Former intern of frog design Lucas Saule shares that sometimes it takes jumping out of a plane to gain a new perspective and some inspiration.
It was the morning of the sixth day of my vacation in Oahu. I was driving to an airfield with my girlfriend. My stomach was churning. It was not because of some bad loco-moco from the previous day, but because I had decided to roll the dice with my own life. Three days earlier it was my birthday, and, after taking me out to a magnificent dinner, my girlfriend gave me my present; she was taking me skydiving.
Sure, skydiving is something that I have always wanted to do. It has always been easy to agree to that opportunity, since I never thought the opportunity would present itself. Now this was a reality. I was beginning to freak. So, the night before, I Googled ‘skydiving in Hawaii,’ trying to find any piece of evidence that would make certain that I would live to see my next birthday. All I found were articles on a “2006 accident” and “death” — really assuring.
We pulled up to the airfield and were directed to watch a five minute video on skydiving. I viewed these crazy nut-heads jumping out of a plane and throwing up “shakas” for the camera. We signed a ten page contract and dated every page stating that we wouldn’t sue if we die. Once we signed our lives away, we headed out back and were told to wait for our tandem partner. Time passed. There was a mix of extremely nervous people (one girl crying), mildly calm people (me) and way too chill people (the instructors). We then saw the first group get suited up and walk off to the plane to die. Fifteen minutes passed, and all of a sudden, it was raining people. One group came in, and then another, and another – every landing softer than the prior. I was now confident. Seeing these people come back safely and then effortlessly land made my stomach settle down, which was very good because at that moment I heard, “LUKE!” At that point, all I was thinking was, “I do not want to be the one who freaks out.”
I got fitted for my harness. My instructor, a beach bum who loves to jump out of planes, reviewed what I needed to do, “Just cross your arms and lean your head back”. Uh….that’s it? Another ten minutes passed. I was getting nervous again. We made our way out to the plane, which was the size of a large bath tub. We all crammed in and off we went. Every few thousand feet, someone opened the door to even out the pressure, which provided a beautiful view, but also an uneasy feeling in my body. As we flew higher, my tandem instructor made sure that the two of us were strapped together stronger than epoxy. We reached our 15,000 foot goal and the door opened for the final time. Fist bumps were thrown. Jumpers leapt. My girlfriend and her instructor waddled over to the door. She flew. Then it was my turn.
The cameraman went first. I looked out the door, and, before I could even think to do anything else to save myself from this horror, I was pushed out. My stomach dropped, my heart stopped and I was having the time of my life. We did a few a rolls and finally leveled out. We were flying through the air at 150 mph. The camera man was trying to get my attention. I was trying not to die, screaming at the top of my lungs. Seventy seconds passed and the instructor pulled the chute. We seemed to stop on a dime. We coasted and enjoyed the exquisite view of the North Shore. And we landed, a nice soft landing. My girlfriend floated in a few seconds later. Then, we said our goodbyes to our instructors.
Now why in the world did I write this for a design blog? Not really sure. But it leaves me excited. This experience completely confirmed that I will not pass anything up. It’s too easy in life to fly over things, no pun intended. When I first started college at Western Michigan University, I was looking for a major and read about industrial design. I knew nothing about it, but thought it sounded cool. Five years later and a change of schools, I was starting my internship at frog.
You just never know where things will lead you. For me, I need experiences outside of design to design. I need to skydive to create. This keeps my mind fresh and on the edge.
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design mind is a publication of global innovation firm frog design that is updated daily to keep the design and innovation community updated with fresh perspectives on industry trends, emerging technologies, and global consumer culture. Learn more about design mind and frog design.
Lucas Saule, former intern of frog design, is now a designer for his own company Lucas Saule Design. He has created innovative furniture designs like the Alice. Learn more about Lucas Saule.