Date: June 18-24, 2017
"My mom taught me to measure success by the experiences you have and how you influence people. I have learned so much in the past year and I know I have to keep following my dreams and continue to fly. I want to carry on my mothers legacy and influence people in the most positive way I can."
I am a software engineer who has lived in NC for about 10 years. I have a lot of outdoor hobbies and passions such as paragliding, rock climbing, bouldering, hiking, and all around adventuring. I have lived on my own since 16 and my long term goal is to travel, fly, and climb as much a possible. I want to inspire youth and culture around the world to follow their dreams, influence people and go against the norms of society.
The past 4 months have been a little challenging for me in regards to following my dreams and pursuing what I love to do. I actually got involved in the sport of paragliding from my mother who had been flying for 10+ years. My mother loved the sport and adventure in general that she quit her job as a principal and became a full time paragliding instructor. Last year was one of the best years I had with her as we traveled around California, Oregon and even Colombia to fly our paragliders, hike, camp and adventure as much as we could. I used up pretty much all of my vacation from work to learn from her and watch her inspire the communities that we visited. Unfortunately around Thanksgiving of last year my mother passed away in a paragliding accident. It was really tough to deal with and it has been a little bit of a struggle getting back into flying without her. Fortunately my mother influenced so many people in the paragliding community, around the US and even in other countries that I have been getting a lot of support and guidance getting back into flying. In February I flew again for the first time since my moms accident as I took a trip to Colombia to fly in one of the best Paragliding towns in the World, Roldanillo. It was a surreal experience, but it made me remember all the experiences I had with my mother and reminded me to not be afraid to follow my dreams. I have never competed in a paragliding competition before, but my mom wanted me to compete in my first one this year. Last year we went to the competition together to camp, fly and interact with the competitors. My mom was even a mentor for a couple of the new competitors. Since this competition is designed for intermediate paragliders like myself I really want compete and continue to do what I love. To get a little insight into our bond I can share a video that we made together last year. This video documents our journey around Northern California and Oregon, finally arriving at Woodrat Mountain for the Rat Race competition.
It Takes a Village
I really want to show people that it is okay to chase your dreams even when you are presented with major obstacles. I think society today tries to teach us false forms of happiness. Most people would measure their success with how much money they have, how many material things they own, etc. My mom taught me to measure success by the experiences you have and how you influence people. I have learned so much in the past year and I know I have to keep following my dreams and continue to fly. I want to carry on my mothers legacy and influence people in the most positive way I can. I think showing people that I can compete in my first competition even with all that has happened can inspire a lot of people. Sometimes things get tough, but I want to show people to never give up.
#liveforaliving in motion
If money wasn't an object, what would I change?
So this is a question I have been thinking a lot about lately in my life. I work as a software engineer, but a lot of times I wonder why I sit behind a desk everyday instead of pursuing my real life goals of adventure. The real answer to that question is money. Without money I wouldn't be able to travel, adventure, and experience. If money was not an object I believe I would work for an adventure hospitality company. I love interacting with people all across the world and I think working in the adventure industry would be super fulfilling. I could travel with clients to different locations to experience these adventures (paragliding, hiking, kayaking, snowboarding, climbing, etc). I would also want to be strongly involved in the communities of the places that I visited. I think a lot of countries that we visit as tourists could use our help to teach and inspire the communities there. I also want to show people how luckily we have it and how we can learn from other cultures. It is amazing when I was visiting Colombia that a lot of these kids had absolutely nothing, yet they were so genuine and full of happiness. These kids again taught me not to measure success by material things and I think more people could learn from them. A quote my mom always said was "Adventure is worthwhile in itself" and I think that is how I actually want to live my life. If money wasn't an object I would want to inspire others to do the same as well.
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