“If you could have any superpower in the world what would it be?” my friend asked. Now, the average person would’ve needed to ponder this, but while other little girls wanted to be ballerinas or teachers when they grew up, I wanted to be a superhero! My answer (since I had to pick only one power) was that I would love to fly. A few weeks later this same friend said to me casually in conversation, “Were you serious when you said you wanted to fly?” I answered, “Yes…why?” The friend responded, “Oh, no reason.” I should’ve smelled trouble.
Soon, the mystery of what lie ahead was finally revealed: We were going HANG GLIDING! Oh my gosh, I was secretly scared to death. I imagined a large wind gust whisking me away, propelling me inches above treetops, ultimately dumping me in some foreign land. While I envisioned the cavernous mountaintops we were driving to, our GPS had something much less exotic in mind. We were led to a residential street lined with one-story homes and daisies and poppies in the yards. Were we going to be flying from the roofs of the houses? Had we been scammed?! We must have the wrong address? We learned we were at the correct place, the first stop was the instructor’s home to watch video about hang gliding. Sitting through the videos was like being told not to touch the fresh baked chocolate chip cookies when you were a kid; we just wanted to fly already. And fly we did! Well sort of… Below is a pictorial journey of my hang gliding adventure. Away we goooo!
The field where our lesson took place. We started from the hilltop.
Our instructor immediately knew we had no idea what we were getting into. Not sure what tipped him off…maybe the fact that I had on loafers. He was quick to explain, “You will get at least a few feet off the ground today.” A few feet? I was both relieved and disappointed at the same time. I borrowed my friend’s 5 finger shoes since I didn’t bring appropriate footwear. These were an equally awful option, however. The field was full of sharp burrs, which due to the shoe choice not only stabbed through the bottom of my feet, but also in between all 5 toes. Excellent.
We had a quick demo in hang glider construction. Super easy!
Even my hair was ready to take flight!
We got a lesson in the engineering of it all by our brilliant and laid-back instructor. The cutest kid was in our group. Eventually he interrupted to ask, “So, are we flying today?” So funny. Here I am suited up, ready to roll!
Go! One of the most important secrets to a successful glide is FORM. Look closely below at how gracefully I took to the skies, lol!
Here are a couple of brief action shot videos.
I loved hang gliding. I felt FREE, WEIGHTLESS, yet SUPPORTED. When I got that first taste of freedom as the wind lifted me, I just wanted to be transported somewhere new like Alice in Wonderland or Dorothy to Oz. One of the most important lessons the instructor taught me was that when the wind came (which was good), I would tighten up when all I needed to do was to let go. Deep metaphor for life. Stay tuned for my book Zen and the Art of Hang Gliding, lol. Go try it, and let me know your experiences!