Going paragliding for the first time? No worries! Persis from Tomboy Tarts has got you covered with some of her first-hand experiences when she got her ass kicked recently on a paragliding adventure in Pokhara, Nepal. Ready? Buckle up people and let’s go!
First things first! If you’re a wuss – scratch paragliding off your adventure to-do list in Nepal or anywhere paragliding is offered because it’s not for the faint hearted.
However, if you’re a wuss who hates looking like a wuss in front of everybody else, like me, then add tandem paragliding back to the list. Like I did in Pokhara, Nepal one of 5 locations in the world perfect for tandem paragliding.
As I was running off the hill with my paragliding instructor, my ultimate ‘wuss-ness’ emerged yet again. I tried to scream but I choked. Instead I was screaming in my head “Fuck Persis! Run back! Shit! No! Fuck! God no! I’m going to die! Hell! Fuck! I haven’t seen the Gotham finale yet! Geez! God! Where’s The Flash?! Batman?! Noooooooooooooo! Mummeeeeeee!”
Before I knew it. I was actually in the air. I was told not to look down in case my guts decided to do a number on me but surprisingly, they didn’t. This must be from all the training (and beating) they took on turbulent as tornado flights on business trips to Manila.
‘Oooooh, wheee! I’m like a bird in the sky!’ I thought to myself. ‘Cept I don’t have flappy wings and I was in a chair as opposed to poor Icarus who flew too close to the sun and got his waxy wings melted to a blob.
After about a minute, I began to think this paragliding thing wasn’t that bad after all. The winds at Sarangkot, a nearby hill which is a 30 minutes drive from the lake-town of Pokhara, were holding steady as we flew over the surrounding forests and Fewa Lake. See the action-packed video at the start of this article of our experience.
While the video looks thrilling and exciting, do note that paragliding isn’t for everyone especially if you have a serious physical conditions like heart problems and such. Consult a medical doctor before trying out paragliding or any extreme sport.
If you’re clear of health problems, then here are some exclusive ‘home-brewed’ tips we found that worked really well for paragliding wussies like us.
#1 CLOSE YOUR EYES BEFORE YOU LEAP
As mentioned earlier, this could be the most nerve-wracking part of the paragliding experience, especially if you hate heights and don’t envision running off a hill or cliff into a situation where there’s nothing concrete under your feet. Worst case scenario, close your eyes and hope that your paragliding pilot gets you off to a good start, which is what I did.
#2 DON’T SCREAM – JUST BREATHE
Actually, for most first-time paragliders, nerves seem to choke our systems and more than likely, you’ll hear very little screaming during take off. If you need to, scream in your head and hope you don’t get a stroke. 🙂 Besides, your paragliding pilot knows what they’re doing so just ditch the screaming for calm breathing.
#3 TALK – TALK A LOT!
That’s basically what I found myself doing with my paragliding pilot, Delay Milan from the Fly Nirvana Paragliding Adventure company. With the GoPro in his hand shooting photos and video, I took this opportunity to calm my nerves by gabbing incessantly. This was a good thing because I got some good video upsounds which I spliced into my paragliding adventure video. So do that. Talk, talk, talk. All that talking and commenting to your pilot will help make your first paragliding experience smoother and more pleasant.
#4 DON’T ATTEMPT ANY ACROBATICS YOUR FIRST TIME OUT
A girl who was also taking her first paragliding adventure trip with me that day got a little ambitious by attempting a simple acrobatic. Unfortunately, she fell sick and looked pretty ill by the time she landed. If you’re trying out paragliding for the first time in Pokhara Nepal, just say no to acrobatics. Save that for your next glide when you’re more comfortable with the activity.
#5 JUST HAVE FUN!
Even though the situation scares the living daylights out of you, if you’ve signed up for the adventure, there’s nothing else to do but say ‘To hell with it!’ and have fun. Glorious amounts of fun. My own experience has taught me that paragliding in Pokhara, Nepal is a fun little adventure and I’m ready to have another go at it. That feeling of just flying in the air is not only liberating, it’s thrilling and much needed breath of fresh air. So if you get a chance and don’t feel faint at the thought of it, I recommend trying it at least once in your life.