They say you never really know who you are until you conquer your fears
It was the 27th April 2013, a glorious autumn day in Johannesburg around 26 degrees celcius and we were celebrating my girlfriend, Annine Dormhel’s, 23rd birthday.
For ages she had been begging us to do the Orlando Towers bungee jump for her birthday and being the easy going and adventurous person who I am I told her that I would pay for her to do it as her birthday present.
We arrived in Soweto around 1pm, also knowing that Metallica were going to be playing at the FNB National Stadium, a bit earlier just in case we got caught in traffic or any other unforeseen circumstances.
The air was warm and there was hardly a breath of wind, we drove down a fairly dilapidated piece of road with overgrown bushes and potholes the size of the entire road to arrive at the Orlando Towers (they looked small and friendly from a few km’s away but up close and personal they were WAY more intimidating).
I was never going to jump, i had a mental block that i was scared of heights and that i could and would never be able to prepare myself mentally to do it.
Well guess what??? I was the FIRST to jump….
After we paid we sat around waiting for our turn to go up in the lift, in the meantime we enjoyed some local cuisine and drinks at the local shebeen under the towers (I must admit, the tequila’s did allow for a little more braveness). Eventually they called our numbers and tied us into our harnesses before putting us in the lift to the top of the towers, 120 metres above the ground, the jump being 100m in total.
On arrival at the top i still had my doubts whether i was going to do it or not, i had come halfway i couldn’t chicken out now surely? To add to the stress and nervousness there was a young kid who was looking more distraught than i was, he kept saying “i can’t do this” “i’m too scared” “i can’t jump” – all these negative comments was not what i needed at the top of the towers.
Almost immediately the instructor walked along the sway bridge and said who has a red dot, I had no other option but to jump up and say ME!!!! “PICK ME” “I HAVE TO GO”, he saw my faked enthusiasm and knew if he didn’t take me first i was never going to jump, i couldn’t handle that kids negativity one second longer.
2 minutes later i was in the middle of the sway bridge with the flashy photographer taking photos of me as if he was in some comedy show because of how scared i was.
As the time drew closer the guys kept chatting to me at the top, to this day i cannot for the life of me remember what they were saying, all i remember was them saying “Walk closer, walk closer, ok stop” , i was on the edge, i was about to jump off a 100m high platform…
The count down was supposed to be 3,2,1 BUNGEE, well guess what? those cheeky staff members could see how nervous i was and they went “3” and suddenly everything stopped, a quick push off the platform before i was even mentally ready. My body was lifeless, i was free falling to what i thought was certain death…
As soon as the tension in the rope took i knew i was alive, i had just conquered my greatest fear “MY FEAR OF HEIGHTS”
I got to the bottom and could hardly breathe, i could hardly talk, adrenalin was rushing so fast through my veins i felt invincible, all i could remember telling the guy was that my girlfriend is coming down soon and that when he catches her at the bottom he must just say one thing for me, it was “Jonathan loves you, Happy Birthday”
I conquered my fear of heights and left the cutest message for Annine when she got to the bottom, with the sun setting over a clear African sky we had achieved another FANTASTIC experience…