Tell them I said something: The Travel Blog » http://tellthemisaidsomething.com Travel and life in a big digital ball Wed, 29 Oct 2014 17:11:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Yosemite in style http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/2014/10/29/yosemite-style/ http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/2014/10/29/yosemite-style/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 17:11:09 +0000 http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/?p=5879 I love the outdoors, which may come as a shock because most of you know how much I love all the things that happen indoors! I mean, what’s not to love? How could any modern human being not want to … Keep on reading

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I love the outdoors, which may come as a shock because most of you know how much I love all the things that happen indoors! I mean, what’s not to love? How could any modern human being not want to sit on a big comfy couch and be entertained by a magic box while gorging on freshly cooked anything and ice cold diet coke before tucking oneself into a nice warm bed safely hidden from bugs and wild animals by four strong walls?

Convenience man, it’s what we have been working towards throughout recorded history.

Reading the above you would be forgiven for wondering how I could also love the outdoors. Read on, there is more to this story…

On our way to San Francisco to meet up with our very generous friend Sam to live in her equally generous sisters house for a wee while, we were passing though Yosemite National Park, famous solely for its connection to an animated bear named Yogi and his somewhat less famous side kick Boo Boo, and not at all for its devastatingly beautiful scenery.

But the story starts a little before that, in a dirty smelly hovel of a motel surrounded by crackheads and irate cops.

You see, the earlier part of our tour into the US was marred by a somewhat unpleasant stay in the aforementioned hovel, but as is so often the case in life, even this unpleasant happening led to an amazingly fortuitous expansion of our travel plans, and even I would say, our lives. The morning after as we checked each other for accidental needle punctures and prayed that our car still had all four wheels, an idea struck our sleep deprived brains, “Lets get out in ‘The Nature.'” From this idea sprung a slurry of Google searches which almost by chance fell upon our saving grace, Glamping Hub.

Sarah had wanted to do a bit of camping in the US, and me loving the outdoors as I do was equally keen to do some hiking. What I was not keen to do, and believe after a night or two Sarah would feel the same way about, was sleep in the outdoors. I mean, I love hiking. Walking along mountain paths, breathing in fresh air, watching life go about its day while gently skirting its delicate surrounds – it’s like meditation for your body.

Yosemite yoga sarah somewhere

What I don’t like, is being dirty, sweaty or uncomfortable for long amounts of time. I like to do ‘The Nature’, and then go wash it off in a hot shower before tucking myself away in a comfy bed that sits at least two feet off the floor.

I like to be in nature, then leave it behind for the evening before coming back to it refreshed and craving its soothing yet somewhat icky embrace. For me this does not happen if I have to sleep in a tent surrounded by equally icky people. I need a comfy place to sleep, to shower, to make coffee in the morning, and a throne on which to read the newspaper, if you catch my drift.

Yosemite bath

Do you have my ducky?

Enter Glamping, and the fine folks at glampinghub.com. Aside from the occasional one liner in a movie or TV show, I had never really thought of Glamping much, in fact I just thought it meant having a really posh tent! As it turns out, there are glamping places all around the world and most of them offer my dream camping experience: walls, shower, toilet.

Yosemite Glamping

Try getting all this in a tent!

Our horrific night in the Crack Motel led us to want to experience the outdoors more, and my desire to not have to sleep outdoors led us to Glamping, which has led us to an awesome way to live during the times between house sits. So here we are, having completed our first bit of glamping in an amazing tree house in Yosemite National Park, and excited to have a whole new way to travel which doesn’t involve dingy motels or cramped tents, Hallelujah!

So now I can go for a wondrous eight mile hike with Sarah in some of the most beautiful “nature” in the world, and then I can come home and wash that nature right out of my hair before settling on the couch for a couple hours of Mike & Molly on the goggle box. What a delightful way to exist.

WHAT ABOUT THE HIKE AND THE NATURE?

Well the hike was incredible. After eating a lot (nothing new for me) in Las Vegas, I needed to average things out a bit and get some exercise. Enter an eight mile hike up and down three thousand feet of cliff side surrounded by insane vistas, squirrels, a woodpecker and a surprising amount of Australians.

Woodpecker Yosemite glampinghub

It’s hard to describe how scenic Yosemite national park is, so I made a load of videos which I will turn into one ridiculously amazing video (along with the five others waiting in line), but for now some still images will have to do. Please enjoy.

P.S. Rob of hungryescapades, we climbed way higher than you and therefore had approximately four times as much fun.

Hiking the trail Yosemite national park

We hiked to the top of those cliffs.

