“I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
~Henry David Thoreau
I never could have anticipated where my life would go when I set off from Virginia on my own for unknown shores almost exactly four years ago. In 2011 I took a risk and stuffed my car for a journey to San Diego. No job. No friends or relatives. Just the dream that I’ll forge a home in a city I believed I could love. Looking back, I cannot believe I did that, but the decision led to so many amazing opportunities and adventures. I’ve enjoyed nearly every moment here, and best of all, I found my passion for hang gliding.
Now, three years of flying later I have accepted an irresistible opportunity to fly hang gliders in Massachusetts—and get paid—made possible by the generosity of a friend who secured additional work for me to actually earn a decent living. Might I actually live the hang glider pilot’s dream and balance work and play?
It’s been quite hectic the last few months as I prepared and planned, and waffled back and forth on this decision. It goes against modern western culture’s norms to quit a job to go do fringe activities—more so to drive across the country to do them. Encouraging my decision were my lovely hang gliding friends—ahem ahem peer pressure—but also the chance to visit and spend time with my parents, and the opportunity to work with the knowledgeable Rhett Radford to learn the ropes of the flight park business.
Last month I made a near overnight trip to Quest Air in Groveland, Florida to earn my tandem rating. Not only did I have a blast (how could you not at Quest?), but I also did in fact receive my tandem rating, had great flights, and hung out with the motley crew. You can watch a quickly edited video of my experience.
Look for me at Hang Glide New England in New Braintree, MA. I will be flying there from May through October.
The Adventure Begins
So here it is. Two days before I set out toward a new era in my life, for new unknowns, fresh adventures, and with the mission of experiencing more of the amazingness of life. Oh how difficult it was at first to even consider leaving behind a stable job with a consistent income, benefits, and a habitual life. But oh how incredible the opportunities will be. I’ll be visiting friends in the Bay Area, finally checking out Point of the Mountain in Utah, possibly flying the gorgeous Slide Mountain near Reno, making my way to Lookout Mountain Georgia, and hopefully getting the chance to experience some sites in Virginia, my home state.
And it seems I’m not alone. Wolfi and Jonas are taking off on another U.S. continental trip with a full toolbox of cameras and adventures planned. Hopefully they can drum up new support, greater appreciation, attract new pilots, and perhaps even quell some misconceptions of hang gliding. Their project is called The Rhythm of Flight and you can help support them by donating on Indiegogo. As a plus, they will drive a biofuel and solar powered camper!
The Flying Gypsies are “a handful of…young energetic Hang glider pilots aiming to revamp the sport of flying, ” proving that the sport is “not just for old folks anymore.” They are primarily east coast pilots who hope to similarly criss-cross the country chasing “the freedom of flight.” Support them as well if you can.
OneSkyProject starts their journey in South Africa to share their “dream of flight.” It’s not exactly clear what their goals are, but the more of us there are carrying our passions around the world, the better the future of our sport will be.
Join us in our quest to share our passions, soar the skies, explore the beauty of the world, and perpetuate the awe inspiring nature of our sport. Whether you support us by following our blogs, donating funds, liking our posts on social media, or reposting our videos and photos, everything helps. We’re all united by a common love.
And I can’t wait to fly with many new folks in New England!