While some people want to visit all 50 states in their lifetime, for one Indiana man that was not enough: he wanted to skydive in all of the states. Justin Baker, from South Bend, Indiana, did just that and parachuted his way through each state on his skydiving adventure. To top it off, he went through the states in alphabetical order.
“It’s surreal man, skydiving itself is just amazing, but going to that many places, seeing all the scenery and meeting all the people,” Baker said. “It’s really all about the journey.”
Baker’s passion to skydive goes back to when he was a teenager. “It started back when I was 19 years old,” Baker said. “I went to join the military and they said what do you want to do and I said I want to jump out of airplanes.”
He planned to be a parachute rigger for the military, but unfortunately, his dreams fell through because he broke his foot one week before airborne school. Baker learned to fly airplanes but still hoped to go skydiving. “I said, ‘I’m going to go do it’”.
Fourteen people before Baker have completed this task, according to Baker. He went skydiving in all 50 states in three years and recently returned from Hawaii to his hometown of South Bend.
Baker, who at this point is well-traveled, has caught many views in various locations throughout the United States. He describes the experience as “surreal.”
Aside from having gone skydiving through every state, Baker has his next goal already in mind. A goal nobody in history has ever achieved: he hopes to wingsuit jump in every state. Wingsuits, known also as squirrel suits, allow people to glide parallel to the ground for greater distances and to reach speeds of up to 200 miles per hour.
“Nobody in the history of skydiving has ever wing-suited in every state and now I’ve wing-suited in four states,” Baker said. “I’m thinking about going back through.”
Two other people who have gone skydiving in all 50 states are Sarah and Matt Nuckols. On June 23, 2016, they achieved their goal. It took the couple three years to make it through all of the states. Their journey was complete when they jumped out of a hot air balloon in Wyoming at the height of 6,000 feet.
“When I started skydiving, I never imagined where it would take me,” Sarah said—she started skydiving when she was 19 and met her husband through skydiving. “It such an adventure. We just wanted to go for it and have fun.”
Their journey took them to 60 drop zones and totaled 20,000 miles.
“It’s a natural way to get adrenaline,” Matt said. “It’s a natural high. It’s hard to explain. You feel free, out there in the sky, with no windows to block you from the sunlight or the clouds. You can see the beauty.”
“It was the first time in my whole life when I was just doing something for me,” Sarah said.
“It’s an adventure that we’ll have for the rest of our lives,” Matt said. “Nobody can ever take that away from us.”