Glamping in Yosemite views

This view of Yosemite popped out of nowhere on our first day driving in the park.

Yosemite trees

If you get lost in the forest, follow the moss, or use a GPS.

Yosemite hiking glamping

“Sorry what Sarah? Look out for the WhAAAahhhhhhhhh!…”

Yosemite point trail hike

Where we had our celebratory pic-a-nic basket

Glamping in Yosemite

Sarah washing her Crystals in the stream.

Yosemite mountain hike

Yosemite Valley in all its glory

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Introducing the Grand Canyon http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/2014/10/13/introducing-grand-canyon/ http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/2014/10/13/introducing-grand-canyon/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 15:42:24 +0000 http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/?p=5827 Prepare yourself for a spectacular schmorgasboard of photographs, this is the Grand Canyon!! *but first a bit of background, enjoy… Here we are several days into our American Road Trip, and despite a rocky start by somehow spending a night in the … Keep on reading

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Prepare yourself for a spectacular schmorgasboard of photographs, this is the Grand Canyon!!

*but first a bit of background, enjoy…

Here we are several days into our American Road Trip, and despite a rocky start by somehow spending a night in the dodgiest part of Phoenix with crackheads and cops outside our motel room door (no doubt discussing Global Warming or the financial crisis, or prison), we are now well and truly into the spectacular side of this country I have longed to visit since I was knee high to a grasshopper.

We left Phoenix in the rear view mirror a bit disappointed to not have seen the good stuff I know is there, but also ready to move on from a particularly yuck night which had some unexpected benefits (more to come on this).

It didn’t take long for things to start looking up as about 5 minutes into our drive we were in a beautiful part of Phoenix which we had somehow skirted the day before while looking for a place to stay.

From the get go, the view became spectacular and stayed that way right through to our destination, Flagstaff Arizona!

We passed through the spectacular red rocks of Sedona on the scenic back route and knew that this was finally what we had been looking for. We had decided not to stay in Sedona because it was out of our price bracket and instead booked a few nights in Flagstaff at what has turned out to be an incredible gem of a find. A clean, comfortable motel room walking distance from the old town and close to my favorite things: food creation stations, otherwise known as restaurants!

Sedona Arizona

Scenic Sedona Drive

Scenic Sedona Drive

Sedona Diner

We have stayed here for 4 nights so far! With day trips around the area to beautiful parks and scenic drives. Today was lunch at Mormon Lake which is more of a lake bed than an actual lake, but is even more scenic because of it.

Mormon Lake Arizona

The Coup de Grace however is the ridiculously beautiful Grand Canyon, which somehow manages to live up to the hype heaped upon it by every one who has ever been there. One of the things which continues to slap me in the face with its wowness is seeing these things I have witnessed on TV shows and movies; in comic books and photos all my life. From simple diners to staying on the iconic Route 66 to this the most Grande of grandness, The Grand Canyon.

Feast your light suckers on these spectacular images from our drive along the southern rim and a brief ten minute walk down a trail, because why use your legs when you have wheels?! Well, one day I would like to do the rim to rim hike, but for now the drive was enough to keep me wanting more.

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On the road again http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/2014/10/03/road/ http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/2014/10/03/road/#comments Fri, 03 Oct 2014 15:53:27 +0000 http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/?p=5807 Here we are two days out from jumping back in the car and hitting the road again. It is a funny old life this one we lead. There is a strangeness to living in a place almost long enough to … Keep on reading

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Here we are two days out from jumping back in the car and hitting the road again. It is a funny old life this one we lead. There is a strangeness to living in a place almost long enough to call it home, and then packing your bags and leaving. Add pets to that eqaution and it almost feels like leaving home all over again.

This is not a bad thing of course, and the three months we have spent here in La Penita is not the longest we have stayed in one place (a year in Playa del Carmen will trump time in one place places for some time methinks), but for some reason leaving here really does feel like leaving home.

Maybe it is Chica and Matu the owners cats who we have come to love way more than they love us, or the incredible views and beach style living which makes it feel like we are leaving something behind. I’m not sure what it is, but I am almost as sad to say goodbye as I am ready to be travelling again. I say almost because despite my mysterious nostalgia, the itchy feet itch more these days than ever before, and three months in one place seems just about my maximum now.

