Sitting by the window as I watched the California coastline rush by from the top carriage of the Cali’ Surf-liner, I still couldn’t really believe it. Today, I was going to fly!
Over a week ago now I was overwhelmed by the generosity of a fellow blogger and inspiration of mine, Lesley Carter from Bucket List Publications; I noticed a competition she had been running about winning a jet-pack ride over the beautiful sun-kissed beaches of Newport, Southern California.
I had just arrived on the West Coast after being entranced by the beauty of the mountains in Colorado and being Australian I was eager to return to the ocean. What a beautiful coincidence, I thought, that I had just arrived in this part of the world looking for adventure, looking for the beach and there it was, an opportunity for both right in front of my eyes.
I sent Lesley an email about my journey and why I would love to fly through the air over Newport and to my complete surprise she loved it. Not only did she love it, but she decided to graciously offer me her jet-pack ride, she told me to… Forget the contest. Forget fighting for a spot. Let’s make it happen! (Story here)
I was shocked and humbled that Lesley was willing to give up her adventure so that I could experience something truly amazing and unique while I traveled her beautiful country. I was even more humbled that she enjoyed my adventures so much and that she believed in what I was doing, to me that was the most exciting part.
As the train pulled into the station a smile that I couldn’t shake came over me. This is incredible! This is what happens when you leave yourself open to life’s beautiful opportunities.
I made my way by taxi over to the wharf at JetPack America for what would be one of the most exhilarating adventures I have had on my entire journey.
I stepped into the office and was greeted and congratulated by Dean and his crew . They were constantly smiling, willing to help, and you could really feel they loved what they did. They took me through a training video and a dry run of how to operate the jet-pack. They offered us snacks and drinks and tips on how to get around Newport. They really couldn’t have been more helpful.
After finishing the training and getting to know the crew, it was time to head out, my heart was racing but the feeling was still surreal… I was about to fly!
Wet suit on, they checked the helmet microphone was working and I jumped feet first into the water. I was seconds away from flight and that smile on my face was bigger than ever. The engines started up and I rose up out of the water, then BAM! Face first, I came crashing back down. This was a little more difficult than I thought.
After some coaching over the microphone and a few more attempts I had my feet dangling above the water awkwardly, rocking side to side. I was shaky yet determined to fly. I kept rising and swaying until I was around three metres above the water. This was incredible!
As my confidence grew I got more and more adventurous, soaring higher and higher reaching heights of up to six metres. Darting forward and under the instruction of the crew I attempted some tricks like hovering, 360 degree turns, walking on water and “submarining”. Submarining was my favourite and involved thrusting your hands forward and diving under the water, rocketing underneath before slowly emerging again.
I flew and crashed and smiled and even laughed with happiness. There is nothing quite like it, I was flying, actually flying, and it felt exhilarating.
After about half an hour it was over, I was exhausted but the adrenaline was still pumping through my veins. I got back on the boat and headed back to land.
Honestly I could not recommend doing this enough; the feeling of flight is every bit like you think it would be and then some, and the people at JetPack America really made my experience that much better.
They were helpful, energetic and really enthusiastic about what they do, I would recommend anyone that can do this, do it! Although if you are in the Newport area I can guarantee Dean and his crew will look after you. Jetpack America also have locations in San Diego, Honolulu, Cabo San Lucas, Grand Cayman, and soon Las Vegas… so definitely check them out.
To Lesley, I cannot thank you enough for the experience of a lifetime and would I recommend you check out her blog as well, this lady gets to do some seriously amazing stuff!
Watch out for a GoPro video of the jet-pack ride in a few days I can’t wait to share the footage of my adventure with everyone.
“Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?” -Frida Kahlo
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