Note: I’ve been meaning to write this blog post all week but time has continued to slip away from me. That said, I find myself with time to actually do so on a morning where I’m suffering the effects of one too many glasses of wine, so if this isn’t up to snuff, now you know why.
I have to admit, I’ve been incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to travel around the country and visit different dropzones. It gives me a chance to experience the mini jump communities within the world of skydiving. Each dropzone has it’s own culture and it’s fun to meet and jump with so many different people.
This weekend I visited Skydive Long Island for the first time. I’ve only jumped in the state of New York once before moving here and it was a weekend spent at The Ranch a couple years back, so I was eager to try out a new dropzone. My buddy is one of the videographers/AFF instructors out at Long Island so I decided to give it a shot.
Driving out of the city was liberating. I didn’t realize how much I missed being on the road, away from the insanity that is New York City and spending some time in a slower paced atmosphere.
Now, given the amount of dropzones I’ve flavored in the past 5 years, I should know better than to assume I know what I’m walking into, but I have to admit that I did expect a typical New York experience at SDLI – that couldn’t have been a worse assumption.
Walking into the hanger I was greeted by incredibly friendly staff at manifest, was introduced to a couple instructors who took time to show me the facilites and was even taken on a golf cart ride of the LZ – which, is necessary because it’s absolutely huge (and as someone who came from the South, I was immediately impressed by the time and effort that each person put into making my stay there enjoyable).
I met up with my friend and he introduced me to some freeflyers who I spent the remainder of the day jumping with. Throughout my time there people continued to approach me, recognizing that I was the new girl, and introducing themselves. It was refreshing to say the least.
What I noticed, and it really got me to thinking about some of the similarities of dropzones I’ve frequented in the past, is that accents on the dropzone are incredibly true to region. When I jumped at Skydive Chicago some of my friends had the thickest Chicago accents I’ve ever heard. In the South, there were a handful of people at the dropzone who I actually had a hard time understanding because of their Southern drawl. That remained true here in New York as I met some people who clearly grew up on Long Island.
As someone who doesn’t live in the state where she grew up, and hasn’t lived there for almost a decade, it’s fun for me to spend time around people who are living within mere miles of where they were born and raised. They know so much about the area, have all the advice in the world to give about where you should visit, how you should get around, etc. Thanks to my new friends for recommending the vineyards and taking the LIRR out instead of driving.
So, my suggestion is, always visit the local dropzones when you travel. They’ll give you a taste of what the real community is like.
Love and Blue Skies!
You may recall from my last post that I made a list of all the things that make me, me. Well, I was trying to figure out how to incorporate “how I define myself” into that post, but the truth is, a top 5 list isn’t going to cut it here.
I’m at a place in my life where I’m incredibly comfortable with who I am. It took me nearly 30 years to get to this place, but knowing that some people never achieve this level of comfort with themselves, I feel pretty good about that.
As someone who participates in handful of activities that others like to judge (read: skydiving, tattoos, EDM raves, etc) I’ve found that it’s actually easier to feel good about the things you do when you find yourself in situations that require you to defend you actions.
Now, that said, you also quickly learn that it’s completely unnecessary to defend the things that make you happy to others. People love to hate. They LOOOOVE it. So don’t let people who say shit like “why would you want to do that?” about anything, make you think for even a second that maybe you shouldn’t. They’re just projecting. They’re scared, or some other shit, and because they can’t bring themselves to do it they think you shouldn’t either. Walk away. Those people don’t support you – there are plenty of people out there who will, even if they don’t have tattoos, skydive, go to raves, etc.
Having the ability to embrace and own the parts of yourself that define who you are is great. But having the ability to recognize the imperfections and realizing that those things don’t define you is pretty incredible.
