, impatience, and plain stupidity. I plan on doing this for a long time so taking a somewhat conservative progressive approach is what will lead to that.

Here’s to another year of Awesome.
 

john