“Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, rather than stuff to show.”
I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot lately as I reflect on the past 10 years of my life. A lot of things I’ve bought and thought I needed over time, I now find no value in ….but my experiences, those things have always made me feel richer.
This is why I’m attempting to cross as many things off of my bucket list as I can while I’m still young, healthy and have the freedom to do so. I’m on a quest to live a more fulfilling life.
During this July 4th weekend, my friend Fallon and I had the grand idea to drive to San Diego for a day and take part in some fun activities like sailing, paddle boarding and Jet Packing. For some odd reason, she thought I was not about that life, but I had already tried Flyboarding during a trip to Cabo, so I was well aware of what was in store.
Or at least that’s what I thought…
Here’s what I always envisioned jetpacking to be. Me flying high over the ocean without a care in the world. LIVING!
I couldn’t get out of the darn water!!! I spent a maximum of five minutes in the ocean before I walked away and said, I’m done. Thanks but no thanks!
Now, let me backtrack:
When you first arrive to Jet Pack America, you have to check in and sign consent forms. (It is best to call and make an appointment in advance). You also are given the option to choose between a few flight packages, that include 15 minute flight time, 25 minute flight time, and 50 minutes flight time. There are also options to add a photo package, or video package so that you can have those memories forever.
Honestly, if you have your own camera, those photo and video packages may not be necessary. (All of the photos featured in this post are taken with a Canon G7x or screenshots from video taken with the camera.)
Before you go out on the bay, you are required to watch a training video, followed by a test to ensure that you know how to operate the jetpack. It seems pretty simple when you are setting in the test pack, but what you may not realize is how heavy that jetpack really is.
The next step is putting on the life jacket and a helmet that has a walkie talkie so that you can communicate with the trainer (who is on a jet ski) the entire time.
Our trainer was Zach and he was super nice.
Once you are all strapped in, you gave to take a swim test which requires you to dip your head under water with the jet pack on to ensure that you know how to turn yourself upright if you were to come crashing down into the water.
This is the part that got me messed up.
I am an amazing swimmer, but the pack was weighing down on me so I freaked out once my head went under water.
Jordan, one of the instructors, decided to come out in the water with me and be my support system. (Sidebar: That man was so fine. Every time my head would go under water and I’d come back up and see those sea blue eyes of his… man, it was hard to concentrate.)
Finally, I told him too much water had flooded my nose and I was ready to call it quits.
So after I had climbed out of the water, a little boy (no older than 4) went out into the water for a ‘Tatum’ Jetpack ride. With the tatum experience, the swimmer is strapped on the front of the Jetpack with a trainer, and taken for a 15 minute or so joyride.
Now, this looked like fun!!
The only small issue is that you have to be age 12 and under to do the tatum experience.
Luckily, the good folks at Jet Pack America felt bad that I didn’t get the full jetpack experience and they agreed to allow me to go for a Tatum ride. I was a little skeptical with my 5’4, 115 pound body being strapped on the front of this gadget which is made for a child 12 and under. But I didn’t want to miss out on this adventurous moment.
The result was one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve had in my life.
I'm convinced you have to be a certain level of crazy to do some of the things I sign my life up for. Exactly a year ago I went #flyboarding in Cabo and I thought hat was crazy. Yesterday I literally signed my life away while #jetpacking at @jetpack_america #sandiego. There was a point in the sky where I said "omg this is how I'm going to die". But I survived. And it was tons of fun! I'll have better video and pics soon! (P.s that's my little legs dangling like a rag doll). Many thanks to Austin, Jordan and @zgiess #necoletravels #mylifereset
Fallon (after a little conning) agreed to try it out as well.
It was amazing!!!!!!
Afterward, the instructors Zach and Austin agreed to take us out on a sail boat to end the day. The thing I loved about meeting these guys is they are literally doing something they love every single day. Zach is from Indianapolis and moved to San Diego a few months ago. Austin is a skydive instructor and has jumped out of a plane over 500 times.
My verdict: I have amazing photos and video from the experience. We created amazing memories that I’ll never forget, but I definitely wouldn’t have had the same experience if we had not gotten a chance to do the Tatum Flight. It was literally the best thing ever. If you decide to go jetpacking, make sure you purchase enough time to learn how to operate the equipment and get comfortable enough to rise up out of the water. That will take at least 20 minutes to get the hang of everything.
Find out more about Jetpacking by visiting their website. There are locations in Las Vegas, Newport Beach and San Diego.
Would you ever try this?