I’m a girl that thrives on adventure. Give me a new opportunity or an exciting experience and I’m all in. That being said, no one would ever describe me as a risk-taker. It’s laughable to even think about. But then- there’s that time I jumped out of an airplane.
Yep, that’s right. I jumped out of an airplane.
Before you get way too impressed, let me preface my story by saying that the airplane was technically sitting on the ground. BUT, don’t discredit the fact that it was still a big jump and -by far- the riskiest thing I’ve ever done in my life! Here’s how the experience went down…
When Miller was 4-months old, Brent and I took a cross-country trip to California. Admittedly, I had several concerns going into this trip. Not only was it going to be the first vacation away from our baby (read more about that here), but it was also going to be my first experience flying while breastfeeding without a baby. I’d flown multiple times with my baby. And although slightly awkward and uncomfortable, it was a do-able situation to feed on the plane. However, there was absolutely NO WAY I was going to use a breast pump on an airplane.
With that in mind, I insisted on a logistically crazy itinerary when booking the tickets. Not only did I request a layover that was more mid-distance to our destination than financially practical, I also made sure we allowed plenty of time between flights for me to pump in the airport bathroom. (I know, I’m the dream traveling partner! It’s amazing my husband even took me on this trip after all my flight demands!)
Thankfully, our trip out to California went exactly as I planned. As each flight began the boarding process, I ran to the airport bathroom to pump. I made it onto both flights without a hitch and we landed in the exact time window I expected. The timing couldn’t have worked out any better for me and my strict pumping schedule!
After a few wonderful days in California, we headed back to the Orange County Airport refreshed, somewhat well-rested, and ready to see our kiddos. The furthest thing from my mind was stressing about my pumping schedule on the flights home. Since the trip out worked so well, I naturally assumed we’d just have a repeat.
But I didn’t anticipate having a mechanical issue once we boarded the plane and taxied part of the runway. And I REALLY didn’t anticipate sitting on an airplane for several hours without actually going anywhere.
Our plane pulled back up to the gate, but the jetway was not connected. Looking back, I’m somewhat vague on how the whole thing transpired, but at one point the main airplane door opened. All passengers were warned against getting off the airplane as they had no plans to re-board anyone who chose to get off which would mean missing the flight.
I know most people worry about making their connections, but all I could think about was my pumping schedule!
After it became abundantly clear that I wouldn’t be able to make it all the way to Chicago without pumping, I began to weigh my options. I was sandwiched in between my husband and some random guy on a fairly full plane. Not to mention several people were standing in the aisles. So pumping in my seat was absolutely out of the question. The second option was the bathroom. But since our plane wasn’t large and we’d been sitting on it for close to 3 hours, a line had formed. Call me crazy for being too embarrassed to lock myself in the bathroom for 20 minutes, but I just couldn’t do it.
So that left just 1 option- jumping out of our airplane.
Over the previous hours we’d witnessed a handful of other passengers do it. The jump to the jetway was only a couple feet and not necessarily the most physically risky leap in the world. However, we risked getting stuck in California indefinitely. And the expense of rebooking a flight. Not to mention, the certainty of losing our luggage! But, the need to pump trumped every other concern. Brent took a little convincing, though ultimately it was really our only viable option.
So with my parachute (I mean, pump) I made the jump!
For us, one of the funniest parts of this story is that about 3 minutes after we made our big jump, they deemed our plane unfixable and asked every passenger to deplane. We had to laugh because that will likely be the one and only time we jump out of a plane. And to think we almost missed our opportunity!
Luckily for us, everything worked out. They found a new plane and an hour later we were on our way to Chicago. Having long since missed our connection, we got a bonus vacation night in one of our favorite cities. And, in a completely improbable and unexplainable way- our luggage was even waiting for us at the airport when we finally arrived home the next day.
What is the riskiest thing you’ve ever done while traveling?
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