La Penita cats La Penita cats

La Penita has been a blast, we have explored the area from a local point of view, especially by having the car to get around with, and we have spent equal amounts of time relaxing and working at the house and exploring at the numerous beaches dotted along this coastline. We have eaten local food and dined at “The Posh Place” on the hill overlooking La Penita and Guayabitos.

la penita vista restaurant

I also got to practice my flying more here than anywhere else and added a number of flights to my mental log book, not to mention getting to watch a sunset from seventeen hundred feet in the air, a personal first for me and a pretty epic moment all around.

paramotor la penita mexico

It has been fun living here in La Penita for these last three and a half months, but it has also had it’s challenges. One of the things you don’t really consider about house sitting, is that the reason people need their houses sat is because they are leaving them behind, most often to get away from bad weather. Although the weather here in La Penita has not been terrible, it has been hot during our time which is the off season for a reason, and I don’t do heat well. Fortunately the house is situated at the top of a hill so there is often a nice breeze blowing, and when there isn’t there is always the Air conditioning!

I am ready to leave the heat behind, and also the beaches and jungle for something a little different. We have pretty much spent the last 2 years in a perpetual summer while traveling with the occasional spurts of cold weather locations. I am ready for some proper cold, some inland scenery, a forest or two and perhaps a ton of snow to play in. I am ready for the great Northern winter in the US of A.

london cold

the last time I was cold, England 2013

In a couple days we will jump in the car and drive up to Arizona, we have a loose plan made great by the kind offers of friends to stay with them in between a few confirmed house sitting gigs (Thank you very much Sam, Bob & Wendy and Holly / Taunia / whoever takes us in). We will be doing a bit of camping in places I have been hearing about on the telly since childhood, places like Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. We will be staying with friends or in friends houses in places I am not even entirely sure exist outside of the goggle box like Las Vegas, San Francisco and the mountainous expanse that is Montana.

All of this over a a few months before heading off to the Colorado Rocky mountains for a season of snowboarding in the birthplace of snowboarding, and then, well and then who knows. So far we have found that loose planning tends to lead to the most interesting outcomes, it is just fortunate that loose planning is really all we are capable of.

The next few months are going to be a blast and something entirely new again. If things had of gone according to plan we would probably be in Central America right now effing and blinding at having to pay off another “official” not to get our stuff confiscated. Instead we are heading North to the land of amazing food, smooth roads, amazing landscapes and in a complete surprise to myself as to how I am looking forward to them, rules and regulations!

I say it all the time to Sarah, in fact we often have long conversations about it, but dude, I seriously love my life. Who gets to live like this, I mean, c’mon, this is awesome! Sure we have our down moments, and sure things often go wrong or we get worried about stuff, but that’s because we are human and humans are dumb. The truth is if God was handing out lives and asked which one I wanted, it would probably be this one, or maybe Damian from Vampire Diaries, or Batman…

So thank you very much La Penita de Jaltemba for being yet another incredible part of an incredible journey. We did not know you existed before stumbling upon your doorstep, but I am so glad we got to know you, laters.

la penita de jaltemba la penita de jaltembala penita de jaltemba

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Sunset Powered Paragliding flight in Mexico http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/2014/09/24/sunset-powered-paragliding-flight-mexico/ http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/2014/09/24/sunset-powered-paragliding-flight-mexico/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 21:43:09 +0000 http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/?p=5792 What is it like to watch a sunset over the ocean from seventeen hundred feet in the air while sitting on your own private swing? Watch the video to find out and then have a read about an amazing day. … Keep on reading

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What is it like to watch a sunset over the ocean from seventeen hundred feet in the air while sitting on your own private swing? Watch the video to find out and then have a read about an amazing day.

After two weeks without any Powered Paragliding because of storms here in La Penita, Mexico, I finally managed to get up again! We loaded the Blackhawk BH 125 Paramotor onto the tow rack of our car and drove down to the beach at around 6pm to start setting up for the evenings flight.

The weather couldn’t have been better. There was a nice steady 5 mph breeze blowing off the ocean and it was just late enough for the temperature to have dropped to bearable levels. We even managed to park in the shade of some Palm trees thanks to the low sun.

I took out the Paramotor and my Velocity Elektra Paraglider and in 10 minutes had everything laid out for the flight. At this point a local fella on his way home came to watch the proceedings, machete and 2 litre coca cola in hand! After explaining to him in English (he didn’t understand) about how I was going to be flying this machine, and him explaining to me in Spanish (which I barely understood) where he lived and that I should fly over his house, he stood quietly on the sidelines and watched events unfold with a curious “Yeah right” grin stretched across his face.

Paramotor launch Mexico

Another couple showed up while I was warming up the engine, and the guy told us how he works in Turtle rescue and was actually there to pick up a load of baby turtles to release that night. After a friendly chat they got out their phones and recorded the launch. Somehow the spectators actually made me more focused and after the paramotor engine warm up I was ready to go!