That said, I wanted to visit a few of those things that really do define who I am every single day:
My life has been focused on my career for as long as I can remember. Even in high school all I wanted to was to be successful. I’ve moved from Michigan to Texas to Ohio to Illinois to Georgia to New York and to multiple cities within these states chasing the next best career opportunity. I can’t imagine my life any other way. Personal success is critical to my happiness and I have to say I’m pretty proud of where I’ve been able to go in the last 8 years. Can’t wait to see where this path takes me in the next 8 years.
I got my first tattoo when I was 20 years old. It’s two interlocking hearts on my foot. I had a needle on my skin for all of 2 minutes to accomplish this. I got another one to symbolize my love for music. Then I waited years to get another. I thought I was done. Tattoos didn’t define who I was at the time, it was just a “phase,” or so I thought. In recent years I’ve gone from a chick who has tattoos to a tattooed chick. My tattoos tell a story of my life. When I look at them I have great memories and great stories to tell. Each comes from a time in my life where I felt strongly about something – something that defines me. My tattoos are my way of visually expressing the parts of me that make me who I am. Sometimes I get disapproving looks, stares and friends and family members who shake their head. I’ve even been told that I don’t look like a chick who would have tattoos. Other times I have people stop me on the street or in my office and want to see them closer, want to know more. Those are the moments I thrive. My tattoos are for me. But, like them or not, they’re certainly not going anywhere – and there are more to come, you can count on that.
Having lived in numerous cities across the country, and visited dozens of others on business, I have gained an added appreciation for travel. I take any opportunity I can to visit places I’ve never been. I like to take opportunities and turn them into travel experiences. For instance, when I go to Tomorrowland (in Belgium) this summer, I’ll also be visiting Amsterdam and Germany – turning a 3-day festival into an exploration of Europe. This is just scratching the surface and I definitely need to go back, but at least I get to see more than I will in Boom, Belgium. I’ve also been known to extend business trips over weekends in order to visit friends or explore new places.
As a girl you grow up thinking of fairy tales and princesses and having this perfect life with a perfect partner. With experience I’ve realized that life is about personal success and if you can have people in your life that you can share those experiences with, life becomes even more amazing. Relationships, whether friends, family or significant others, are mutually beneficial – or at least they should be. You have each others backs, you love each other to the extent that being there for them is not a burden but a role you’re happy to fill. I take a lot of pride in my ability to love others to this extent. I have a lot of love to give and those who are in my life see and understand this – and hopefully, cherish it.
I have amazing friends. The ones who live in NYC and the ones who don’t. I’m so incredibly lucky to have the people in my life that I do, and honestly, I’m proud to call them friends. I’ve learned over the years that I don’t let people into the “friend zone” unless they’ve earned it. And I’ve also learned when to remove people from that zone that don’t deserve it. Friends do, with the exception of a special few, come and go. But the impact they have on your life in the time they’re there is invaluable.
I joke that I’m the “black sheep” of my family, and for the most part that’s true. Not only have I “moved away” from home but I continue to move around the country to chase experiences. I skydive, I have tattoos, I’m divorced, I go to raves and spend my money on experiences rather than “saving for retirement.” Regardless, my family continues to stand behind me. They support me when I need it the most and are there to let me know they’re there if I need them. I’m closer with my parents than I’ve ever been even though we live hundreds of miles away. I’m lucky to be able to return home for visits and say that my blood relatives are pretty “normal,” whatever that means.
I saved this one for last because, well, it’s pretty obvious. This is my 5th season as a skydiver. Being a “skydiver” is something that has changed over time. At first it was “cool” and now it’s about being a part of this amazing community, always having people who get you and get why you jump. It’s about the freedom you experience with each and every jump. It’s about pushing yourself, your limits and having as much fun as you possibly can. The sky is my playground and with each jump I feel a little bit closer to my 8-year-old self.
So tell me, what defines you?
Today is one of those beautiful spring days in the city where you just want to be outside. In fact, I’m spending time working out on the terrace at my office right now. But I still find myself in this stupid funk. Maybe it’s because I’m not jumping when it’s this nice? I dunno. Whatever.
