Paragliding in Turkey, My First Jump – Let's Be Outdoorsy

Paragliding in Turkey, My First Jump

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”

– Jack Canfield

Daisy Tanwani BegThe biggest chicken of the country got out of her comfort zone and jumped off a rainy cliff to take the most spirited ride of a lifetime! Daisy Tanwani, a marketer by profession; art collector and traveller by passion, recently conquered her most deep rooted fear only to discover the fantastic outdoors. She shares her story.

I have once stalked a pilot to understand how do they make up for on ground delay in air – I am totally against speed driving on roads; in air it just seemed too irresponsible.

I have flight phobia. The mere thought of defying the law of gravity gives me jitters. But, as life would have it – travel is an occupational necessity and a personal passion. My friends and family have witnessed several of my belly tickling (for them!) antics & hyperbole even at the slightest turbulence. At one point, I was convinced that my death will arrive during one of the landings or take offs on a flight.

After years of reading and reasoning, I have learnt to live with this anxiety. But, as a person, I love to thrive and not just live. Hence, there has always been a void, an acute sense of shortcoming, most importantly, a grouse of missing out.

Places My Wanderlust Takes Me

I get restless if I don’t travel to new places often. Keen interest in understanding cultures combined with a passion for collecting local art shapes my travel style.  I am passionate about road trips because it allows soaking in the native culture. Luckily, Mashhood, my husband, finds it equally entertaining, hence, we spend most our time driving through smaller towns, villages and the country side on our road trips. That said, we like things to be comfortable and organized. And, I in particular place great emphasis on safety, thus, most experiences that doubt safety even remotely, I stay away.

Stepping Out Of The Comfort Zone

Turkey skylineWe were on a road trip to Turkey – a two week leisure drive across the south west Turquoise coast.  On our way to Fethiye, a lovely destination for scuba and cave diving,  we made a refueling pit stop at Olundeniz.  Little did we know, this fairy-tale like town will be the most momentous of all places we visit. Breath-taking lagoon, Azure blue waters and a mesmerizing drizzle – a perfect day, I wish time could pause, just for a moment. In that still frame, what created a gif image were vibrant para-gliders in the sky.

Paragliding in OlundenizOlundeniz is one of the most spectacular paragliding spots in the world. Photo Credit: http://uzumlu-info.com/

To my surprise, Mashhood announced that we were going to paraglide, despite being well aware of my phobia. I dismissed the ‘not so bright’ idea. Turns out, it was not a playful banter but a challenge. Sense of inadequacy kicked in. And, the ego hurt. Sigh.

I tried negotiating hard with my fears, yet I couldn’t get myself to do it.  At that moment, something stronger came over – that terrible sulk of living and not thriving.  Well-timed, I was reminded of wisdom from a dear colleague, “Either you can, or you can’t”. This time around I chose I can.

Research and Safety First

We didn’t throw all caution to the wind – as first timers it was important to ensure safety. We found out about the safety record, accidents, no of flights, pilot licenses, experience, etc of various companies and finally decided on Reaction. They are expensive but good. There are plenty of operators to choose from in the season that lasts between April – October. Rates vary from TL 80/ INR 2000 to TL 160 / INR 4000 for a tandem paragliding jump. Tip:  Pause, think and question if the deal you are getting is too good to be true.

Glide From The Right Spot

Many operators short change tourists by having them glide from a lower altitude – means a shorter flight, meager experience. The ideal flight should be taken from Mount Babadag which is 1900 meters (approx. 6,000ft) in height.

Get To Know Your Pilot

Before signing up, I spent a great deal of time understanding the process and reading up people’s experiences – good and bad. As a first timer, I was nervous. I needed someone to ease me into it. But, I made a critical mistake. I did not ask to meet the pilot I was going to fly with. The pilot I flew with knew his job but seemed in a hurry and sometimes rude. This can dampen the poise one puts together after great effort. So, its important to get familiar with the pilot.

Don’t Give Up

As I was being driven up to Babadag, my nervousness was taking a toll. It was terrifying to see how high up I had come. Post a 30 minute heart thumping ride, when I finally reached the gliding spot, I gave up. I got teary eyed, shaky and even offered to pay double the money to be taken back by road.

Lead From The Front

When I signed up for the experience, I was comforted to know that as it is a tandem jump, a pilot accompanies. But, it didn’t register till very late that I will lead; I am the one who will plunge into thin air thousands of feet above sea level. It was scary; it heightened excitement and anxiety all at the same time. Similar to life, while gliding, leading from the front has perks and hazards. Perks often outweigh hazards I learnt shortly.

The Best Two Words

Daisy Tandem Paragliding in TurkeyI can. Standing at the edge, ready to jump, it seemed the worst decision of my life. Then, in a split second, I knew I will cringe for the rest of my life at being a runaway if I don’t do this now. So, I closed my eyes, said my goodbyes and dived. Seconds later, the most captivating sight embraced me; at that moment I soared high, literally and figuratively.  Most describe paragliding as a calming experience. Au contraire, mine was a vibrant crescendo of emotions. I was liberated and had a stronger conviction than ever, ‘I can’ is always the best choice to make.  Fear starts to lose it’s meaning then.

Not to say aerial sports have become my new found passion. But, I am a braver, happier and gratified person – a version 2.0. Operas, orchestras, plays, sky shows, spas, musicals – I have experienced the allure of the indoors across the world, but nothing beats an adventure in the outdoors. Electrifying!

I hear Sky Diving in Florida is fabulous. Just 18000 Ft. Next in line.


Wasn’t that a superb account of getting outdoors, overcoming a personal challenge? Even though we half felt we were in the middle of a corporate training session just before defining Q2 KRAs; Daisy shares a personal story of facing a fear and experiencing the thrill of the outdoors. Do you have a story of your adventures you want to share here?  We cant wait to hear yours. Post a comment here or get it published by writing in at letsbeoutdoorsy@gmail.com

2 thoughts on “Paragliding in Turkey, My First Jump

  • October 25, 2015 at 8:24 am
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    Well done you!!!!
    I went to olu deniz 15 yrs. Ago saw the gliders & thought I have to do this on the last day I braved it & fell in love with it so much that when I returned to london the first thing I done was to look in advertising for paragliding lessons which I found in sussex. I done my training bought a glider,harness,reserve&all equipment. In 6 months I was qualified. Returned to olu deniz the following year to do my first solo from babadag to SAY I was scared is an understatement but with help from the pilot Gunay, who I had tandem with previous year, I took off after clearing the mountain & stopping shaking I was in so much peace I lit a cgarette & floated to the beach I got so drunk that night I dont know how Igot to the hotel.I have been going back every year since at least once. 10 yrs ago I was diagnosed with chronic osteoporosis it didnt stop me nor will it.I have never had had an accident through flying though many broken bones on the ground falling etc. My friends say Im safer in the air than on the ground. I am so glad you overcame your fears & had the oppotunity to witness such beauty as olu deniz from the air. Remember fear is in the mind passion and strength are in the heart. May your god bless you.
    John

    Reply
  • October 26, 2015 at 3:36 pm
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    Hey John, what an inspiring story. Much bigger than mine. And, the last line, true every bit. All the best. May god bless you! 🙂

    Reply

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