It has been a while, my apologies – Life has made a few drastic turns, leaving my free time extremely limited.
Between juggling new projects at work, moving, and drop zone politics; life has been busy in most other areas as well, to say the least.
I am happy to say that amongst the chaos, there have been many great experiences since I last sat down to write: My jump numbers have increased to 252, I recently received my C-License YAY, I have started filming tandems and this past Saturday, I was able to do a display jump into our biggest air show in South Africa – This was an amazing experience that I had been aiming towards for a number of years. To top it all off, I jumped from a 1944 Piston driven Dakota “Marilyn” with many of my great friends. Naturally, this jump was promptly followed by BEERS, which was a great way to end off a great day!
In November & December 2011 I was in Tampa, Florida for my sister’s wedding, and I jumped at the opportunity to get some tunnel coaching with Luis Prinetto who was able to break some habits that I had formed with my sitfly and vastly improved my skydiving in general! On a side note: anyone wanting to improve their skydiving, regardless of skill level or discipline, I strongly recommend Luis – He is an excellent coach!
As I was Florida, I made sure that I visited a few drop zones to see what they are like when compared to our small DZ’s in South Africa, and man was I impressed! Before my trip last year, many people had told me that I would not be able to even imagine how much better skydiving in the States was than it is here – they were RIGHT. I made a few jumps at DeLand, Sebastian, Z-Hills and Tampa Bay – I really enjoyed all of them, but I cannot tell you which I prefer as I have not been able to decide.
I have a number of family members in Florida and it was really great being able to spend time with them all. My sister’s wedding was beautiful and she has married a really great guy that I have no doubt will be a great husband for her. Oddly enough, her husband grew up in South Africa, roughly 30 minutes away from her, and his father knows my dad from business many years ago. It’s amazing how small the world has become.
I got home from my amazing US holiday with an open mind – it was my third trip to the States, but my first as an “adult”. My friends have been trying to work out why I choose to stay in South Africa when I am a US Citizen. The question that is very common for me is “but you have an American Passport, why are you still here?”. Up until this point, my answer was simple and standard: “I love South Africa”. For those of you who are not familiar with this country, it truly is beautiful; we have 12 months of fantastic weather, great beaches, mountains and wonderful natural sights around the country, all within a few hours of where I live. Unfortunately though, it does have some bad points as well. Crime and a dysfunctional government have many people worried about its long-term future. This aside, I still love the place and will always call it my home.
Anyway (I digress), I have booked myself a one-way ticket to Florida, resigned from my job, and am in the process of getting everything in order for my big move on the 1st of October, 2012.
The decision to move 8422 Miles was not an easy one to make! I have amazing friends, (had) a great job which I enjoyed and allowed me to skydive. Not to mention that it means leaving my parents, sister, brother-in-law and two nephews here, as well as many other people and opportunities.
I have never been one to make a list of PRO’s and CON’s as I’m generally quite spontaneous, this decision however, took a number of weeks to make. There was one major deciding factor: I want to skydive! Although amazing and filled with great people, our DZ’s here are too small for me to give skydiving a real go. I love working with students and have been coaching and jump-mastering for about a year. I love freeflying and I love flying my canopy, FAST!
So – I have come to the conclusion that in order for me to be able to progress as much as I would like to in the sport, there is only one option: Move to Florida!
I’m unbelievably excited, nervous, sad and outright TERRIFIED – it’s a strange combination of feelings.
I’m extremely analytical and try to find answers and reasons for every situation, I research and analyze every possible scenario and outcome for every situation in my life (it’s a bit annoying), but with this, I’m just stepping out of my comfort zone, a leap of faith, if you will. There are LOTS of unanswered questions about this move; will I be able to get a decent job? How long will it take to find a job? Will I be able to get on my feet quickly? Am I going to be imposing on my family by staying with them while I get on my feet? Will I enjoy the States, How long am I going to give it? And of course, which DZ do I make my home!!?? But, I’m going against my better judgement and ignoring the part of myself that wants answers. I’m just going to wing it and see where life takes me.
I preach that people step out of their comfort zones and “live a little”, it’s a bit ironic considering how shit scared I am to do the same. Haha. For the first time, I am taking my own advise because I know it’s for the best. I will just have to let you all know how it turns out.
Blue Skies and Happy Days!