That said, I feel like talking about the little things that annoy me when I’m talking to people about skydiving, specifically whuffos. I remember when I started jumping, that’s all I wanted to talk about to anyone who would listen. Now, going into my 5th season, I spend much time hoping that people won’t ask me about it because I hate the dumb questions – especially from people who don’t get it and will never jump but love to judge me for it.
What gets me even more is people who post really dumb sayings on Facebook (or Twitter, or whatever other online medium you can think of), thinking they are being clever. Let’s name a few, shall we?
- You don’t need a parachute to skydive, you only need one to skydive twice.
- Why would you jump from a perfectly good airplane?
- Do you remember when skydiving was dangerouse and sex was safe?
- You know you’re a skydiver when you can’t put on a backpack without checking for leg straps.
- If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving definitely isn’t for you.
I’m sure there have got to be lots more out there, but I was already getting pissed off just writing these. Can you think of any that I missed?
I suck as a blogger these days. There’s been so much going on in my life, between switching career paths a bit and getting settled into what feels like a whole new life, I’ve been neglecting y’all.
But don’t feel too bad, it’s not just you, I’ve been neglecting the sky, too. The last few weekends have been spent on the ground for the most part. I was lucky enough to attend the Skydive Tuskegee Christmas Party / Dropzone Opening Kickoff, but on Sunday I woke up with a touch of the stomach flu so I was out of commission for a good 4 days after that.
Now we’re full on into the holiday season and I have trips planned to see family and friends. Unfortunately I won’t be making it to The Invasion as planned, but maybe I’ll share some fun tidbits from my New Year’s when I get back…just maybe.
I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and to all my friends going to The Invasion, have a little extra fun in the sky for me, will ya?
Love and blue skies!
When you think about the world we live in, regardless of place and time, life runs on the community that surrounds it. Everywhere you look is community. Whether it’s the town you live in, your neighborhood, an interest group, your work or a sport, every facet of life includes an aspect of community.
This is something I didn’t fully appreciate until I started skydiving.
The community that surrounds this sport never ceases to amaze me. Jumpers come from all backgrounds, are all ages at all skill levels, and we all have different priorities when it comes to what we want to do within the world of skydiving – whether it’s compete, instruct, or simply enjoy skydiving for what it is.
No matter the role skydiving plays in your life, there’s one thing that’s consistent in the lives of all jumpers: they are a part of this community.
So what does that mean, really? I think community is a subjective term based on how you approach it. Some people feel more involved, more obligated, more engrained than others, but at the end of the day, the skydiving community has proved, to me at least, to be one of the most incredible I’ve encountered.
Not only do skydivers understand one another (we don’t have to explain why we do what we do – not like when we’re talking to whuffos) but there’s mutual respect and understanding for fellow jumpers. This is a community that feels a sense of responsibility for its members. We are always looking out for one another, we share tips and stories that help jumpers progress in the sport, we pass along connections within the community. We taken in traveling skydivers to crash on our couches, we share rides to dropzones and boogies. hen the weather is crummy we all pile in the car and head to see a movie, or find other ways to keep our restless minds occupied…and we do it together. The skydiving community is our second family, and sometimes our jump buddies even get treated better than our blood relatives.
We all chose this sport for a reason. We all share the passion of the sky. And if you so choose, you too can be a part of this incredible community – so long as you put into it what you hope to get out. Take care of your fellow skydivers and the community will take care of you.
Love and Blue Skies!
Believe it or not, I don’t have a lot to talk about these days. There’s a lot of really amazing things happening in my life at the moment, some of which I’m not at liberty to talk about and the rest is shit you probably don’t want to hear about anyway.
That said, I’m lacking in blog content. My brand new Crossfire2 109 came the other day courtesy of my amazing sponsors over at NZ Aerosports and is getting all prepped and ready for me to jump thanks to my friends at ChutingStar (new location in Marietta is amazing, btw. Laura gave me the grand tour when I dropped off my rig the other day and I have to say I was impressed with the space. Not only that, I was mildly thrilled to see Big Steve in the loft…I love fun surprises).
