Adventure

Exploring & Urban Hiking Queen Anne In Seattle

Space Needle In Queen Anne's Backyard

I was a bit of a tomboy when I was a kid. I guess you could say I was pretty balanced actually. I loved pretty dresses and shoes, but I also knew the value of a t-shirt and worn jeans and didn’t mind getting dirty playing outside. Those qualities still pretty much hold true today as well.

When I was a wee girl though, I like to think I did my fair share of tromping around the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in southern Ohio. I have the scars of a childhood of playing outside whenever possible. I have the memories of scrapes and carefully pulling off ticks as well as getting bitten and stung by various insects. And, it was no big deal. Even with the ticks, it was all “pull it all out, you’ll be fine”. Now, it seems inevitable you’ll get Lyme disease.

So, even with all that lovely nature and coming across snakes and getting lost in the mountains, I loved being outdoors and immersing myself into Mother Nature’s realm. Continue reading

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Seattle Wander Guide Part 1 ~ Urban Exploration

Seattle Neighborhoods

Last week, I wrote about our trip to Seattle from the standpoint of searching for our new home. And even though it was a whirlwind of chaotic traveling, it was still a pretty great vacation filled with good food, pretty sights, and interesting history. If you’re thinking of visiting the Emerald city anytime soon, may I offer up some suggestions?

Where To Stay

A few times in the past, the husband and I have stayed in B&Bs when traveling. However, a lot of them are very old, Victorian, and flowery in their decor which is not our cup of tea. So when we ventured to the Pacific Northwest last month, we decided to give Airbnb a try for the first time.

We stayed in a fantastic apartment in the southeast Portland neighborhood of Hosford-Abernethy. As I mentioned before in my Portland Japanese Garden post, you have got to eat at Pine State Biscuits for brunch and Salt & Straw for some yummy ice cream!

In Seattle, we first stayed with friends in Fremont and then opted for this beautiful and cozy Airbnb cottage in Columbia City to get a feel for different neighborhoods. Continue reading

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Tips On Preparing For Your First Skydiving Jump

I recently wrote and gushed unabashedly about how much I loved my first skydiving experience. Well, I loved it so much that I think everyone should try it at least once. So, here are a few tips if you’re thinking of jumping from a  perfectly good airplane anytime soon.

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Choose Your Skydiving Preference:

For your very first skydive, it’s usually suggested to go tandem where you are harnessed to an instructor. You could choose static line if that’s an option. In static line, your parachute automatically deploys within 5 seconds of exiting the aircraft, but then you don’t experience freefall. I highly recommend doing tandem for your first jump to get the full experience of skydiving. You could then do a static line jump if you want more focus on guiding a parachute by yourself. For tandem, expect to be at your skydiving location of choice for two to three hours… maybe a half day. For static line, it seems you’ll need almost a whole day. Continue reading

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I Went Skydiving For The First Time & I Fucking LOVED It!

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The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, right?

OK.

*deep breath*

Internets, I think I have a problem.

This may take a while to explain, so grab a cup of coffee and a pastry or something.

I feel a little lightheaded, and I kind of have the shakes. I cannot stop thinking about getting my next fix. I’m bugging my husband to dole out the cash for more. I’m on the verge of peer pressuring more pawns friends into joining me on this crazy ride. I want to lose myself to that high over and over again.

I should so write song lyrics.

But seriously, you guys have got to try this.

It’s called adrenaline. Pure, unadulterated adrenaline.

More specifically, fucking skydiving.

So if you haven’t gathered by now with all my gushing lately, I went skydiving with the husband and few friends a little over a week ago, and oh my god… it was insane!

When talking to other people about skydiving, it seems we’re in the minority and complete wack jobs for wanting to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. So, let’s back this train up a bit, yo.

How did this crazy awesome day all come together?

