BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH | LET YOUR IMAGINATION FLY
In a world where we have the gift of endless opportunities to travel wherever we desire, there are a few precious flying experiences that are reserved for the adventurous, the courageous, and the luxury-seeking. Filming all over the world for our travel show Global Child, now playing on Amazon Prime and major airlines around the world has allowed me to experience the ultimate ways to fly and share them with our audience. Thousands of feet above the ground, in that place between heaven and earth, some of the best memories are made.
Few things are so thrilling as leaping out of an airplane. For those looking for a breathtaking skydiving experience that is truly next-level, there is no better option than leaping off a high altitude helicopter in Qatar, one of the most magnificent landscapes in the world. Never having skydived before, you can imagine I was a bit nervous. To make that experience even more memorable, members of the Qatar Sky Diving Team leaped out into nothingness just before we did. I didn’t know that the torn jeans and t-shirt look I chose for our helicopter shoot was not the best choice—it’s freezing cold up there! We first ascend to 20,000 feet; the helicopter doors are wide open as we sit on the ledge and look at the desert sands glistening below. We were the last to go. My instructor stood up, and so did I. Our cameraman stood facing us, with his back to the abyss. Envision this: your heart pumps as you wait to jump, and suddenly you are plummeting down into the Arabian desert with the wind rushing past you. Like a bullet, you plunge down to the ground. It’s very, very intense. Fueling my dismay even further, our cameraman continued his fall to a lower altitude. I’ve never seen anything like falling alongside someone and then, before my mind could comprehend it, in a flash he was falling at over 100 miles per hour. Twenty seconds felt like one, and then we felt the tug of the parachute, and our descent started to slow down. The experience, which takes mere seconds of your life, will continue in your memories forever.
Riding an acrobatic airplane, no canopy, strapped into the seat of a gas-fueled, propeller-driven rocket with wings does take courage. While filming Global Child in Australia, a friend mentioned that her friend owns an airplane company and wanted to “take us on a nice sunset flight around Sydney bay.” How nice, I thought. Little did I know that upon arriving I’d be surprised to find that Infinite Aviators was home to the Red Baron airplane, specializing in acrobatic tricks! Next thing I knew, we were being strapped into the front seat, with no more than a little helmet and some goggles. Our pilot smiled smugly from the seat behind and said, “Ready, mate? Here we go!” The fear was trying to rush in, but I decided to start giving thanks as I know that part of enjoying life is having the mental discipline to control my mind over my emotions, and that my emotions will follow. One cannot be overwhelmed by fear when one is actively being grateful. Now imagine the plane starts flipping upside down and twirling in loops as the G-force reaches almost G-4. The ocean becomes the sky, and the sky becomes the ocean. It’s thrilling – all that holds you in place are two straps around your shoulders. I finally let go of all fear, enjoying the indescribable sensation of whirling and spinning through the sky as the ocean and Sydney skyline stretched out before us. It was intense, and it made for some epic moments captured on camera as well as in our memories.
Who doesn’t like to experience a luxurious flight to an even more beautiful destination? Look no further than a trip to Fiji. Travelling to this paradisiac country made up of 333 islands in the South Pacific can occur while sipping a glass of champagne in your comfortable seating in first class on Fiji Airways. It is truly marvelous. You can visit this tropical island nation any time of the year, but the best time to visit Fiji is from late October to early November when the weather is dry, settled and warm, and the beaches and resorts are far less crowded. Once you have explored and enjoyed Fiji and it’s time to continue with your travels, you will want to also relish your time at the airport while waiting for your flight. The Fiji Airways lounge in the Nadi Airport is beautifully decorated for a relaxing experience; you can try local Fijian drinks and flavors while you wait to board. Overall, the flight offers warm, exceptional service and luxury amenities so you can travel in ultimate comfort. Of course, the best part is when you ascend and can overlook the turquoise waters that surround the idyllic islands from the window and the word “bula” comes to your mind, which means “life.”