The most adventurous moment of my travels happened to come at a time when I least expected it. I was staying in General Roca, a small, sleepy town in the South of Argentina and decided one weekend to attend the local air show (for lack of better things to do). At one point during the show I caught the eye of an old man who muttered something to me in Spanish which I didn’t understand, so I apologised and asked him to repeat himself, which led to the inevitable “Wow! You’re not from around here are you? Where are you from?” conversation starter (like I said, it was a sleepy town and they weren’t used to ‘gringos’). Quite how it evolved I’m not sure, but by the end of the same conversation I was being offered a free skydive! It turns out that this man was a respected Chilean pilot with some fairly impressive contacts, one of whom was Peter Vermehren, an equally respected skydiving instructor.
The next morning I was all kitted out and ready to go, grinning manically with excitement but strangely not at all nervous. However, after being interviewed in Spanish before the big leap, filmed throughout, and photographed by a dozen cameramen after a slightly treacherous landing, I was more than ready for a drink, as was Peter. After a few cups of delicious Argentinian wine, Peter told me he would be flying back to Chile the following day and asked if I’d care to join him. Would I like to fly to another country in a private plane with a man I barely knew? It was mad but I went for it and, before I knew it, I was back on the same plane I’d leapt out of the previous day with just Peter and his pilot, soaring over the Patagonian desert which transformed into colourful woodland and vast lakes, marvelling at the famous Villarrica volcano which slowly emerged as we began to fly into Chile.