Well, on a fated day in mid-March, a friend casually mentioned on Facebook that he wanted to go skydiving and shouted out to his friends to let him know if we wanted to join him. I watched as the conversation unfolded into a lot of “No fucking way.” to “Oh, hell no.” to “Are you crazy?” and to his mom saying, “Why do you hate your mother?”. It was quite amusing, to say the least.

Further down the thread though, another close friend chimed in by simply saying, “I’m in.” He’s the one we can always count on to be up for an adventure, and that’s all it took for me to facetiously say, “Well, if everyone else is doing it…”

I’m not a follower by any means, but there are things that are better with your closest friends. And folks, jumping out of a perfectly good airplane is one of those things.

So then… a few days later on a Monday morning, our friend messaged me asking if April 5th at 10am was good for me to go fucking skydiving.

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Uhh…

1. I honestly kind of thought this little adventure of his wouldn’t come to fruition.

and

2. He said “within a few months” not a few weeks.

I calmly said, “Hold, please.” while I proceeded to message the husband, “Hey husband, do you want to go skydiving on April 5th at 10am with our friends?”

Now somewhat surprisingly, my husband has mentioned quite a few times over the years about wanting to go skydiving. However, I wasn’t sure if he would actually ever do it. After quickly justifying spending the money and what could very well be a once in a lifetime opportunity with his closest friends, it took him about five minutes to say, “Yes, let’s do it.” … he didn’t even think twice about it.

And that, ladies and gentleman, is how the husband and I along with several of our good friends decided to go fucking skydiving.

Then several panic attacks erupted throughout the group. :)

For the three weeks from the time we scheduled up to the morning of our jump, I was excited yet a little apprehensive whenever I thought about our plans. After all, I’m scared of heights and get woozy on ladders if I look down. But, I’m also the type of person who just hates ladders. If given the choice to scale a building or climb a ladder or use scaffolding, I’m going to climb that bitch. Because even though the height will scare me no matter what, I’d rather trust myself and a stable building than a wobbly ladder or sway-y scaffolding. (Sway-y is a word, right?) Does that make sense? Plus, I’m like a little monkey. I like to climb things. If I could get over the fear of heights the always looming fear of death, I know I would love rock climbing.

Fast forward to the night before… it took me forever to get to sleep. I was immeasurably excited yet crazy anxious thinking about the next day. In preparation, the husband and I packed some drinks and snacks, and I laid out some comfy, well-fitting, light layers to wear the next day.

And I’m not gonna lie… as I packed a change of clothes for afterwards, I also threw in a spare pair of underwear. After all, this was my first time fucking skydiving. I didn’t know how I would feel during the whole experience. Would the anxiety increase? Would I feel sick? Whenever I get nervous under other circumstances, nausea and sweating ensues. So obviously, I wanted to be prepared in case I shit or piss myself.

I have no shame, you guys.

Shit happens.

When the husband and I woke up in the morning, we were both still anxious as we gathered all our stuff together, picked up a friend, and made our way to the tiny airport. The rest of our group was already there, and the energy was… electric. It was subtle, but you could feel this buzzing intensity of excitement, nervousness, and anticipation that just kept increasing as we all prepared for our first jump.

For me though, the anxiety lifted almost completely and was filled with eagerness. Something took ahold of me, and I just couldn’t wait for my turn.

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The company’s airplane could comfortably hold four people, so our group went up in pairs. But since we had a group of seven from bringing on a friend at sort of the last minute, they allowed for three of us to pack into this tiny airplane with our instructors. This prevented one of us from being left out of the group and having to experience fucking skydiving all by him or herself.

So, I was part of a group of six people plus a pilot packed into the tiniest airplane. My instructor and I were positioned on the floor parallel along the edge of the exit… next to the plastic “door” that rolls down. Yeah… one of those planes. Surprisingly, that didn’t make me nervous. Like I said, I was just getting more and more pumped. Nothing could faze me at this point.

