About Freedom and the Feeling of Flying

Anne Bonfert

Being a skydiver is more than just jumping out of a plane

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Credit: Bianca Kroes

It is something that can’t be explained to someone who’s never jumped out of a plane. The feeling of flying. Because that is what it is. It is not a feeling of falling. It’s a feeling about being free. Free from all the stress in your life.

When I climb out of a plane and face the wind there’s not one moment where I think about my daily life, paperwork issues, or other thoughts about problems in life. I just feel free.

I feel the wind. I look at my partner. And at the count of three, I just let go. I let go of the plane. I start to fly. With my hands and feet. I fly to where I want to be. I turn around to see the plane descending while I’m still up there. Floating in the air.

“Great things never came from comfort zones.” — Proverb

Background

This view is the reason why and where I started skydiving. It’s a view not existing twice on this planet. Where the desert meets the sea. A view that will blow your mind and make you forget everything else in life.

It’s a view of the beauty of our planet. It’s a view of Africa’s contrasts. And it’s a view about a place on this continent I fell in love with. It’s a view about freedom and a lifestyle that made me realize what I really want to be in life.

Happy.

No matter what I do in life. No matter where I live. No matter who is around me. No matter what others are saying about my life. I chose to live my life the way it makes me smile every day.

And if it doesn’t do that I know it is time to move on. It’s time to move on to a new profession, a new place, or a new challenge in life. As easy as that.

Ignoring judgments and listening to kind words

Right here I learned to follow my heart. I learned the meaning of freedom. I learned to understand what it means to fly in the sky and to fly through your life.

Ignoring judgments from people who are only jealous of your life because of being unhappy with their own life. Listening to people who make you feel free and safe at the same time. Safe because we all need some safety in life. When we jump out of a plane just as much as when we move through life. And free because I don’t like being locked in or attached to someone.

I like to live my life the way I want it. With those people on my side who always push me to learn more, to achieve more, and become a better version of myself. Those people who supported my way of becoming an instructor in the air because they see potential in me.

Give and take

I love to look up to people who have achieved a lot in life. I want to learn from them to improve myself. Part of becoming a better version of myself is helping others.

It’s always a two-sided story. It’s a give and take. As you receive something in life always remember to give back as well. And that is what I learned in the sky. As I had many people giving me advice and support in my skydiving career I reached a point now where I can give back. I can teach others and let them learn from my experience.

It’s not that I reached the highest point in life. Never. I do know that life is a never-ending learning process. So is skydiving. But I am at a point where I can do both. Give and take. Depending on who is in front of me.

Shades of blue

Skydiving is a lot about the sky. Because that is where you are at when leaving the plane. You’re in the sky. You’re in the blue. You’re a dot on the blue sky when people look up at you from the ground.

But skydiving is also about the ground. The ground that you see from the sky. If it’s a forest, a desert, or a field of flowers. It can be anything. Anything the landscape has to offer. And over here it’s blue. The blue of the ocean.

Starting to skydive in this place I got used to the view after a while. When jumping in Thailand and later in Germany, I was flashed by the green you can see from the sky. Jumping above a lake and lots of alleys of palm trees or a never-ending forest I was having a totally different view from up there.

Going away for a while and coming back to this place made me realize its uniqueness. I learned to appreciate this view again. Just as much as I learned to appreciate a forest after coming back to Germany again.

Those shades of blue in the sky made us get a different view not only onto mother earth. But also onto life. It helps sometimes to step back, walk away, and come back after a while. Just to get a new perspective on something. And to appreciate again what you have in life. To be grateful.

The importance of a smile

Not only from coaching in the air but also from it, I learned the importance of a smile. When I’m up there and my student in front of me is struggling with the task I tend to get a serious face.

But if I smile instead because I see he’s trying his best, all of a sudden that person in front of me relaxes and smiles back. And within this smile, he or she succeeds all of a sudden in what they were struggling with before.

It’s the yo-yo effect that bounces back at you when you hand out a smile. In real life just as much as up in the sky. Try it out when traveling on the bus or train the next time. I’m sure you’ll get back a smile.

Or just smile at your students. Smile at them to hand out support which will grow into confidence. A smile is so much more than just a movement of facial muscles. A smile is about encouragement, motivation, and trust.

A smile is the most beautiful language in the world.

Roundup

This is all I connect with the sport of skydiving. It’s a combination of the feeling of flying and smiling through life. Feeling free and doing what you like because you learned that is what matters to you.

It’s about a community of people who feel the same. A group of people who understand you. Skydivers create their own families. There’s the father who’s been a skydiver longer than you were alive and there are the youngsters who just started and whom you have to watch because they are new to the game and still need to learn a lot.

But all together speak the same language. The language of happiness and freedom while flying.

“The secret of happiness is freedom, the secret of freedom is courage.” — Carrie Jones

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I am a traveler. Photographer. Writer. Teacher. Skydiving instructor. Adventure enthusiast. Nature lover. And fell in love with the African continent. My stories go around travel, nature and all kinds of adventurous activities.

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