If you follow us on social media, you may have noticed Maggie and I took a bit of an adventure a few weeks ago. Toyota reached out to us and offered us the chance to check something off our bucket list with the help of the new Toyota Camry. It’s been totally redesigned and is now more bold than ever, so they were hoping it would inspire us to do something bold too.
And I guess you could say it worked.
“We could go skydiving.”
That’s all it took, and I was on board. The great thing about having a friend like Mags is that you have an automatic partner-in-crime for anything, whether it’s starting a blog, going skydiving or even backpacking around Europe for three months (we’re still working on this one).
So with a little planning, Maggie and I packed our bags on a chilly November day and headed to sunny Orlando, where we threw caution to the wind (literally) and fell 5,280 feet through the air in 35 seconds. And it was the most thrilling and awesome 35 seconds of my life.
The terrified, nervous feeling and fear of death I was expecting never really set in. Instead, I was anxious in the way you feel before starting something new—that kind of jittery, “let’s just do this” feeling that seems to take over your entire body. The morning of our jump, I ate oatmeal and a blueberry muffin, half joking in a tweet that it might be the last meal I ever eat, and we set off in the Camry to accomplish what we set out to do. After a wrong turn or two, Mags and I finally found the bright yellow airplane that signified we’d found our destination. We pulled up to skydive headquarters (an open-air patio with a roof and some picnic tables), and I momentarily wondered if a place that looked quite this dilapidated could have safe skydiving gear. But I quickly banished all thoughts of holed parachutes and torn harness straps, and Mags and I signed our lives away (sort of literally) and waited until it was our turn to fall.
Before I knew it, I was stepping into a harness, straps being yanked tighter as my jump partner introduced himself and cracked some jokes about possibly dying. We all piled into a plane that could barely fit the four of us and a pilot, and I was honestly more concerned about the plane getting off the ground that I was jumping out of it. We safely made it off the ground and into the sky, and at some point my guide was telling me to get up on my feet and kicking the door open. “Just swing your legs out, and please, seriously please, remember to arch your back when we go.” I did as I was told, and just as I was thinking I should give Mags some sort of sign that everything was going to be great, it was already over. My guide yelled a quick, “ready?” and we were gone.
Looking back, I wish I had looked around more; instead I was too busy laughing in a way I hadn’t laughed in months. There wasn’t time to contemplate life or how stressed I’d been at work or problems in my relationship. There was just the wind roaring in my ears and the ground hurtling toward me. And as cliche as it sounds, for a too-brief 35 seconds, I was completely and totally free. Then a few cords were pulled and we were jerked up as the parachute caught the air, and we slowly drifted toward the ground, joking and talking about my guide’s 8000-something jumps and how he’s been doing this for half his life. I looked around and found Mags, safely drifting toward her own landing—it was hard to tell, but I’m pretty sure she had a smile that mimicked my own.
We let the adrenaline rush wear off a bit before saying our goodbyes to our new friends (the only fitting title for the people who safely escorted you 11,000 feet through the air), then we hit the road, heading toward a celebratory dinner in St. Pete amid blue skies and palm trees.
The new Camry was the perfect road trip car. The car handled amazingly well, and the leather interior with seat warmers wasn’t a bad touch for the cold Georgia mornings. Mags and I fell in love with the cordless phone charging station and the ability to sync our phones via Bluetooth to make hands-free calls and listen to music off our phones. The design is incredibly sleek—it doesn’t even look like a Camry anymore. The navigation system was great too; it warned us of traffic and road work along our route, giving us the option to go a different way if we wanted. The Entune App Suite is definitely the coolest feature—you can listen to iHeartRadio or Pandora, make restaurant reservations with OpenTable, buy movie tickets and even check out nearby gas prices. The voice-activated system helps you stay hands-free, creating a safer driving experience. Did I mention the gas mileage was awesome too? Believe me, this isn’t the Camry you’re used to.
*The not-so-fine print: Toyota reached out to us to participate in the campaign for the new 2015 Camry. Southeast Toyota Distributors provided the use of a new Camry, gave us some gas money and purchased our skydiving tickets. No other compensation was provided to us, and all opinions expressed herein are our own. Like Mags said, if anyone ever requires the services of two half-adults hellbent on never growing up, we’re your girls.