When traveling to a new country, you want to have adventures and make lasting memories. This bucket list-worthy experience was one I definitely didn’t want to pass up when coming to Peru. I booked in advance not even thinking twice about what I was getting myself into.
I have always had a taste for adventure, but had never done anything as drastic as this to satisfy that taste. Hey, if the adrenaline junkies in videos I’ve seen could do it, how scary could it be? Here is what my thrilling experience was like. I’ll give you the pros and cons in case you were thinking about taking the plunge too. (Stick around until the end of this post to see video evidence of me taking on this crazy bucket list-worthy challenge!)
And So it Begins…
We woke up bright and early in Cusco, Peru to begin our day zip-lining through the beautiful Sacred Valley. Afterwards, we went on a few guided tours. Our guide was kind enough to take us to our next adventure- bungee jumping.
Neither of us had ever done this in our lives, but surprisingly I wasn’t nervous on our drive there. It was just like we were headed to another normal tour. Upon walking into the park, it wasn’t hard to notice the looming, metal box situated high in the sky that showed us how far we’d be falling. It was the middle of the afternoon, and no one was there to do any of the adventure activities but us. There were, however, around twenty-five or so teenagers gathered there playing rounds of paintball. I didn’t know how I was going to react when I got up there, but at least I had an audience to see me actually go through with it! And be witnesses to see these guys pushing me off a ledge…ahem.
We arrived a bit late, so they wasted no time in getting us geared up and ready to ascend. But before doing that, we had to run three laps. Tyler and I looked at each other wondering if the guy was serious, but he most definitely was. So we ran three awkward laps around some fences and did a set of ten stretches. Limbered up and pumping with adrenaline, we made our way to get our gear on.
Tyler volunteered to go first. Let’s be real, I couldn’t even imagine it going the opposite way. They told me to lay on a mat while I waited for him to be finished jumping. I looked up as I laid down, and what do ya know? I was lying directly below where Tyler would be launching off the platform, speeding towards and yelling the whole way down. It freaked me out at first, but then I envisioned what his face might look like and his body flailing in the wind, and laid back comfortably to enjoy the show. I was nervous for him!
Time for bungee jumping!
Attached to the bungee cord and sporting a flattering neck brace, I watched him waddle over with two guides at his side into the orange metal box of doom. It rose like an elevator, climbing slowly until it reached its max height of 400 feet (122 meters)! That was essentially how far we’d be falling. A minute or two passed by and I wondered if Ty was handling it okay, but I knew he’d go through with it. He was so high up that I couldn’t even see what was going on.
All of a sudden he pushed off, arms spread, and fell fast towards the ground— towards me! He let out a long yell and some other choice words and I couldn’t help but scream along with him. The bungee cord snapped him back and he weightlessly bounced through the air three or four times, flailing all over the place, until he was just left to dangle there upside down. I was laughing so hard at this point and he was pretty proud of his accomplishment. After a minute, I could see the blood rushing to his head and his rescuers come to his aid. They set him right-side-up and carted him off to a mat next to me where we screamed and laughed like little kids at what had just happened. He couldn’t believe that he’d just gone bungee jumping!
They said the fall itself would last for seven seconds, but it seemed way shorter when I watched him fall. Before I could analyze his every thought and feeling to better prepare myself in any way at all, they secured the cord on my legs this time while Tyler took a rest on the mat. They decided to put two neck braces on me instead of just the one like Tyler had… Yes, I am a delicate, fragile being and you had better give me more bodily protection.
And yet it still hadn’t hit me that I would be doing all that myself. While in the box, I could see Tyler getting smaller and smaller as we rose into the sky. The guides prepared me on our way up by telling me exactly what to do during the jump and fall. They even had me repeat it all back to them. They also filmed me (at my request) and had me awkwardly advertise for them by holding up signs and things with their logo on it.
I was asked to say something to my family on camera. Why? Was this the last time I’d see the light of day? Had they already took one look at my scrawny body, assumed I would not survive and planned how they’d break the news to my family? I basically just told my parents I loved them and that I felt safe. I mean I really did, why else would I have been that calm? And I was weirdly calm…
I stepped out of the box onto a black platform and panic immediately ensued as my eyes scanned the ground. I had gone bridge-jumping a few months before this trip, and it took me twenty minutes of standing over the water to finally get the courage to jump fifteen feet. And here I was staring at nothingness for hundreds of feet. It was like my brain shut off.
I felt more scared than I had ever been and the guide kept asking me if I was ready. Who could ever be ready for something like that?! At this point I had just barely opened my eyes and when I did, my brain refused to process what was happening. Then I realized they wanted me to just do it already (they were probably trying to give me less time to be afraid and to rethink it), so I took a deep breath and gathered up some false courage by telling myself people did this for fun and were okay in the end. I was “ready”.
But how? What was I thinking moments before the jump that helped me actually go through with it? If you want to bungee jump and need some tips, here you go.
Here’s how to psych yourself into making the jump:
- Recall all the research you’ve done on bungee jumping (do your research, people). Remember how fun/exciting the videos looked that you watched of people doing it? They seemed like fearless pros. Fake it like you’re a cool pro too.
