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Meet Ryan and Gillian, a skydiving couple with an amazing story!

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Thanks for sitting down with us, guys!


First things first… How did you get into skydiving?

Ryan: I was visiting my cousin, who is a skydiver, in California sometime in 2016, and he told me to try it! I’m very afraid of heights, but gave it a try and was totally hooked! I ended up jumping three times that day.


Gill: Me too, I did my first four tandems in three days in Colorado. By the fourth one, they said, “You should just go get your license.” And I was like, “Wow, what a concept.” I ended up getting my license out in Montana. There’s these two beautiful lakes with water so clear you can see the bottom from the sky. I started traveling to boogies, and that’s how I met Ryan!


So you met through skydiving! What a story!

Ryan: If it wasn’t for skydiving, we never would have come together, with her in Montana and me in New Jersey. It almost feels unreal how much needed to align for us to meet each other at a boogie in Florida, that I didn’t even plan to go to!

I was doing this road trip from Florida to California. Gill said, “Do you want any company?” Of course, I said yes. It was the first time I had ever gone to Yosemite and I thought it would be epic to do it with someone. We ended up totally falling in love on the trip and knew we wanted to spend a lot more time together. 


Gill: I bought a one-way ticket to Jersey to visit Ryan for the summer. Towards the end of my trip he said, “You shouldn’t leave” and I said, “Well, I don’t have a flight home.”
So I just stayed.

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That’s fantastic! Have you guys kept traveling? 


Ryan: Oh yeah. In 2020 we made a cross-country road trip, starting out in Florida and going through New Orleans, Texas, Arizona, California and New Mexico. We stopped at a few drop zones along the way so we could see our vacation spots from above. New Orleans was cool, we were able to see the whole city, Lake Pontchartrain, even the NASA Station. 


Gill: We’ve been to Costa Rica a few times, but we haven’t had a chance to jump there yet. We’d love to jump in Switzerland, maybe try Dubai and jump over Palm Island. There’s a lot of cool stuff to do in Dubai, they’ve got the world’s deepest pool, indoor skiing. 

We’ve been to Mexico a few times for skydiving, and we got married there too!

Ryan: Our wedding was kind of like a boogie. We had way more skydiving friends than we had family there. There were about 20 family members and 60 skydivers – we put them all together at their own table. It was incredible. 

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Sounds like it! So how’d you guys end up at Cross Keys?  


Ryan: My cousin from California who got me into skydiving told me to check out Skydive Cross Keys when I got back home to New Jersey. 

And that’s where I saw what a real dropzone is. I mean, San Diego was an awesome place to jump. Beautiful views, cool people. But then I came to Cross Keys and I realized the difference between “a place to jump” and a real dropzone. 


Gill: I’ve been to other dropzones with a similar vibe, like in Syracuse and Montana we’d hang out afterwards to enjoy a friendly bonfire chat. All the best dropzones are known for that kind of friendly vibe. But when I came here, it was like, “Oh, wow, this place is like a family.” 


Ryan: Exactly. It’s a whole community. Also, the fact that everyone is trying to get better, help each other out, come together at the end of the night, it’s just an awesome place to be. We’re a community of people who love spending time together whether we’re jumping or not – that’s one of the best things about skydiving. 


Gill: I’ve told so many people how this is our favorite place. It’s one of the reasons we wouldn’t want to leave New Jersey.


We’re happy to have you! Okay, last question: Do you have any advice for a beginner jumper? 


Ryan: Welcome to the best thing you’re ever going to do in your life. Stick with it, stay consistent. Talk to people you know, listen to advice, get coached. You’re going to be part of a family that’ll blow your mind. The skydiving community made me realize that many of the friends I had before weren’t my real friends. 

I remember I had only been in the sport for a very short period of time and I broke my leg. The first thing my dad said to me was, “You’re not doing this anymore.” And I’m like, “The hell I’m not. This is the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.” 

You know, the skydiving community showed up to help take care of me more than anyone else. This kid Julio, someone I barely knew, dropped everything and moved into my house for a couple weeks to take care of me. Rob and Jackie came down to cook and help out. One Arm Dave would come to work with me and wouldn’t take money. These are the kinds of people you’re going to meet. 


Gill: Sometime around when Ryan proposed, I told him, “There’s one thing you can never ask me to do, and that’s to stop skydiving. I’m never going to stop.”

Ryan: And I said, “Ditto.”

Gill: One last tip: watch your budget.


Ryan: Oh yeah, and don’t sell all the furniture you have to jump. Even though that’s exactly what Gill did.


You guys are awesome. Thank you for sharing the stories! 

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