Saturday I’ll finally get to jump her! It should be a sin to have skydiving equipment delivered on a Monday – it’s complete torture!
On top of that I’m making my plans for the holidays – starting with the Christmas party at Skydive Tuskegee and ending with the Invasion at Skydive Sebastian. So much fun to be had at these events. You should totally try to make it out if these dropzones are not on your radar.
That’s my blog update for the time being. So I’m turning to my loyal readers for ideas – what do you want to read about? Anything I haven’t talked about in a while, or ever, that you want me to discuss? I’m open to ideas. This is just as much your community as it is mine…I’m all ears.
Love and Blue Skies!
Apologies I’ve been MIA for so long – it’s really only been just over a week but it feel like forever since I’ve written.
Last week was spent entirely in Boston and New Hampshire, checking out the city and the fall foliage, and most importantly getting a few hours of tunnel time.
Skyventure New Hampshire is a 30 minute drive (sans traffic – which is rare) from Boston and I can’t recommend this tunnel enough. A friend of mine who arranged for our group to go on this trip had been talking it up, but until I was there I just didn’t get how great the facilities, staff and instructors really are.
Having trained at Paraclete and Skyventure Colorado, I was used to having tunnel instructors who were also skydivers, so I was amazed to find out half way through our trip that most of the guys at SVNH are solely tunnel rats. Let me tell you what, they are some of the most amazing flyers I’ve seen, and some of the nicest. Their ability to instruct is top-notch – every time I thought I wasn’t going to get something, Brad, Ryan, Zack, Derek or Ed would lean over and say that one thing that made it all click.
I was told they have great mojo when it comes to getting jumpers off the net (head down) and they weren’t kidding. Not only that, but the drills they suggested helped break up the training and keep things fun. For two of the four days we were there, our group took up the majority of the rotations and we all had opportunity to jump in and fly with other people on their time. So much progression was happening before our eyes and getting to watch your friends nail that maneuver they’ve been working so hard to get is awesome. On the days we weren’t dominating the tunnel we were able to meet and fly with some other jumpers which always ended up being a great time.
Every time I go to the tunnel I have to admit I dread it a little bit. I know that I’m going to be sore for days after and that it’s going to beat me up – but I’m addicted the progression so it’s worth it. After leaving SVNH all I wanted to do was go back. Regardless of the soreness in my legs and my shoulders that were screaming at me to quit, I would have found a way to fly more rotations, if only there was more money and more time.
Needless to say, it’s worth flying to Boston to get some time in this tunnel. I can’t wait till we go back again. Check out some pictures below from the trip.
Moments of clarity tend to come to me at all times of the day. Today, it was on the stair climber at the gym, where I effectively wrote most of this post. Hope you enjoy!
It’s not uncommon to hear skydivers word vomiting about the importance of following your dreams – doing and living what you love. After all, we found our passion and want nothing more than to see the rest of the world seeking out theirs. Really, we only do this with the best of intentions.
But let’s be honest, for most of us, and even those who preach about living their passion, it’s not all unicorns shitting rainbows over here. Nothing is perfect all time time. It’s about balance. We have decisions to make to get us to our optimal level of happiness. As i see it, so long as the positive outweighs the negative, regardless of how that ratio fluctuates day-to-day or even moment-to-moment, I’m all good.
I tend to see life as a series of events rather than an ongoing stream of consciousness. This outlook allows me to pull happiness into my life in multiple ways throughout the day. I’m not an all or nothing girl, so if something doesn’t work out at 9am, my day isn’t shot, there’s still plenty more opportunity to have an amazing day – this also keeps me in check from allowing one let down to spiral out of control into a bad mood that lasts longer than anyone around me would prefer.
