Someone I thought very highly of died recently. The news came as a shock; learning they died doing something they loved was a small comfort. I knew him only briefly, but shared a moment that sparked a lifetime passion.
We met on a paragliding trip. Tomáš was an experienced pilot – I was a novice, with just one week’s flying experience. I’d already been bitten by the flying bug thanks to the expert tuition of Johnny Welch at Flight Culture. I’d taken a few months off work to travel and decided to go surfing (hated it) and paragliding (loved it). Johnny is an excellent teacher & the feeling of being airborne with just a wing strapped to your back was instantly addictive.
It was my birthday & I was feeling more bullish than usual. I asked Tomáš if he’d take me up in the tandem stunt wing – to my surprise, he agreed. We rode a thermal up higher than I imagined possible, gaining enough height for the acrobatics to come. I recall that he worked some magic with the wing so that we were suspended in the air above the island, with no forward movement. There we remained, while I snapped a photo or two (the ones attached to this blog, in fact) and checked out the view below. After a time, he slowly tipped the wing sideways and we dropped into some acro moves that induced a series of delighted screams from me as I watched the ground spin maniacally below us.
The whole experience was over so quickly and yet nearly 10 years later, it still remains a vivid memory. I have two young children now, a business to run & a hectic life in London – my flying hours are limited. Yet, if I could be anywhere else right now, it would be airborne.
Today, I am thankful for having discovered a passion for flying that has brought some amazing people & experiences into my life. Whenever I feel low, I close my eyes and remember what it feels like to have your feet leave the ground.
What’s your passion? – Liz