How Skydiving Changed My Life - Marcela Gallardo

“Skydiving changed my life.” I´m sure this is an overused phrase. However, I believe I have valid arguments to use it. Should I tell you my story?
My name is Marcela Gallardo; I’m a 42-year-old woman, mother of three daughters, wife and grandmother. I live in Neuquen City, Argentina, and it’s been two years now since my first tandem jump.

It all began when I was about to turn 40 years old, a very critical time in life for any woman. I was moving to a new city, going through a family crisis and trying to get over the shock of having one of my daughters almost die in a car accident. (She needed several surgeries to recover.) I found myself completely alone, desolate and sad … very, very sad.

For me to feel better and happier, my husband started asking me to join him on business trips, but I couldn’t deal with getting on an airplane. I had a phobia about flying, and just the idea of it was terrifying. Yes, I was 40 years old and had never stepped on an airplane. And I would have bet my life that I would never do it.

But one day, when I was crying and feeling sad for my emotional situation and one step closer to depression, I said to myself, “Is this what I really want for my life?” I realized that I needed to confront my fears, starting with the biggest one: flying. So I decided I would get myself inside an airplane and jump from it.

Everyone who knew me had doubts that I’d do it. But one day, I woke up, got in the car and started the 400-kilometer (approximately 250-mile) journey to Bariloche, the location of the nearest drop zone. It was a wonderful sunny day; I was convinced I was going to be able to do it. So that was it. I was mentally and physically prepared.

When I started boarding the Cessna 182, I was scared. It was such a small plane! Nevertheless, I mustered the courage and got in. Thirty minutes later, at the moment the door opened, I started crying like a child and screaming that I couldn´t do it. But after thinking about it for a few seconds, I realized I had to confront the fear, so I said to myself, “Let´s do it.”
On that day, March 26, 2014, skydiving changed my life forever. Two months later, I began to train for my license.

It wasn´t easy. For a long time, it was a struggle, a challenge. But today, after two years, I can say I´m living my dream. I have already made 120 jumps (one from a balloon) and gone to four boogies. At one boogie, I had the honor to jump with the famous photographer Norman Kent. I’ve traveled around the world and gotten to know new, wonderful people. There are no doubts: Skydiving changed my life forever.

Marcela Gallardo | B-44671 Neuquen City, Argentina

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