Nothing can really compare to the absurdly terrifying and absolutely exhilarating experience that is a bungee jump. There are other extreme sports that require you to plummet wobbly-faced from lethal heights but bungee jumping is the only one which allows you to do so alone, without the need for special training or qualifications. All you need is courage and an intriguing deficiency of common sense.
To step off that platform is to win and lose a battle at the same time: your willpower gloriously victorious, your nature shamed and defeated.
Of course, you won’t be pondering metaphors. You will just be vaguely aware of the wind roaring in your ears, the adrenaline hurtling through your veins, the profanities cascading out your mouth, the ground accelerating towards you and filling your teary eyes.
Strangely, all fear is vanquished the moment you jump – there simply isn’t room for anticipatory emotions. Or any other emotions. The experience is purely sensory. Once you’re falling you are emphatically in the moment. The decision to jump becomes irrelevant, as do the consequences of doing so.
In many ways a bungee jump is a manifestation of the leap of faith that is often invoked as a metaphor for leaving home to explore faraway lands. There are few better examples of literally stepping out your comfort zone. Perhaps this is why it’s typically an activity undertaken by travellers, who are already in that experimental mindset, than as something to fill a Sunday afternoon at home.
The roots of bungee jumping
Having said that, bungee jumping began very much as a domestic event. The roots of the sport can be found in the jungles of Vanuatu, a remote archipelago in the South Pacific. Each year, male villagers on the southern part of Pentecost Island construct wooden towers to coincide with the yam harvest, and leap from varying heights with a vine attached to each ankle.
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3-2-1, Bungee! The Ultimate Leap of Faith | www.gapyear.com