Some weeks ago, I spent a week in the mountains in Austria.
As I've grown up living and breathing in a big city, mountains are quite foreign to me. I mean sure you hear stories about mountain climbers and their amazing escapades in the tallest mountains in the world, but I never really knew people who go hiking in the mountains just like that. Neither have I ever.
That week I did. And oh boy, my fear of heights has never been more obvious.
On narrow winding paths, I had troubles looking down to the beautiful landscape and little towns that nestled below me. In my head it was only: if I fall now I'm going to die.
But the nice thing about trekking in the mountains is it's you against yourself. I chose to divert my attention to the path where I was going to put a foot in front of the other. I stopped dead in my treks a few time to enjoy the view, but there was no way I was going to enjoy the view whilst descending.
Because we were there for a week we looked at other activities too. H really wanted to go paragliding.
I always wanted to do that too. But it's just a theory that I push to the back of my head. A little like skydiving, or riding a unicorn. Great ideas, but not gonna happen.
So we walked into the office and I said, well, I'd like to paraglide but I need you to convince me to.
And they did, so I signed up.
We had to take the cable car up to a plateau at 1900m. So I took the time to ask our tandem pilots a million questions: Has anyone backed out in the last minute? Has there been any accidents? Has anyone thrown up in midair? Hoe often do you do this? How does it feel? What should I expect? What do I need to do?
And we flew!
The scariest part of this whole experience is the part where you have to run off a plateau on a descend. Remember the part I described about not being able to watch while descending? It was a little like running off a cliff. Uhh…
But it was absolutely gorgeous. I don't think it cured my fear of heights but I can confidently say: what doesn't kill you makes you stronger!