Sunday, September 29, 2013

On black feminist bungee jumping

Found my photos of this the other day, and thought I would share the video.

Before I go into it, some context. The year was 2005. I was 27 years old with rather normal hair, a few additional kilos, and the same attitude. I was in a quite horrible relationship, at the time. This was also the first time I had ever been overseas.

A slow developer on the globe-trotting side of things, I went to NZ for the World Indigenous Peoples' Conference in Education (WIPC:E). It was an incredibly transformative experience for me, and whilst I was always politically-motivated and engaged prior to that point, I think after experiencing all those Indigenous cultures from across the world, and also seeing how much more Maori culture was embraced in Aotearoa compared to Aboriginal culture in Australia, I became somewhat more radicalised. There is nothing quite like overseas travel for opening your eyes and your mind.

Following WIPC:E, I hired a car and travelled around the North Island of NZ solo; staying in many backpacker hostels and having a brilliant time experiencing the culture, the land, the food, and the thermal pools. The sheer freedom of solo travel is something I have replicated a few times since, and truth be told, I actually wonder if I would be able to stand travelling with anyone else!

But what's NZ without a good bungee jump, hey? Yes, there was a feminist tale behind this jump. I had planned to do something extreme sport-y whilst there, and was driving around Taupo when I came across a nearly 50m cantilever platform jump. I went to have a look and saw three blokes all line up for their jumps, but no women. I figured I couldn't let the patriarchy have all the fun, so paid my money and took the leap. The rest is in the video.

It's quite an amazing moment for me. I don't think I would be able to do it now, because water-plunges are not exactly brilliant for bad ears. Also, post-car accident, I would probably cause myself even more injury. Knowing though that I could do it, and that I did do it, has stayed with me ever since, and I am really proud that I took that impulsive leap. If anything, it means that I learnt that pushing boundaries and stepping outside comfort zones, whilst sometimes terrifying, can lead to wonderful experiences. I had always been good with pushing boundaries (mainly because those boundaries were usually crap) but this heightened it.

Anyway, enjoy, and listen out for the corny line as I talk to the people in the dingy ;)

1 comment:

  1. I'm in awe of you. Just can't. do. that kind of thing. The ferris wheel at the Show is a white knuckle ride for me!