I guess I’ve always had a fear of heights. I couldn’t even get close to a balcony edge that my feet got instantly shaky, and I was thinking that I am going to fall and hurt myself. This year I decided to confront all of that and go paragliding in Romania, my home country.
The preparation and research phase
However, I am not the kind of person who will jump into risky activities with my eyes closed and hoping that I will survive. So I had to prepare first, to make sure I will enjoy the experience to the fullest. I did some research first, asking for recommendations from friends and searching online for picturesque places in Romania where this sport can be practiced.
What I found to be the most attractive choice was the Clopotiva village in the Retezat National Park, Transylvania. I knew the area, and the views are amazing there. Besides that, Clopotiva is currently one of the most popular destinations for paragliding in Romania. I was about to discover a whole community of friendly people there.
Context. When to do it, and how?
The most appropriate moment seemed to be my 37th birthday anniversary. To celebrate, I wanted to share this special moment and experience it with two of my best friends.
It was so funny because this was a new experience for them too. So we shared the same feelings related to this: excitement, curiosity, but also fear and some dose of craziness. Anyway, we decided to spend a weekend in “Tara Hategului” (“The land of Hateg” is the name of this geographic region). So, we made reservations and hit the road.?
Some thoughts before takeoff
Our journey was straight from Bucharest to the takeoff place! Even if initially we thought we would fly the next day, the meteorological conditions were not very promising, and we could have missed the opportunity. So we had to adapt. The spontaneity of the situation was somehow helpful to us. We just went there and took off, not having too much time to overthink, analyze, or panic.?
We went by car on a forest road until we reached the takeoff place, at 1200 m altitude. On our way up, music was loud, and we were laughing and making jokes. That was until we saw a paraglider just above our heads and the tall trees and suddenly everybody was so quiet. The tension was there. The landscape was more and more stunning, but we realized at the same time that the altitude was increasing, and we were approaching the takeoff place. ?
How is it to fly?
Just amazing! Once I was up in the air, things changed completely. It was the feeling of absolute freedom that was running through my veins, of aliveness; the fear was gone. All of a sudden, I was in direct contact with nature, I felt the summer wind in my face, and everything underneath seemed so small. The beautiful views took my breath away, and I was so happy at that moment that I didn’t need anything else. This is how it looked like:
Three things I learned from this experience:
- It matters to engage in an activity that you are not comfortable with when you feel ready! This way, you will enjoy it to the fullest. It probably doesn’t work for everyone. But for me, it helped to create an unforgettable experience that now I am ready to repeat.
- Most likely, what you imagine about a thing that scares you is not what you will experience in reality. That is if you consider the first point. As you allow yourself to experience more activities outside of your comfort zone, it will expand. My fear of heights is not yet completely gone, but it’s decreased a lot in intensity.
- It is easier to do something that you feel is difficult with baby steps. First I thought about it, read about it, watch some videos. Then I go to see how it is at the takeoff place and just sit there, then to put it into practice together with my friends. Sharing this experience with my close friends made it a lot easier and fun!
ProAdrenaline Paragliding Center – professional services and friendly community
The guys from ProAdrenaline Paragliding Center were the professionals who helped us enjoy this incredible experience to the maximum! When you are doing paragliding for the first time, as we did, the instructors or pilots you are flying with must have the necessary experience to make sure you are safe during this activity, but you also enjoy it. So in our case, choosing the services of this Paragliding Center, having over eight years of experience in this field, was the right decision!
I appreciated the excellent communication I had with the instructors. For me, taking this flight was a challenge. Being able to discuss openly with Dan and share with him that I was not ready for adrenaline shots was important. He made sure I am ok during the whole flight. Just to tell you a secret, probably on my next one, I will be comfortable enough to enjoy those nasty moves in the air! ?
This is also a Paragliding School, where enthusiasts can come and learn how to fly. If you like this sport, you can book classes and learn how to do it on your own. So, I found a beautiful community of adventurous people to the landing point, after the flight. We started chatting, having a few beers, and, by the end of the weekend, I already knew that I would like to repeat the experience and keep in contact with these beautiful people.
I want to say a big “Thank you!” to Dan and Ervin, the flying instructors who made our little adventure so fun and beautiful. I recommend you contact them if you wish to try the paragliding experience here in Clopotiva.
The flying season for paragliding in Romania starts from March and ends somewhere in November, depending on the weather conditions. There are also other types of activities you can try in the area: zipline, canyoning, rafting or trekking.
Are you curious about the paragliding experience? Have you tried it so far? Don’t be shy, share your experience 🙂