Every day I make it a point to do something I love – often multiple things. I guess that’s easy to do when you have so many things in life that make you happy. As I’ve mentioned before, I couldn’t “quit life” to become a skydiver because I like diversity in my every day…not to mention that I’m not ready to make my hobby into a job. As one friend said to me recently “make anything ‘work’ and it takes just a little bit of the awesomeness out of it.” I prefer to stay in awe of this sport and this community every day. Jaded can wait.
But back to happiness here….
Finding ways to fold those activities that make me happy into each day is my key to sanity and keeping that positive to negative ratio in my favor. Here are just a few things that, at the end of the day, make me smile.
It’s not just coincidental that I’m here, sharing a few times each week with y’all. As much as I love keeping this community satisfied, let’s be honest, I’m here for me too. Writing is cathartic. It’s how I sort through my thoughts, how I make sense of the craziness going on in my head sometimes. By writing it down, I’m able to sort through the crap to find the meat of my thoughts. I attribute my ability to reflect, learn and grow every day from my writing. It’s by far my best creative outlet. (If I haven’t said it lately, thanks for sharing it with me.)
There’s a running joke that I have a hug quota, but sometimes I really believe it to be true. Sometimes, a hug can just make everything better.
Sharing laughs with over a beer
Whether it’s on a patio after work or around the bonfire at the dropzone after a day of skydiving, spending this type of time with my friends is crucial to my happiness. Now, for those who have been paying attention, I have to call myself out on this before you do – yes, I realize I’m a bit of a hypocrite here. Earlier this year I wrote about a friend of mine who criticized me for not having a social life because I wasn’t out at the bars every night after work. I still stand behind the fact that I don’t need to go out and drink every night to consider myself social, and that I’d rather put the money spent on $7 beers toward skydiving, but I will admit that after first moving to Atlanta I was a bit of a hermit. I was going through some personal crap and the last thing I wanted was to be out with other people while I had a lot to work through on my own. That said, I do understand the value, and often the need, to have this quality time with friends over a beer or three. I’m so lucky to have the friends I do here and am incredibly thankful for the packed social schedule it provides. I’ve never felt so much like myself as I do now.
That said, I value my Ashley time immensely. A gym membership is always one of those things I’ve struggled with because, honestly, I don’t want to spend the money every month. That’s two extra skydives people! Truth is, I need that time at the gym. Instead of taking “me time” on the couch cuddling with the dog as my brain turns to mush in front of the TV, I’m able to do some cardio and lift some weights while I work through the thoughts in my head.
I like to feel good about myself, and when I’m doing things to push my mind and improve my body, I leave the experience exhausted yet feeling amazing knowing I’ve accomplished something. Challenge makes me happy – hence picking up a sport like skydiving. And we can’t forget about those endorphins. There’s a reason I start every morning by heading to the gym – it sets the tone for the day and gives me a nice little kick start. Lately I’ve even found myself heading back there after work if I don’t have other plans. Why sit around surfing the channels when I could be doing something positive for myself instead, right?
Of course, that doesn’t mean that I don’t like my downtime. Aside from Thursday nights (because let’s be honest, that’s the best TV night), I often find myself curling up with a good book. Sometimes there’s just nothing better than losing yourself in another reality with a good novel. Although lately I’ve found myself craving non-fiction as well. I like to soak up knowledge on things like psychology, human behavior and of course skydiving. Sometimes even a good magazine will do – subscriptions to Blue Skies Mag, Psychology Today, Women’s Health and Parachutist keep me happy there.
It’s amazing what even 10 minutes of deep breathing and focusing on your body can do for your emotional well being.
Quality time with my dog
Whether it’s going to the dog park, out on a walk around the neighborhood or chilling on the couch, my dog always puts me in a happy place. Every day she makes me laugh, and for that I am grateful.
At the gym, reading, cleaning, at work….these are just a few of the times you’ll find me with ear buds in and jamming along to the appropriate tunes for the circumstances. Blasting music and singing at the top of my lungs is the only way I get through chores and long drives. Music has played a big role in my life for as long as I can remember. I was a “band geek” even through college. I have a music inspired tattoo. I am often found tapping my fingers, my feet, my hands along to a rhythm that only I can hear inside my head. Something about music touches my soul and there’s always a song to put me into whatever state I desire most. It’s amazing how influential music really is in my life.
