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Tandem paragliding - why do we fly?

“For once you have tasted flight you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.” Leonardo da Vinci

I heard the above quote before I had flown a paraglider and at the time I thought little of it. Now, things have changed for me because I find myself doing the above almost every time I see a fluffy white cloud pass overhead. Flying changed my life for the better (maybe my girlfriend Isy will not entirely agree with me on this statement!) and I now not only see the fluffy white cloud on the summers day. I see and dream of the thermal feeding that fluffy white cloud and think quietly to myself how I could be in it climbing up to cloud base.

I remember my first tandem paragliding experience whilst working for a travel company in Turkey. I flew from Babadag mountain down to a beach at Oludeniz and I knew immediately that paragliding would change my life forever. Within six months I had quit my job and had signed up for my my first paragliding course. 12 years on I have been lucky enough to have flown in most of the continents around the world and have met some of the most wonderful and sometimes maddest people on the planet. Paragliding is one of those sports that you can either dip your toes in every now and again or fall 100% into it and I was and am the latter of the two options.

People often ask me to describe the feeling I get whilst flying high in the sky, floating around a mile above the ground, touching the clouds. I try to explain what the feeling is for me and why it is such an obsession but I find it hard to put it into words. I often end up telling them that the best thing to do is try it, come on a tandem flight and see for yourself. How can you put into words the view in the picture below?

I often find myself flying high above the beautiful Sussex landscape and I have to remind myself that that I am not in an elaborate dream and that it is real. The best things about flying is that every flight is different, you are constantly learning, I get to share it with friends, and the big empty skies become our personal playgrounds to explore. There is nothing like climbing to cloud base and flying off on glide whilst being able to chat to a friend as we drift downwind in search of the next thermal.

Flying tandem and sharing the experience of flight is my way of giving back something that I get from the sport of paragliding. Being able to fly members of the public who have never flown before and giving them a fantastic experience is amazing. I can’t explain the beauty of flying and how wonderful the experience is for me but I can see it the smiles of the people who fly with me.

I could talk forever about paragliding (my girlfriend will agree) but the above is a brief description as to why I fly. It is also an invitation to come fly with us and maybe take the first steps into your own obsession with flight!