My love for indoor skydiving started a few years ago…
One day when I was feeling a little down (hey, the business manager role is not always rosy), three good friends who wanted to cheer me up took me for my freefall baptism at iFly in Union City, CA. The experience was a total of three minutes. I must say it felt short and long at the same time, and I came out of there totally sold to the activity, full of energy and with a smile on my lips…
A few years later, I rediscovered these sensations by getting into this activity for real. Now, for someone like me who suffers from vertigo, what do I find thrilling about being thrown into a wind tunnel that gives me the same sensations as skydiving, fear of heights and all? It’s all about fighting my fears again and again – and you already know that’s a challenge I can’t help tackling!
I took an instructor to first learn the basics, followed by techniques to fly on my stomach, then on my back, how to do pirouettes, etc. I became so addicted that flying once a week became the norm (and the tunnel is a full hour away from my home, so you can just imagine my level of addiction!). And then, just while I was making great progress, a lovely little sprain forced me out of the tunnel for 7 months. But last month, I decided it was time to head back. To be fully honest with you, I actually snuck into the tunnel with my splint back in November, but a poorly executed front-to-back transition caused me to hit myself, and hello pain again. Punished for being too addicted!
In short, this passion burns so strong that when I found myself in Paris for a book launch (LeBodyChallenge) and the SNCF press conference (I am their wellbeing ambassador for the TGV railway company), I could not miss trying out the most beautiful tunnel in the world at iFly Paris in Vill’Up! It is truly a breathtaking beauty! 14 meters high, 4.30 meters in diameter (larger than my usual tunnel) and above all, full glass from the bottom up (the one I started at is mostly concrete with very little glass). So while in France for 16 days, I managed to cram in 6 sessions (including 3 on one day)! And all of that on top of a packed work schedule…don’t ask me how I did it, it’s my secret! All I’ll say is: when there’s a will, there’s a way!
What’s more, I discovered that with an instructor who is positive and encouraging, I could progress incredibly fast! Tony truly helped me embrace the learning curve, guiding me through every step with a smile and also letting me escape from time to time to just chill out.
It’s really important to work with an instructor who encourages you and makes you feel comfortable!
I track my progress on the International Bodyflight Association website.
Here, my instructors can validate my skills as I go along.
I also log my flying time, and I was actually incredibly surprised to see that I’ve only done 12 hours total since my debut!
So there’s still quite a margin to get to the level I’m aiming for!
Lastly, when you become really addicted…you get swept up in all the fashion and gear! I went for a pink jumpsuit with a matching helmet, and as you can imagine the possibilities are endless.
But addiction aside – because I don’t really recommend that part 😉 – I do hope this article inspires you to at least just try this incredible experience!
For my part, I’ll be returning to Paris soon to perfect my technique and alleviate my stress levels, and in the meantime, I’m going to train with Shawn at the iFly in Union City. As for what’s next, I’m certainly envisioning the real deal sometime soon: outdoor skydiving. The notion terrifies me but I want it so much!
In all cases, my 2017-18 goals are looking pretty intense!
Namaste, and sending my blessing for you to find the activities and hobbies that make you feel alive!
Your LeBootCamp Coach