So here’s my first attempt at a travel blog. It really isn’t that much of a blog, but really more of an outlet for me to reflect upon my feelings and the new experiences I’ve earned.
Saturday morning, I left home with a backpack, in it were stuff for two entirely different events — volleyball and paragliding. Yes, you read it right. Paragliding.
It all started with an incredibly long and uncomfortable bus ride to Kuala Lumpur (KL). In order to understand this better, you need to know that I spent the entire Saturday at Sentosa playing volleyball, so I was exhausted and incredibly cranky. The bus departed at 10 PM from Golden Mile Shopping Centre. I had prepared myself to sleep the entire journey to KL. It was a 5 hours trip and the bus was incredibly cold, even with a pullover (I was so glad I randomly reached for something warm before leaving the house, albeit it being the ex-boyfriend’s pullover), I was freezing my ass off.
5 hours and a couple of naps later, we finally arrived in KL, right in front of Berjaya Times Square. It was 3 AM and nothing was open, we walked around and saw a food place with lights still turned on. Naturally, we decided to go spend time there until it was morning — well, normal, human being morning.
Unlike Singapore, KL or rather, Malaysia is less strict with its laws. For example, while we were trying to make our way across the road, we stumbled upon people sleeping on a bridge. In Singapore, you will rarely find anything like that. It is not just bridges, there were people sleeping everywhere. The most disturbing one was a man jerking himself off to sleep on the streets of KL.
By now, all the excitement of the thought of paragliding for the first time was drowned by how exhausted we were. It was a pretty long walk from Berjaya Times Square to Chinatown. 5 AM; we finally decided to get a room and get whatever sleep we could before having to meet the paraglider who was going to take us flying. Eclipse Guest House was where the meeting point was and at 5 AM, there was only one room left and we took it after much debate with the staff.
It was a twin room and there were 3 of us. According to their policy, 3 people are not allowed in a twin room. We finally settled on getting the last room, and instead of the twin room rate, we paid for the 3 persons room rate; it was only RM109 anyway. We settled in, set multiple alarms and gradually drifted to sleep.
The morning after, we got up and went to hunt for breakfast. Sunday morning, the street was bustling, there were people and vehicles all over the place. Breakfast was not that great, considering that we were in Chinatown — where one would normally find delicious food easily. We didn’t have much time.
The journey from where we were to the paragliding site was a long one. About an hour and many highway tolls later, we arrived at the flying site. It was about 400 feet above sea level and this was what greeted us when we got out of the car.
By this time, all 3 of us were stoked. It finally sank in, we were going to paraglide. For real. At that point, I was super flustered. I was scared, but at the same time very excited. I was feeling all sorts of emotions. Happy because I’m finally able to strike this off my never-ending bucket list. Excited because I’m finally doing it. Scared because I have never flown before, not like this.
First up was Yong Wen and this is him, preparing to fly.
And this is him, taking off.
While he was in the sky, we were dying of envy, waiting our turn. Bukit Jugra was slowly filling up with paragliders and spectators, one by one, each of the paragliders set up their wings, and took off into the distance. Soaring freely above the hill like eagles.
It was amazing to see these people fly. They have so much passion for paragliding, you can see the spark in their eyes when you talk to them about flying. There were so many different kinds of people, the French guy took off and didn’t land until about an hour later. The Japanese guy flew and landed, and then repeated it again and again. The Indian guy was flying solo for the first time after learning from his instructor, you can almost see his nerves and we were all excited and happy for him.
It feels great to be around people with passion. You will know what I am talking about if you have been around people with strong passion for what they do. It doesn’t just feel great, it inspires, it motivates, and it encourages and it feels good.
It was my turn to fly. I was stoked, as they helped me with my harness, I was feeling asdfasdfasdf. When the time finally came for me to take off, I ran as fast as I could, but when I reached the end of the “runway” I could feel my entire being freeze up. The pilot had Yong Wen pulling me hard, just in case I froze up and stopped halfway, but he jerked on me too fast and we stumbled. Yong Wen looked like he was going to fall off the hill, and coupled with my entire being freezing up, we failed to take off.
Thankfully, we didn’t fall into the bushes, and none of us were hurt. We then tried again, and this time… I took the leap of faith.
It was astounding. Flying is astounding. It is like nothing I have ever experienced. I would attempt to describe it, but I will not be doing it any justice. This is one of those intangible things that you have to experience yourself in order to know completely how it feels like. First, I felt relived to be in the air after the first failed attempt to take off. Simultaneously, I felt incredible because I’m flying, albeit it being tandem paragliding.
If you know a little about paragliding, or how the air current works, you would know that thermal uplifts will allow the wings to go higher into the sky. It is also because of these thermal uplifts, that I experienced sudden spurs of exhilaration. Every time we caught an uplift, I felt an adrenaline rush through my body. Other times, when we were gliding through the air, it was relaxing. The view from up above was amazing. The fear of something going wrong kept the adrenaline in my body pumping. The entire experience was stupefying.
The hardest part of paragliding was taking the leap. Once you have mustered enough courage to take the leap, amazing things will follow. I have always believed in this saying, and it applies for everything in life. A leap of faith. Or some might call it 20 seconds of insane courage.
And this being Malaysia, halfway through the day, a herd of cows randomly appeared on the landing site.
These cows grazed the pasture, without much cares about the flying people in the sky. This is probably a norm for these cows, paragliders come to Bukit Jugra to paraglide every weekend.
Having said that, I’l leave you with the amazing friends who flew with me and an incredibly apt and extremely unforgettable quote from Leonardo Da Vinci:
“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”
Til the next trip abroad, xx.