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One traveller's day-by-day account of a year-long journey through Japan, China, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada

Day 266: 24th October
The man who fell to Earth
The flag of New Zealand

Taupo, New Zealand

Today I thought it would be a good idea if I paid someone to fly me up to 12,000 feet and throw me out of a plane. Willingly. Luckily with instructor and parachute attached.

I drove forty minutes northwards to Lake Taupo, which is apparently the cheapest place in the world to skydive, at only NZ$149 to fall screaming from 12,000 feet.

So with some trepidation I was suited up and, ahem, asked to dance for the Ground Video. Luckily I saw the same uncertainty I was feeling mirrored in the nervous, pallid faces of my fellow jumpers: a kiwi guy (who'd been given this as a birthday present from his girlfriend. I enquired whether he knew of any reason why she would want him dead), a German couple, a French girl and an American girl.

So we, the United Nations, marched as one to the plane, hooked up to our tandem masters. Mine, Andy, was a great chap, and his quips managed to put me more at ease as we soared high into the sky above Lake Taupo in a plane seemingly powered only by two wound-up rubber bands behind the propellers.