My launch was a perfect reverse with about 10 steps before leaping for the skies. I climbed quickly near the ground because of the wind, but up at about thirty feet I didn’t seem to be climbing much and realized I had left my trims out (which makes the wing faster but also makes it harder to gain height), which is also why my launch was so quick! I pulled in the trims which slowed down my speed and I began to climb (it is also the first time I adjusted my trims in flight, which changes the shape of the Paraglider and feels a bit scary).

The view was spectacular, watching the sky turn orange then red as the sun set over the ocean from seventeen hundred feet in the air is almost beyond words. It was definitely one of my most amazing Powered Paragliding flights to date.

Powered paraglider at sunset Powered paragliding beach

Later in the flight as it was getting dark the air got really bumpy, and the wind went from about 5mph on the ground, to about 20mph a hundred feet up. Then when I came in to land it suddenly dropped to nothing before changing direction at the last second so that I had to run like hell and wasn’t sure I could run it out at the speed I was going, but somehow I did and had a safe landing. The weather here in La Penita Mexico is very hard to judge and has only a passing resemblance to the weather down the road in Puerto Vallarta so I have to be extra careful, which is why I do not fly as much as I would like to.

Powered paragliding sunset

In about 15 minutes we had everything packed and strapped and ready to go, by this point we needed torches to find our way around but luckily I have my Paramotor packing system down pat and we were on our way home in no time, but not before stopping in with our new friends to look at the baby turtles!

Turtle sanctuary Mexico

This was an amazing Powered Paragliding flight made even better by the locals who stopped to watch me fly, and by the baby sea turtle Sarah got to hold (see the end of the video). Thanks for watching and let me know what you think in the comments.

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All kinds of crazy http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/2014/09/22/kinds-crazy/ http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/2014/09/22/kinds-crazy/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 15:54:19 +0000 http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/?p=5777 A lot of people think I am a little crazy for one reason or another, not crazy like I am going to chop you into little pieces and maybe have a taste crazy, just crazy like “He did whaaaaat now?” crazy. … Keep on reading

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A lot of people think I am a little crazy for one reason or another, not crazy like I am going to chop you into little pieces and maybe have a taste crazy, just crazy like “He did whaaaaat now?” crazy.

I don’t think myself crazy at all, which is what they say crazy people say, so I guess in a way I am proving the point with my complete denial of crazy. It is hard to be outwardly introspectvie without coming across as a neurotic ego maniac, but fortunately part of my suggested loopiness is not really caring what people think, so I am just gonna say what I want and we’ll see what comes from it.

Just to be clear from the start, I don’t mind if people think I am a bit crazy, and I don’t mind if people think I am completely normal, I have no preference either way as to how I am perceived by others as long as I am being true to myself (and not chopping people into little bits and eating them, which would be gross). I have no complex about my peculiarities and in fact do not think that any of them on their own are all that peculiar. I just think that maybe I have managed to amass an unusually large collection of said peculiarities and that most of the time I let them run free.

No wonder I come across a bit cray cray.

crazy looking

I had an unusual upbringing which allowed me a lot of time to be introspective, and an unusual young adult life which allowed me a lot of time to be introspective in the same way Timothy Leary was introspective in the sixties. I then somehow managed to take those years of peculiar introspection, get a girlfriend and work it all into a highly unorthodox way of living. One of the benefits to what the rest of this post is all about, is that despite a number of bad things happening in my past, I 100% do not care or hold any residual sadness from those days. I have totally and completely put the past where it belongs, in the past. Sure it played a part in shaping who I am today, but it does not define me. How could it? It no longer exists.

CRAZY AIN’T EASY

Anyone who new me a few to several years ago and before would have said something like “He is such a nice guy, but so quiet and a bit of a loner”, and they would have been exactly right. I was of course also crazy back then, but I was too shy to show it. It wasn’t until I stopped caring what people thought and stopped taking life so seriously that I managed to share my brand of crazy with everyone else.

I think at this point it is a good idea just to share a little theory I have with anyone reading this. We all be crazy, some of us just hide it more than others, and others deny it more than some. The only difference between me and most, aside from dashing good looks and an ability to charm small animals, is that I wear my crazy on my sleeve.

But it ain’t easy. A lot of the time I have to make myself act and think a certain way and shape my mind into what I want it to be, less so as I get older. With every breath I try to take in reality and breath out the fictions we create for ourselves.

The way some people seek enlightenment or happiness or contentment, I seek what comes across as crazy, because I believe it leads to all those things. Do I think I am crazy? No not at all. I think I just care less than most, or at least I am trying to.

