Sorry for the delay in my final #GoToReunion blog post. I can’t believe my Reunion Island trip was two months ago. (Where has the time gone?!)
I was delayed because it took me a while to figure out how to cobble together my shaky video footage from our Reunion paragliding adventure. Well, actually I never did figure it out. My lovely and talented friend Fiver came to the rescue and figured it out for me.
Before I show you the video, a few words about paragliding. I had never been paragliding before and didn’t really know what it was about. Perhaps there was a time when doing something like this would have made me nervous. But over the last couple of years I’ve bungeed off bridges and swung from stadiums and done all kinds of ridiculous things. I’m pretty much up for anything these days.
Basically, paragliding is attaching yourself to a sail-like parachute, running off the edge of a big hill, swooping around in the air for a while, then landing. Paragliding solo obviously requires a lot of training, but pretty much anyone can paraglide in tandem with an instructor with no training whatsoever. That is what I did.
Apparently Reunion Island is a particularly good place for paragliding because the climate and the wind patterns allow for it all year round. Also because Reunion Island is incredibly beautiful. But if you’ve read my other Reunion posts then you already know that.
Here are a few pictures.
Natalie prepares for takeoff.
The shadow of me and my instructor, Jean, just after we went airborne. I had to run a few steps before we took off, but hardly at all. I was strapped in quite comfortably in a sitting position in front of Jean, and he did all the steering. It was easy for me to hold my camera.
The whole experience lasted for about 30 minutes and I loved all of it, save for the last five minutes or so when I started to feel nauseous. If you’re prone to airsickness, I recommend taking an over-the-counter remedy like Sturgeron the night before paragliding. My landing was a bit clumsy, as you’ll see in the video, but not at all painful.
The airsickness and embarrassing landing were totally worth it. This is the closest to flying (as in actual flying, like a bird) that I’ve ever experienced. No motor, no walls or windows, and no terror. Just cool, rushing air and a beautiful view.
If you suffer from vertigo or a serious fear of heights, please don’t paraglide. My friend Dee decided to try it despite suffering these afflictions, and I think she wished afterward that she had just stayed on the ground. Read Dee’s funny post, which features my pre-paraglide interview with her.
And now for my video, courtesy of Fiver. The video includes my shaky paragliding footage and a few other highlights from the trip. Enjoy.
We paraglided with Parapente Reunion. Here’s the website. (Sorry, it’s in French.)
I hope you’ve enjoyed my Reunion Island blog post series. I’ve received a few questions about visiting Reunion over the last few weeks, so just to recap:
1) Reunion Island is a French “department”, meaning that it’s part of France. Reunion’s currency is the euro and the main language is French.
2) South Africans, Americans, and Europeans do not need a visa to visit Reunion.
3) Reunion is a four-hour flight from Johannesburg.
Go if you can. Reunion Island is one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been.