- Remember how safe the instructors made you feel when they secured your gear and taught you exactly what to do. The whole point of the activity is to safely bungee back from the exhilarating fall.
- Close your eyes. Seriously. After initially scanning where my trajectory was going to be, closing my eyes was my body’s natural reaction. And then I just told myself that I was diving into a pool— and believed it.
- Backing out is NOT an option. Realistically, I couldn’t just peace out of doing this, mainly because I had paid for it already and refunds are sometimes a mess. On the other hand, I genuinely wanted to try this and had an audience watching me. If I backed out I would have not only disappointed them, but myself as well. No regrets!
What was falling actually like?
Unlike watching Tyler fall, my own fall felt like an eternity. Admittedly, before arriving that day I had planned on quoting The Emperor’s New Groove (we were in Cusco, after all) and yelling, “Booyaaaaa!!” as I fell. Instead a weird, forceful, long, and in every way unattractive grunt came out because the breath was sucked right out of me. You can hear it in my video below. I followed the guide’s instructions and covered my face after the first bounce so that the rope wouldn’t hit me in the face like it did to Tyler. I had only opened my eyes once while falling, and that was no bueno, so I kept them mostly shut. After every bounce there was a brief period of weightlessness, and that didn’t sit well with me mainly because I’m prone to motion sickness. I’m full of good ideas!
The blood rushed to my head as I hung there and they placed me next to Tyler. All the kids who were paint-balling began cheering for us. Not sure if it was because I’m a girl and went through with it, or they were just super nice and happy for us. It was a really nice reward for overcoming such a crazy thing. I was a little more in shock than he was, though I was still pretty amazed I had just done that. Was that real life? A guide reached down to me not even a minute after laying me on the mat to help me up, but I begged him to just leave me there for a second.
But it wasn’t over.
Action Valley is also known for their Slingshot, which is pretty much the reverse of bungee jumping. The bungee cord is attached to the raised platform all the way in the sky. They stretch it to its limits with you attached, and then they pull a lever which catapults you into the air. Tyler and I both attempted this as well. I thought it would be significantly less scary since you start off on the safety of solid ground.
Of course I was wrong. It was just as insane. After having our insides all mixed up from bungee jumping, we did the Slingshot. It was getting close to five, and the park was closing so we had to get this over with. Tyler went first again and then it was my turn. I floated off the ground and put my head down, as instructed.
“Pull the lever, Kronk… WRONG LEVER!”
1…2…3! Queue the screaming. This time it wasn’t the groan of a dying old man, but something that actually sounded like me. I was hurled into the sky once again. I feel like since I was shot into nothing instead of experiencing a controlled fall, the bouncing was way more intense. So that’s why it was a bit more scary to me than the bungee jumping. There was a point where my whole body was facing the sky as I fell backwards.
It was a relief to be back on the ground and to take all our constricting gear off. We walked back to the front of the park, sore in all the wrong places, to collect our packs and recorded videos, and all the kids began cheering for us again. It was wonderful. I took a bow, sat as close to the ground as I could, and pet some dogs while Tyler took care of everything. We watched the video footage of ourselves in the back room and took a deep breath knowing we weren’t actually doing it this time. The park was now empty, like no one was ever there and we just imagined all this had happened. But we had videos and the t-shirts to prove it!
That night in our hotel, we could barely think straight. Tyler was freaked out that he might have a concussion because he couldn’t remember the main characters’ names in Parks and Recreation. We actually mutually agreed that the experience was definitely worth having, but only once. Months later, I might be rethinking that decision, but just maybe. It was honestly that freaking crazy.
My overall experience:
Even though it was scary and out of my comfort zone, the experience was really a good one and I’m so glad I got to try bungee jumping. It helped me learn:
- How to effectively handle fear and stress in a moment’s notice. This is great for me because I am anxious about a lot of things in life…
- How to be a “yes woman” and do things for the experience
- That what I do in life is a direct result of the mindset I have. If you see someone bungee jumping and think, “There is NO way I could ever do that!” then you will probably never do it unless you change your mindset. Unless you just really don’t want to, that’s cool too. To each their own!
- The “comfort zone” is a restricting place that leaves little room for growth as a person. By stepping out of it, I learned what I can do and what I am capable of. This gives me a stronger sense of faith in myself.
The staff of Action Valley really have it all together, and they genuinely make you feel safe and prepared. There is no way I can really explain what I truly felt the moment my feet left that platform. It’s unlike anything I’ve done before. Sheer terror mixed with adrenaline-filled fun? Whatever that emotion is, that’s what I felt.
You can watch my crazy experience here:
If you’re a thrill-seeker (or not!) and are visiting Peru soon, definitely check out Action Valley. Book your experience well in advance. I highly recommend them. Make sure you purchase the SD card they offer once you book with them, and they will film you and take your pictures like they did for me.
Have you ever gone bungee jumping? What was it like and would you ever do it again? I want to hear about your experience! Leave your comment below. 🙂
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