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Kim Laufenberg is not your ordinary girl. Skydiver, rugby player, world traveler and a soon to be member of the Peace Corps in Africa! Learn all about her in this week’s 10 Questions With…
1. What attracted you to the sport of skydiving?
KL: In all honesty, I love adrenaline rushes. The feeling when your palms start to sweat, the pulse quickens, your mind narrows in, and your heart feels like it’s going to jump out of your chest! I think in a way that attracted me to most things in my life. Whether it is rugby, AcroYoga, public speaking, running, or skydiving, I love the euphoric feeling I experience after each jump, race, speech, performance, or game. But with skydiving there is something more. The group of people I work and jump with are a second family to me. They have pushed me to develop further, not just as a skydiver, but as a person as well. Throughout the past four years, I have discovered so much more about life and who I want to be by skydiving and learning from these people. No matter where I go, which soon will be to Africa for the Peace Corps, they forever will be a part of me.
2. What influenced you to actually make the phone call to make your first skydive?
KL: My first skydive was when I was 18. It just so happened a close friend and neighbor had his birthday just after mine in the winter and that next summer called me one week to ask me if I wanted to go skydiving with him that weekend. I was at that stage in my life where I just wanted to try anything and everything so I responded “Why not!” The next thing I know I’m being flung from an airplane at 10,000 feet. So I guess I didn’t even make the call, my friend did, and to this day I continue to thank him for that experience.
3. What’s the most memorable skydive you’ve ever been on?
KL: Wow, that’s a difficult question. Every skydive is unique depending on what you do and who you are with. There are a couple that come to mind, but I have to say, if I had to pick, tracking dives are almost always my favorite. There is something about pulling the superman pose that’s simply epic to me. Also, when first starting out, I trained with almost only women skydivers, which is unique in itself as there are far more men than women skydivers. So, the person who ended up showing me the best tracking pose, KT, ended up being one of my closest friends. Actually, we even ended up being roommates for a short time, which blows my mind. One of the last times I got to jump with her before she moved away was a tracking dive and will forever be one of my favorites.
4. Who / what inspires you?
KL: I realize this is a fairly typical answer, but my family is my inspiration. I grew up on a family farm just north of Madison. My dad and uncle own the business and it is almost completely run by family. My dad’s life passion is farming which has shown me the value of hard work and the love you should have for anything you are involved in. My mom is my rock of support, always listening to all my life ambitions and even coming to watch me play rugby which I know wasn’t easy. They both have made me strive to achieve all my dreams and continue to drive me further in life.
5. Of the places you have visited – what is your favorite place and why?
KL: Oh hands down, New Zealand. Last spring, I had the opportunity to study abroad there for my degree. Between the people I met and the places I saw, New Zealand will forever hold a special place in my heart. Learning and being immersed in a new culture was amazing. I had the chance to once again connect to the outdoors by camping, backpacking, caving, and kayaking. Also, I hitchhiked for the first time! Don’t worry, it’s completely normal there. That opportunity showed me that adventure truly is out there. All you have to do is reach out and grab it.
6. What other interests do you have outside of skydiving?
KL: Lots! I’m a huge outdoors person and love all things active. Kayaking is definitely something I’m super into as well as hiking, backpacking, and caving. Long hikes are amazing to me when there’s nothing but you and the wilderness. I’ve been on a 100km hike before and it was stellar! I also love rugby which I played all through college. As that takes a toll on the body, I’ve gotten into yoga including AcroYoga which uses partners to combine acrobatics and yoga. It’s epic! Apart from that, I like reading, movies, ice cream, and long walks in the rain, haha, pretty standard.
7. What is something about you that few people know about?
KL: I don’t have many secrets to be honest. I guess one thing few people know is I never use to be athletic when I was younger. I was really into arts and crafts growing up. I still know how to quilt, sew, scrapbook, paint, and draw fairly well. It wasn’t until high school that I started sports and didn’t find a calling until I did La Crosse my junior year. I would likely still be playing that if Platteville had it, but instead I resorted to rugby. The bond that sport creates not only between your teammates, but with other teams after games is truly astounding. I could be tackling a person one minute; then having a conversation with them the next. It’s just amazing. I actually have played against one of my best high school friends multiple times! We always ended up laughing after we tackled one another.
8. What’s on your bucket list?
KL: I’m not really a fan of having a bucket list. I like to live my life by learning from the past, designing for the future, and living in the present. You only have one life to live, so live your dreams now because whoknows what the future will hold.
9. What do you do for work? If you could do anything as an occupation – what would it be?
Well, I actually just graduated from college (UW-Platteville) with a degree in Environmental Engineering. Currently, I work for Alliant Energy as an engineering intern for the next two months after which I will be joining the Peace Corps, teaching math in Namibia. Joining the Peace Corps has been one of my dreamsfor a long time and I couldn’t be more excited to be living that dream. After the Peace Corps, I have noidea what I’ll be doing which in a way is scary, but also very exciting because with my degree I could do anything. So in two years, who knows where I’ll be!
10. What are your future goals?
KL: In terms of skydiving, I am striving toward attaining my B-license, mainly focusing on improving my canopy control. Eventually, I would like to attain my coaching status to teach new students about skydiving. I think as a teacher, you learn just as much as the students by discovering different methods and techniques for accomplishing a certain goal. As for life, I would like to continue to maintain the friendships I have made throughout my many life experiences, continue to stay close to my family, pay off student loans (eventually, haha), travel lots, stay healthy through an active life, and smile/laugh/learn as much as possible.