The smell of pumpkin and lavendar
Let’s be honest, we’ve touched on most of the other senses here…you can’t ignore that scent can be quite mood altering. Something as simple as lighting a lavender candle in my house can be enough to calm the day and put me in a happy place.
What’s that? Did I really just say work? That thing that everyone is trying to escape so they can live their lives? Well, to be honest, I enjoy a solid day of work. Productivity makes me happy. I feel satisfied after tackling those items on my to-do list. I often find myself volunteering to help out with events – hence my up-and-coming philanthropy consulting that we’ll be talking more about in the coming months. I rep for Deepseed not just because I love their products but because it gives me something to pursue while on the ground at the dropzone. When friends have projects they need help with, I’m the first to lend a hand. At the end of the day, if I’ve accomplished something I can be proud of, I’m happy.
Having something to look forward to is critical in my life. I love traveling to new places, jumping at new dropzones, testing out different wind tunnels, or even just going to visit friends in a new city. Variety definitely is the spice of life.
Making others happy
It makes me happy to put a smile on someone’s face. I’m always happy to help out a friend in need or do something out of my comfort zone to make someone else happy. I’ve been known to be that random stranger on the street who compliments someone when they look like they’re having a rough morning – after all, that may be the nicest thing they hear all day.
You didn’t think i was going to leave that off the list, did you? Freefall is my happy place. Skydiving is by far my biggest passion and if I could, I’d do it every day for the rest of my life.
So tell me, what makes YOU happy?
Love and Blue Skies!
As unfortunate as it may be, the only time we hear much about skydiving in the media is when someone gets injured or killed – and these stories are rarely accurate in their account of the incident (read: “a skydiver died today because his parachute failed to open…” blah blah blah). Occasionally you’ll hear about or see a heart warming blurb about an 80-year-old lady who celebrated her birthday with a tandem skydive, but overall the media tends to trash the name of our sport.
Today was different. Today, all eyes were on one man who made big waves in our sport. Today, Felix Baumgartner, with the help of the members of the Red Bull Stratos mission team in Roswell, New Mexico, made history. The media coverage included live streaming of the event on CNN and Discovery Channel, among others. Most of my friends were not only live streaming on redbullstratos.com but also watching it on television so as not to miss a second. All coverage of the event was not only positive for our sport, but absolutely epic. Skydivers around the world stopped their lives to witness this event – as did many a whuffo.
This mission has been in the works for more than 5 years. Felix has been preparing and training for this moment, for his chance to beat the freefall record previously held by Joe Kittinger – his mentor on this mission – for half a decade. And today, it happened as millions (I’m making that number up, I have no idea how many were watching, but it sounds good) sat behind their computers and TVs cheering him on, wanting this so badly for Felix and for the skydiving community.
I can’t speak for others but my experience went something like this: sit around watching the ground crew do their thing for hours, praying to the wind gods that they cooperate, get covered in goosebumps as the balloon lifts off the ground and cheering when it took Felix in his pod with it, sitting on the edge of my seat and counting the feet as he ascended into the stratosphere, holding my breath as all pre-jump checks were taking place, gasping at the amazing sight when the door to that pod opened to the world below, feeling my heart race as Felix stepped out onto that platform, and a complete feeling of awe as he stepped off into freefall. I may or may not have shed a tear or two as he opened his canopy and flew safely back to the ground.
A press conference a couple hours after the mission completed told us some amazing stats:
Exit altitude: 128,100 ft. (It was estimated he’d get out at 120K, but the balloon just wasn’t ready to stop)
Time in freefall: 4:20 over 119,846 feet
Maximum speed: 833.9 mph – Mach 1.24
Today, skydiving saw more positive press than it has in quite some time, if ever. Today, Felix broke the sound barrier in freefall. Today, a human body fell from the highest altitude it ever has. Today, skydiving history was made.
