When I was a child, I could fly. All I had to do was to start running. After a couple of steps I could feel a force coming out of nowhere, lifting me up. I was flying! I knew I could go anywhere, if I just managed to keep dreaming. Unfortunately, this was quite difficult. Being so excited by the experience.
Awake again, this excitement was usually dimmed by an appropriate dose of reality that prevented me from jumping off the roof to practice my flying skills. I knew I could fly. I just did not how and forgot about it. Until I heard about paragliding. With a few decades delay, I found that invisible force in May 2000, together with that wondrous feeling of going cross-country. When I did my first vol bivouac three years later, I realised that I had found something that I only could have dreamed of.
Before paragliding took a considerable claim on my time, I travelled around the world. During those travels it struck me that mountain people seemed to share a culture, despite the evidently large cultural differences between the countries they lived in. The Hmong in the north of Viet Nam had more in common with the Mam people of Todos Santos in the west of Guatemala, living 15.000 km to the east, than with the people living on the plains just 150 km away.
The mountains made them humble. Being close to nature, they understood that their place here on earth was given by nature, rather than that they had taken it. That mother nature could sweep them away any moment if she wanted to. Just as easily as she was giving them life.
I have spent quite some time in the mountains, especially for someone born in Flatland. I guess I found my home in the mountains, no matter where they are. Currently that is in the French Alps, in particular the region around Saint-André-les-Alpes. It is a big home, large enough to share with other people.
I want to share it with you. Share the beauty of flying, of being in nature. Can you hear the birds? Can you feel the wind? Can you still dream like a child? If you can, then welcome in my home. You can leave the door open, there is no need to close it. Your home is all around you.
You have one life here and now on earth. Live it!