About 10 years ago a friend asked me if I wanted to join paragliding. I have the tendency to say "yes" to things like that. We flew pretty much every weekend that summer. It was beautiful and naively optimistic that nothing wrong can happen. Fall came and so as my accident. My wing closed around 6 meters above the ground and I landed firmly on my butt. I could not move from pain. The emergency came and few hours later my doctor told me that I have broken my back and I might not be able to walk again. A night in agony followed. The next day they did some more tests and realized that I have just broken one of the ring on my spine, much less serious injury. I end up staying in bed good 30 days, not being able to move, wearing a giant tight belt around my waist. I didn't fly again... Until last week.
I went to the South of Spain, signed up for a proper training and I flew!
I have been lucky to experience a lot of great things, but Paragliding is by far one of the best. It's not only a sport. Not only an extreme sport. It's a journey, to self. The obvious accessory is the fight with your fears and literary rising above them. My favorite though is the rush of thoughts that run trough my mind standing up on the hill, waiting for the right winds to blow up my wing. It was a bit like on graduation day. What is next, what will happen? Will I crash and burn or would I spread my wings and fly beautifully above all those thorns hidden in the bushes, ready to tear my delicate skin. And then I flew... I can only describe the feeling as a very long-lasting orgasm. It's a mix of euphoria, relief, adrenalin rush, endorphin raise, triumph, not wanting it to stop, all in one, creating as much physical as a psychological state of absolute happiness. Even of only for a minute...
I am hooked and I want to do it again, and again. I want to become better and fly longer and higher. I feel so lucky being able to do things like this while having two small children. It wouldn't have been possible if my mom wasn't so great with taking over for a week or two at the time, hubby wasn't so understanding and most of all, right now, being able to afford it. It's all matter of priorities, of course.
Otherwise the whole experience was pretty nice. The school was in the middle of nowhere in Andalusia. Stunning scenery, great mix of people, great conversations, good wines, inexpensive fresh food every evening. The whole concept is pretty much like a "package paragliding holiday" in which though you need to work really hard almost 12 hours a day. But it felt easy, since the pay off was incredible. I had a blast. If I have known how great that was, I would have done it much earlier.