A couple of days back, I was grumbling about how we’d not gone on road trip after moving to Sydney. The husband looked at me with a raised eyebrow. Of course, I was in charge of planning our weekend activities – a role I volunteered for. But as much as we’d covered the city, we haven’t stepped outside Sydney. We had planned a trip for our Easter holidays but that wasn’t until the end of the month. I wanted to go somewhere, anywhere. The problem with me, sometimes, is that when I want something, I want it done then and there. Anyway, so last Monday while I was having my coffee at work, I messaged Krishna saying we had to go somewhere. He responded saying ‘Ok, let’s do this.’
I couldn’t wait for the weekend already! 🙂
A few google searches later, we decided to drive to Wollongong. The high possibility of paragliding convinced me that this was the best choice. Paragliding required optimum weather conditions, so I didn’t get my spirits high. We planned to cover the Sea Cliff Bridge (Along the Grand Pacific Drive), Bald Hill Lookout (Stanwell Top) and Wattamolla Beach along the Royal National Park.
I have one word to describe the trip – AMAZING! The view from the Sea Cliff Bridge and the Bald Hill Lookout were breathtaking. Wattamolla beach was beautiful in its own way through its shades of blue. Driving through the Royal National Park at the beginning of fall was a sight to behold. The perfect wind conditions encouraged paragliders to put get into action. And my heart soared to see them happily gliding away. So, we were at this lookout area in the Bald Hill- overlooking the Stanwell Lagoon and the coast. The paragliders were taking off from the edge of the cliff. One second they would be standing, the next second they would break into a run and then they were up in the air. It all happened in an instant.
Everyone seemed to be on their own. So when someone walked over towards me and asked me if I wanted to fly, I told him I would love to, but that I didn’t know how to. He asked me not to worry and that we could fly in tandem. He was definitely a Godsend! I remember saying I wanted to fly. I vaguely remember gearing up for the flight. I was focusing on not to think. Not to overthink. And then I remember my instructor asking me to run towards the edge of the cliff when we were ready. He added, ‘Don’t stop running even if you reach the edge of the cliff and you haven’t taken off’.
I was like, what? What if I fell down? I knew science would laugh at me for thinking I would fall down from a cliff when I was strapped to a parachute. But hey, when you’re 300 feet from the ground – your trust in science keeps wavering. I’d rather put my faith in prayers at that point. Anyway, after all the pre-checks (and me saying ‘Bye Krishna. See you in 30 minutes!’. The instructor laughed and said, ‘You aren’t going to live in another country, you’re just going to fly!’). He asked me to run. I took the first step, breathed in, and then started running. I was dangerously close to the edge of the cliff, but kept running and we were off! Phew 🙂
It took a minute to realize that I was now in the air. I was flying. It felt wonderful. And the view – Oh my god, it was the most amazing view I’ve ever seen. I could feel the wind and my legs and my breath. We went above the roads, the trees and then we were over the waters. Dark blue, light blue, sea green and white. I could see the beaches lined up along the coast. It was so surreal, I was actually flying. Not having to worry about the technicalities was a huge advantage. I’d outsourced the job of keeping me alive to someone else. So I was good to enjoy the view of the waters, hills and wrote imaginary poems in the clouds, 750 feet above the sea level. My instructor kept enquiring if I was fine. I was more than fine. I was literally on cloud nine.
Just before we could descend, my instructor asked me if I was up for some ‘real-flying’. I wanted to make the best of my time there and said yes. For the next five minutes, I felt like a bird – we were zig zagging our way with rapid turns. That was the highlight of the flight. I almost thought I was going to fall (again!) and held on to my gear for life. When my instructor said it was time to descend, I couldn’t believe it. I checked my watch and yes, my 30 minutes were up. Times flies when you’re in the air, I tell you!
We got back and made a near-perfect landing as per my instructor. I couldn’t believe I was up in the air for 30 minutes. It was thrilling. It felt fantastic.
Later, while we were driving back home, I wondered how I trusted someone so easily. Of everything that could go wrong – how had I remained so optimistic? I’d like to believe I’m a rational thinker and make a list of pros and cons before embarking upon an activity. For someone who never easily trusts others, trusting someone else with my life for 30 minutes is a big deal! I figured that there are some things in life for which you should go with the flow. I knew I’d regret not going up, all the way back home and probably all my life.
When we got back home, the husband was pleased. He probably assumed I wouldn’t bother him for a while as we’d just returned from a pretty amazing trip. So when he asked what was next, I casually replied,
The thirst for adventure continues!