ReadWrite looks for rare experiences and companies in the tech world that we can recommend for highly motivational encounters. Our team was invited to “Make the Jump” at Limitless Flight in SLC, Utah. Jump is a highly technical VR experience, and we decided that because of the tech world we work in, for a team bonding and mind-expanding event, we would head out to Utah and try The Jump.
My experience at JUMP was the most emotionally liberating and empowering experience that I’ve experienced in my life.
I’ve participated in many experiences in my life that some would call “daring,” but I cannot adequately express what my feelings were heading into Jump. I read up on and watched a couple of YouTubes on wing suit jumping as well as skydiving and anticipated that it might give my heart a little skip or (or a deep thud).
A few of my buddies had been in doing some skydiving (as newbies) in the weeks before The Jump — so I asked one of them to come along and give an unbiased account of his experience with the Jump and how it related to his skydiving — and how close the two experiences and feelings were.
My mind was blown by the complexity of the whole operation
As you walk into the lobby, there is a massive window in front of you (I called it, “the window of the soul”). The soul window is about 12-15 feet of glass, and it looks like a movie is going on. But you are witnessing the person ahead of you “in flight.” You are seeing what they are seeing as they fly.
The whole interior is like a movie set that sets you up to enter the experience.
You walk up a ramp to the right, where there are all kinds of base-jumping wing suits and other thought-provoking items and planes. Next, you receive instructions on what you will be doing, how you will dress, and how to put on the wingsuit, and the helmet.
We brought about ten people with us — (I wasn’t going to go it alone on something this important). Several of my peeps jumped ahead in line — and that was fine by me. After the brief instructional video — we entered a space where many wingsuits were hanging on pullout racks. Someone stepped out to help me suit up.
I was suited into a real-world wingsuit and a real-world parachute harness. In some way, I thought the VR experience was going to be VR all the way — but no — the real-world setup and outfitting began to immediately put me in the zone. At this point, the reality of the experience started to set in.
I am really doing this — where am I? — how did this happen?
I was located in a room where a unique VR helmet was put on my head — yes, in red, my favorite color. When I went to put on the helmet, my first thought was that I had the biggest and fattest head in the whole U.S. of A, and it wouldn’t fit — but I put it on, and it fit just fine.
Next, I was guided inside the belly of a cargo plane. I gazed up and down at the sidewalls — I was really inside the plane. I shivered a little for some reason. Was I brave or not? What if I couldn’t jump?
I was hearing instructions through the helmet. At that point, the door in the cargo plane opened, and it became clear that I would now jump out of the airplane and fly with my wingsuit. What would my team….what? — And I was gone — completely enveloped in the experience. I overcame my fear and jumped out of that plane; my mind could not distinguish reality from virtual reality. I was completely immersed in an event that was exhilarating, yet completely scary at the same time.
The flight experience is something that I cannot explain. I have no frame of reference. Words to express the experience are exhilarating, exciting, beautiful — and mind-expanding.
From that point forward, until my experience was completed, I completely lost my perception of time and reality.
Why am I leaning? Was it the right arm higher to move right? Why am I circling here? Oh yeah, I did that circle, lift the other arm and come out of the circle, Brad — now head to the flag. Man, I’m too close to that cliff!
The cliffs — so real. I can feel the air, I’m weightless. Am I asleep? Have I flown over that mountain range somewhere? What do I recognize? I think I have been here before.
Landing safely on the platform, I took the second leg of the jump.
There was no concept of time and space while I was in the Jump. After I was finished with the Jump and was getting out of the wingsuit, I had to check in with my mind to make sure what was happening was real again. The experience itself was mind-blowing — but I came away with more than expected.
I had to face a real fear of heights that has bugged me for years — like a clenching right where you don’t talk about it — and now that is gone. Accepting the invitation and going and taking my team felt like applying for a new job on another planet. Would I be able to Jump — especially with my team there? I didn’t realize that I feared the unknown but felt like I faced it, and I’m better for doing so.
The After Jump
There is an “after Jump” room where we quietly talked about what had just happened to us. It was like we had passed through a secret and wanted to contemplate things. I thought that we would immediately hop out and begin some big planning session. The After Jump was very revealing, and it was apparent that we had all been deeply affected.
In a very real way, I experienced a mind shift that lasted for days.
I play video games — and play VR games with the headset on. I have the Oculus and Oculus Quest 2. I duck and jump and play the games — This is not That in any way.
Since the day of the Jump, I have read everything I can find on altered states of mind, getting in the zone, and the “Flow State” of mind.
In the book, “The Rise of Superman,” Steven Kotler tells about Dean Potter of the Fitz Roy climb fame, where Potter says, “I can sit on my ass and meditate for two hours to get a fifteen-second glimpse of this state [Flow State], or I can risk my life and get there instantly–and it lasts for hours.”
Yes — that’s what I felt — the Flow State. As I sit here writing, I can feel it again. The reality of what happened virtually impacted my life — and I can say that “life” has happened as a consequence of the experience.
Open Your Mind and Your Heart to New Things and Experiences
It was hard to admit that I came into the Jump experience with some trepidation, fear, and anxiety. But things and feelings like these are no longer hard to admit for me.
I left having completed the experience feeling exhilaration and confidence — and back to my usual self — with something more. My mind is more open to new ideas. Now I think to myself, “If I can put on a wingsuit and jump out of a plane and off of a cliff — then what else is possible?
Go Take the Jump —
In the words of Nike — Just Do It. I asked my team — and you’ll find yourself asking, “What other things can you conquer.” In what other ways can you push yourself personally, professionally, or emotionally?”
…and the best thing — Because of The Jump — you’ll have some answers!