Today, January 26th, is Explo Spirit Day! Dust off your lanyard, wear bright orange, and get stoked about being apart of something brilliant. I thought I’d help celebrate by posting some of my favorite photos from Explo 2010. Hopefully they warm your heart and make you think of all the great moments we had last year, and for those of you returning in 2011, all the memories yet to be made.
One of two things needs to happen as you peruse this post:
- Vote for your favorite of my favorites, and please say why!
- Leave an Explo memorable moment, or what it is you’re looking forward to most for Explo 2011.
I’ll start with mine, so that no one feels “nervous” about going first. My most memorable Explo moment has to be going on the weekend trip to SkyVentures. As much as I like flying, I have never, ever, ever liked the idea of jumping from an airplane. Something about hurling yourself towards the earth’s from over a mile up seems deadly. Probably because it can be if you’re not wearing a parachute, but that’s besides the point. SkyVentures is located in Nashua, NH, a decent drive from Wellesley, MA. I had all of that trip, and a stop at an actual skydiving facility, to think about what I’d experience at SkyVentures. Yes, I know I was being silly, but part of me was nervous. I always get nervous about things I don’t know. All of the kids on the bus were BEYOND excited. That made me feel more silly, so I tried to be like them (yes, you read that right, I was trying to be like an Explo kid). When we arrived at SkyVentures, the people there asked us how many people would by going in their wind tunnel. Ah, the moment of truth. Do I say, count me in? Or do I say, I’ll take pictures of everyone doing something new and exciting and stay one dimensional. I must have been feeling spontaneous, because I ended up saying, count me in. Before I could say “airborne”, I was learning the proper way to hold my arms and legs while in the wind tunnel.
The first two groups of kids took a trip into the wind tunnel and came out with giant smiles on their face (I have the pictures to prove it). It was finally my group’s turn to get blasted by a giant fan. I made sure to sit towards the end of the line. What kind of a chapperone would I be if I elbowed the kids for the first spot? Probably one with nerves of steel, a.k.a. not me at the moment. It turned out I wasn’t the only person that wanted to go last. There were two students that insisted on being more last than I wanted to be. We watched as student after student floated mid-air before our eyes while the SkyVenture instructors made hand gestures to signal different leg positions or to give a giant thumbs up when a student was exactly how they needed to be. A minute and a half later with a basic knowledge of how to fall properly, they were helped to the exit and it was another student’s chance to defy gravity.
Suddenly, I found myself next in line. As the person in front of me exited the wind tunnel, I stood up and toed the line right outside of the entrance with my arms crossed over my chest. I took a deep breath and let myself fall forward, knowing the wind catch me but still afraid I’d smack my nose onto the net below. Rather than fight and freak out and wonder what I was doing and why I was doing it, I took a cue from the kids and just relaxed and enjoyed the experience. The SkyVenture instructor gave me one signal to bend my legs a bit more, then I got the giant thumbs up. I smiled and relaxed even more. This isn’t so bad, I thought to myself.
Let me say, in case you didn’t know, that a minute and a half of being in a wind tunnel as a beginner is a long time. You can’t hear anything, you can’t really look around because you’ll topple yourself, and your movement is restricted to that one falling position. The people that had gone before me spent the minute and a half working on the proper positioning for their hands, arms, feet, and head. Once I got the big thumbs up, I made sure to keep the pose and I floated there harmlessly. I guess the SkyVentures instructors decided that my basic lesson was finished, because the instructor in the tunnel with me had the wind jacked up to a ridiculous amount and suddenly we were both swirling up and down the tunnel like it was our job (well, it is his job). It was so much fun! I quickly went from being nervous about the experience to having a WONDERFUL time. I guess the moral of my story is Explo’s gives you a bunch of opportunities to try something new, or something that may take you someplace you’d never have gone otherwise, and rather than doing what you already know, do something you don’t.
Don’t see your favorite moment photographed here? Feel free to check out the other three Explo posts I did late last year:
As always, enjoy! 🙂