I’m so proud to be a part of this amazing community. Time stood still for most of us as we watched history in the making.
You can find out more details about the mission and it’s outcome at http://redbullstratos.com. Below are a few pictures from the mission today, but be sure to check it all out at the link above.
On two separate occasions yesterday I was asked what it is that I like about living in Atlanta – once by a friend who has only visited the city a handful of times and once by a fellow transplant.
Having lived in a lot of cities in the past half decade, I find that after I’ve been in a place for 9 months I start to get the itch to pick up and find a new home. This is something I haven’t yet felt as a resident of Atlanta, but until yesterday, I never really thought about why that is – here’s what I’ve come up with:
When I moved here everyone told me that people who live in Atlanta are not actually from Atlanta. It’s amazing how true I’ve found this to be. Regardless, I have some of the best friends a girl could ask for, and most of them I’ve met or become closer to in the last 9 months. I’m amazed every day that I’m surrounded by people who enrich my life and continue to show me how great each day can be if you simply let it.
As skydivers, we tend to obsess about the weather – checking forecasts, planning trips to warmer climates when it starts to get too cold – and since moving to the ATL I’ve been thoroughly pleased with how nice the weather plays for us. Storms tend to come and go rather quickly, unlike the midwest where it’s not unusual to not see the sun for days or even weeks at a time. And of course it’s warmer year-round so we’re not busting out the Under Armour until very late in the year.
Since I started skydiving I have lived in places that didn’t always have the best skydiving options. Living in Northern Ohio I had to travel to Pennsylvania to find a turbine. Most of the dropzones were really small operations that focused on tandems, so it wasn’t unusual to get bumped off loads for hours at a time. Moving to Chicago I was amazed with what Skydive Chicago had to offer, but that was it, SDC. Apparently CSC’s (Chicagoland Skydiving Center) new facilities are amazing and the fun jumper crowd is expanding – I’ll have to make it up there in the near future. But here in the South there are so many options it can be overwhelming.
I find myself chasing specific jumpers or groups of freeflyers to different dropzones every weekend. There’s really not such a thing as a home dropzone for me here – I’ll go anywhere from The Farm to Skydive Atlanta to Skydive Carolina to Skydive Alabama or even to the Florida dropzones depending on where the best jumping is going to take place. It’s worth it to me to make a long drive or even a quick flight to spend quality time with my friends in the sky.
Cost of Living
After living in Cleveland and Chicago, moving back to the South was a huge relief on my wallet. I’m able to live in a house so my dog has a back yard. Gas is cheaper. Drinks are cheaper. All areas where I can save money to use for my skydiving habit.
This is 50/50, good to bad. The good part is that my commute is 20 minutes door-to-door every morning and every evening. It’s a quick drive and unless there’s an accident on the interstate, it’s relatively light traffic. The bad part is that everyone drives like complete idiots. Assuming the weather is decent, 50% of the people are driving like a bat out of hell and have road rage to match, 45% are driving so slow they’re on the verge of causing an accident and the other 5% are driving okay but they’re texting so you never know when they might end up in your lane. If it’s raining, forget about it, everyone drives as if they’ve never seen rain before.
And don’t even get me started on the pedestrians in this city. I’ve seen too many people walk straight out into oncoming traffic with their hand out indicating that the cars should stop for them, just because. Oh, and I’ve even seen a woman get hit by someone who was in fact texting and not paying attention.
But at the end of the day, I don’t have a 1.5 hour commute like I did in Chicago, so I’m happy.
As I talked about with my fellow ATL transplant last night, the one thing that keeps me loving it here is the people – hands down. I haven’t found a city yet with people who are so happy, so welcoming and who appreciate others in their life like those I’ve surrounded myself with here in Atlanta. Who knows how long I’ll stay, but for now, I’m thoroughly pleased.
Love and Blue Skies!