As she climbed aboard the skydiving helicopter in the Swiss alps, five days into her European backpacking holiday in 2013, the buzz in her stomach was familiar – excitement.
“I’d been looking forward to it for so long, I’m such an adrenaline junkie,” the 25-year-old Sydney woman told Mamamia earlier this year. “And then we jumped out, and it was just the most incredible feeling ever.”
The free-fall from 14,000ft lasted seconds, maybe less than a minute, before the instructor released their parachute. They slowed a little, but even as a novice Emma could tell it was not enough – the tangled parachute hadn’t opened fully.
By then the instructor had stopped talking to her, and Emma’s concerned questions hung in the air as they rushed closer and closer toward the ground.
Now, she’s returning to the place where it all happened, sharing the news in an Instagram post earlier today.
“Aaaaand it’s finally happening… after 5 whole years I’m going back to Europe, back to Switzerland and back to the exact place I had my accident. I’ve haven’t been back since, so I have no idea how it’s going to make me feel. Maybe a lot, maybe nothing. I have no idea,” she wrote.
“I only booked this ticket last week and I don’t exactly know what I’m going to do once I get there, partly because I never plan anything and my life is one big ‘yolo we’ll see what happens’ but also partly because I didn’t really want to think about it,” she added.
While for many people the thought of heading into the European summer is one of pure joy, for Emma there is a frightening memory.
“The thought of going back to Europe makes me feel sick. It’s like everything in my body is screaming at me to not go back there, to the place where it got so hurt. But everything else is me is begging me to go, to create new memories, to stop thinking about it so much and to finally enjoy a European summer for what it should have always been… fun,” she wrote.
After Em Carey last travelled to Europe, she returned home a paraplegic. Her life was turned upside down, and she writes that part of her worry about the trip is returning home again.
“It’s not that I’m worried about something going wrong over there again, it’s more the thought of coming home which scares me. Last time I left, I came home to an entirely different world. Not only was my body forever changed but every other aspect of my life was as well. I couldn’t work anymore, my relationship was gone, my family was completely different and it genuinely felt like my identity was taken from me. The life I came home to resembled absolutely nothing of the life I left. I think that scares me now because I am SO in love with the new life I’ve created here. My job, laz, my friends, my home, my body I’ve worked so hard to heal, my happiness… it feels like there’s a lot to lose,” she wrote.