“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”
― Leonardo da Vinci
All his life, man has wanted nothing but to fly. We have come a long way since Icarus and Daedalus. Now we are able to get closer to the heavens and go to places quickly with the help of airplanes. I have never understood man’s fascination with flight, until I attempted to “fly” on June 19th in Puncak, Indonesia. Being suspended hundreds of feet from the ground was just beyond awesome.
No, I really didn’t fly but I went paragliding with friends. Paragliding is both a competitive and recreational sport. A lightweight, free-flying and foot-launched glider aircraft is used and the pilot sits on a harness which is suspended below a fabric wing that has a large number of interconnected baffled cells.
We woke up early and arrived at the Puncak Paragliding Flying Site at 8am and there were already plenty of people there. Some went there to see the sunrise while others were already waiting for the instructor to come and for their adventure to begin.
We waited for about an hour, brimming with excitement and perhaps a little trepidation, not really sure what we have gotten ourselves into. But I knew one thing, I wanted to conquer my fears and I wanted to get out of my little, safe shell.
Finally, the paragliding instructors came with their equipment and all I could think of was putting the harness on and jumping off the edge. Our paragliding instructor, it seems, was very experiences and looked like he knew he was doing and it was such a huge relief.
I couldn’t describe what I was feeling when they finally put all the equipment on me. With gopro in hand to record the glorious moment, I was ready to finally “fly”. I could not forget what the other guy told us before running to the edge, “Don’t jump! Don’t shit!” I am uncertain if somebody shit on their pants while paragliding or if he meant not to sit.
Once we were up in the air and slowly descending on the tea plantations below, all I could think of was I wanted to do it again and again. It felt exhilarating and I felt alive. I could feel the wind on my face and my heart was pounding. As soon as we hit the ground, and it was a very soft landing I must tell you, I wanted to go back up and do it all over again. Leonardo Da Vinci was right, after all.