As we ascended into the air, my instructor went over everything once again. I’m pretty sure all I said in response to his instructions was “OK” because afterwards he said, “You seem pretty prepared.” Ha. Well, I guess I was… pretty much as prepared as one can be about to jump out of plane for the very first time.

Over the next 20 minutes or so as the plane slowly climbed and climbed, my instructor and I pretty much just shot the shit. He told me of his favorite places he had been skydiving. He asked how I got talked into doing this, and I told him I was one of the first to jump on board this whole skydiving extravaganza. He pointed out landmarks as we climbed into the air while also cracking a joke… I was craning my neck to see better out the window, and he brought up a good point that I would soon have a clear view of everything.

Once we were close to the jump altitude of 10,000 feet, I slapped on my goggles and my instructor attached himself to my harness. I basically had to sit on his lap for that last bit. (By the way, tandem skydiving means getting pretty damn cozy with your instructor.) He rolled up the window, swung one leg out so I could twist my body to thrust my legs out of the plane’s door and perch on the edge. For a couple seconds, I was suspended there with my legs dangling out into the open air.

They weren’t able to do video service the day we went, but I wish I could have seen what happened next. The husband said I didn’t look nervous at all. All I remember was crossing my arms and being ready… partially expecting my instructor to move his other leg out the plane’s door and partially expecting him to say something before plunging us to the earth. He told me before we left that the last case scenario was to fall out backwards because of how we would all be packed into the airplane. I seriously tried to contain my glee when he told me that could be a possibility. Not that I didn’t want to see when we jumped but that I thought it would be a lot more fun to go out backwards.

Without warning, my instructor wrapped his arms around me and boom. We basically just fell out of the plane sideways… which was also just as awesome.

I might be a crazy girl.

It took my brain a few seconds to register that we just fell out of a goddamn perfectly good airplane and are spinning in the fucking air. I can’t tell you how excited I am that we did a couple spins! It seems mostly everyone else just went face forward… which is probably what the instructors are supposed to do with skydiving virgins.

Now, freefall… that shit is exhilarating and pretty much indescribable. Once I did a little screaming and uttered a “holy shit”, I steadied my breathing and remembered as instructed to look at the horizon and not at the ground. It honestly feels like flying. It was the most thrilling experience of my life, and that 30 to 45 seconds whizzes by way too fast. It’s also the highly addictive part of skydiving.

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Once we reached the correct altitude, my instructor tapped my hand to prompt me to open the parachute. Once the chute opened, the roaring sound of the wind turned to almost complete silence. It was beautiful and so utterly serene to just glide around in the sky. If you could have seen me, I was probably grinning from ear to ear.

The instructor showed me how to guide the parachute, make turns, and spin. We practiced what to do when it came time to land. My one friend who jumped after me was in the air near me and we waved at each other, laughed, and screamed hello to each other like high school cheerleaders.

After about five minutes of enjoying the view, we landed swiftly and smoothly. I hugged my husband when he landed soon after me and was so excited that we both felt the same way. We then chattered excitedly with our friends about our incredible experience of fucking skydiving.

Can’t wait to do it again… and again. 

xo~ Frani

p.s. Thinking of going skydiving for the first time? Check out my tips!

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Wanderlust I Must ~ Free Falling In Love With The World

Skydiving In Ohio

On Sunday, the husband and I along with a few of our closest friends went skydiving for the very first time! It was an incredible experience beyond my wildest imagination, and it’s almost impossible to explain. I’ll try to give it a good shot in a future post soon, though.

Needless to say, I loved every second of it, and I can’t wait to do it again. It only took one time, and I’m hooked. It’s almost all I’ve been thinking about since Sunday, and I think it would be awesome to skydive in every city I visit. I’m already trying to talk my husband and our friends into doing it while we’re visiting Seattle in a few weeks.

I mean, how awesome would it be to free fall from the sky and then glide around while witnessing a different piece of the world in the most beautiful, awe-inspiring way possible!?

I honestly can’t think of anything better. 

Happy Adventurin’!

xo~ Frani

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