30 December 2010

To Fly

The earliest chinese character that I remember learning is 'to fly'. I was sitting in a small classroom in Kuala Belait, Brunei, and I remember my teacher writing the character on the chalkboard and then gesturing to the class what the character meant. It is a vivid memory. I was five years old.

Fei

When I was nine my father noticed me staring out of the car window during a road trip in Malaysia and asked me what I was looking at. I replied, 'I am watching myself fly.' He was quiet for a moment then replied, 'Son.. It is important to know the difference between what is real and what is not. Some things are possible and some things are not.'

A program on TV that I saw when I was twelve showed a man jumping from the edge of a cliff holding a huge kite. That was my first glimpse of hanggliding.

It wasn't until I was twenty that I acted on my thoughts of flight. I was riding a motorcycle at 180 km/h along a lonely highway on an Autumn day in Vancouver when I was filled with the sensation of and desire to lift off my bike into the air.

After some research I tracked down the only hanggliding instructor in Vancouver, Barry Bateman, who was no longer actively instructing, and convinced him to teach me to fly.

Free flight has become a central theme in my life. When I think back to the beginning, it seems as if it was always in me, waiting to get out into the light.

29 December 2010

Interludes

Finally.. back home in Calgary.

Bighorn sheep in Banff [Canon EOS 7D + EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM]

Warm welcome in Vancouver

A few days in Honolulu eased the tension in my high stress life.


Statue in Honolulu

The Sun sets in Japan

Of course I didn't fly directly back to Canada.

Christmas tree in Singapore

I needed to deal with some business in Malaysia so I spent a few weeks in Kuala Lumpur before returning to Canada. From a rooftop nightclub at my birthday party I took a picture of the Petronas Twin Towers, which are well known to base jumpers.

The Petronas Twin Towers

Next I spent a few days in Los Angeles with my good friend, Kraig Coomber, of Moyes USA. My new hangglider sail had arrived, made with the new Code Zero cloth. Not all the carbon parts for the airframe had arrived so I will need to make another trip to LA in early 2011 to build my new glidezilla.

RS3.5 sail in Code Zero cloth

After all that racing I needed a little R&R.. rest and renewal. My first stop was Sao Paulo to take in some sun before facing the fast approaching northern winter.

Brazilian orchid

[VLOG] A Walk in the Garden II

Do we need a reason to fly?