Air Adventure 1: Up and Away

Originally, this week was planned as a solitary week at the beach to write, which would have been an adventure unto itself in familiar and beloved elements. I could never resist sun, sea and warmth, which are essential to my soul but I can never resist the call to adventure either, to explore the possibility of adding a new dimension in my life and possibly feature the experience in a book somehow. So it has come to pass that instead of indulging on a sea retreat I am taking a paragliding course for the next eight days. Yes, you read it correctly… paragliding!

I am as far away from the sea and coast as I could possibly be, and find myself in a quaint little place called Höxter. To be honest, the existence of this part of the world only transmogrified into reality after I signed up for the course and looked into where the flight school is. Picturesque doesn’t even begin to describe the area, but I am not sure I would move here… Why paragliding? Well, considering that I already have sky diving under my belt, having jumped out of a perfectly safe airplane and absolutely loving it, how bad can paragliding be?

I am the only woman in a class of 13, the shortest person in the group as well, and certainly the only Asian. So fading quietly into the background is out of the question. Taking the course is adventurous enough, but doing it in German is a double whammy for me, because I have to really concentrate on the terms and then look them up in English at night. But to be perfectly honest, I can’t imagine doing the course in any other country except Germany, taking into consideration the strict requirements and the recognition of the A and B pilot licenses.

Day 1 of the course was 95% lecture, since the winds were too strong to start. Even for advanced paragliders, winds over 30 kph are not advisable, and for beginners it is a definite no-fly. The meaning of being grounded takes on a whole new dimension all of a sudden!

I know I am in the right place when the main lesson of the day is always look towards the horizon and you determine how high you fly. The lure of being up in the air and being master of my direction is just too good to resist. And if I don’t do it now, while I am still able to, when will I ever do it? My life now is all about looking forward and rebuilding, embracing every form of adventure that comes my way, even it it means letting go of the safety of remaining on terra firma.

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