How to Jump Off a Cliff and Live

1) Lie to yourself

No rational person would throw themselves off a ledge, so you have to lie to yourself to do it. Just like how everyone lies to themselves when they do something unnatural that human beings aren’t supposed to do… fly. We tell ourselves that flying is the safest form of transportation, accidents are rare, etc. etc. The fact remains, you are flying in the air and you are not a bird and if you crash, you will die.

Likewise, you need to convince yourself that bungee jumping is perfectly safe. There have been no serious accidents at this bungee location. You are more likely to get hit by a car crossing the street, get the ebola virus from a rogue New Zealand sheep, or getting hit by a meteor. The truth of those statements is irreverent. You just need to believe it’s true.

When I was standing on the edge, I realized that it was safer to fall forward that it was to fall backwards.

2) Recite the Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear*

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

3) Take one step forward

That’s it. Now you can bungee jump.

Seriously, it was pretty neat. Falling through the air is a very disorienting experience. The first second your arms and legs just flail around like in a cartoon because you have no control. By the time you orient yourself, its pretty much over and your hanging on a rope hundreds of feet below the ground. That is probably more scary because you can sit and look and think about the fact you are hanging there by a bunch of rubber bands.

I should also mention that it was raining while I jumped, which makes it even more impressive….to me at least.

* That one is for all the geeks out there.


After a day of glaciers, driving, and a LOT of photos, I have arrived at Queenstown, NZ. For the first night since I left Auckland I’m staying in a hostel tonight (or a Backpacker as they call them here). I want to stay right in town rather than on the outskirts.

This is, by far, the hippest town I’ve ever been in. It’s nothing by extreme sports, internet cafes, hostels, and outdoor clothing stores.

I’m also on my own laptop for a change and will be uploading a bunch to Flickr shortly. If you don’t see new photos there now, I’ll be doing it in the morning (afternoon US time).

Tomorrow I’m going bungee jumping.

I’m absolutely serious.

The rest of my schedule for NZ is Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound (if I have time), Invercargill, Dunedin (Hopefully to see penguins), Christchurch, back across the Cook Straight, Napier, and Auckland. I might try to visit the set of the Shire from Lord of the Rings, but honestly, I saw photos and it doesn’t look anything like the movie anymore.

I’ve been taking the advice that everyone has given me on where to go. Today I went to the Blue Pools of Haast.