That may not sound like a great thing on the surface, wanting to care less, but I don’t mean care less about life. I mean care less about what we think life is, care less about the things we can’t change, care less about what others think and care less about the things which make us unhappy only because we give them the power to do so by caring too much.

Most of my life has been an excruciating bout of shyness and withdrawal because I cared too much about the wrong things. I was so focused on how I looked, on how I acted, on what I liked, on who I liked and on every damn word I said, that I forgot to think about me.

I forgot to focus on who I am, on what I want to say, on how I want to look, on how I want to behave, talk, feel and act so that I spent my early life on a roller coaster of insecurity. So I taught myself to be crazy.

Despite popular belief, crazy ain’t easy and it does not come of its own accord if you want to live in society, and I do want to live in society. It has cars, movies, computers, beds, fridges, canned tuna and a million other things which I want in my life. But I don’t want to care what the society which creates these amazing things thinks of me, and that is hard.

ALL KINDS OF CRAZY

Crazy of course comes in all shapes and sizes. Some people think it is crazy that I have my own flying machine that I use to soar thousands of feet in the air. I think it is crazy that people fall through holes in mountains with a bird suit on.

Crazy Paramotor

“Hola Senor, Tu es loco?”

Some people think it is crazy that I put hideous photos of myself up on the internet. I think it is crazy that it is normal for people to cover themselves up with expensive masks and clothing which hides their “imperfections” and as such their true selves from the world.

Some people think it is crazy that we sold all our shit and travel the world without thinking about what will happen if and when we get old and don’t have financial security. I think it is crazy that people actually believe there is such a thing as financial security and throw away most of their lives to make sure a small part of it at the end they might not reach doesn’t suck too much

Some people think it is crazy that we will probably not have kids and will continue to live for ourselves. I think it is crazy that people live for their kids without realizing that they are passing on the message that as a parent your life is less important than theirs, which means that they are likely to do the same with their kids, ad infinitum. So who gets to live the full life?

I think it is crazy that we judge other people without realizing that they might be right or that they might be broken, and that who gives a shit what they believe anyway. This is one form of craziness which still has a hold on me and which I am trying to break, because I believe what is crazy is caring what anyone thinks.

In my head we are all just animals who somehow figured out we exist, that that existence is limited, and then squander it anyway. Which makes us the only crazy species I know of in the universe. We are conscious beings, but just barely. The way we think is insane, the importance we give to our teensy bit of time in the vastness of eternity is insane, the way we take ourselves and our actions so seriously is insane.

If we acknowledged the briefness and counter intuitive way we live our lives and changed accordingly, we would have no wars because the idea of land ownership, religion and culture would be laughable. No famine because the idea of accumulating wealth would be ridiculous. No bullying because having an ego in your tiny lifespan and sphere of influence is completely illogical. No anger, jealousy or sorrow because it makes no sense to want to change the things and people we have no control over. We have no control over anything but ourselves.

Some people think I am crazy because I wear my personality on my sleeve, well, I am trying to but it is hard to be sane in this crazy crazy world.

let me know what you think in the comments below. Subscribe to the blog for updates to your inbox, but I warn you, things might get a little bit crazy

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Cool Calm Kiting at Sunset http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/2014/09/14/cool-calm-kiting-sunset/ http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/2014/09/14/cool-calm-kiting-sunset/#comments Sun, 14 Sep 2014 13:51:51 +0000 http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/?p=5771 Feel like chilling out to some super smooth timelapse and slow motion kiting during the sunset over the Mexican Ocean with Xavier Rudd singing “Follow the sun”? Well you have come to the right place. I have made a short video of … Keep on reading

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Feel like chilling out to some super smooth timelapse and slow motion kiting during the sunset over the Mexican Ocean with Xavier Rudd singing “Follow the sun”? Well you have come to the right place. I have made a short video of my kiting yesterday at sunset but I take a definite back seat to the amazing scenery out here in Mexico.

As opposed to the recent video of my kiting my paraglider in crazy high wind, I have put together a video from two days later of me kiting at sunset in almost no wind. I am quite proud of this one just in that it has a nice calming effect and the slow motion and timelapse are quite striking.

low-wind-kiting-s

My forward launch Paraglider training attempts, although I believe admirable, just don’t compare to the amazing scenery, and I’m not even flying!

So if you think you might enjoy a chilled out couple minutes in your day please watch the video and when you are done subscribe to my Youtube channel here! Or follow my blog here.

My equipment is the Velocity Elektra Paraglider from Blackhawk Paramotors which I think I am getting pretty damn good at kiting now!

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Kiting the storm http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/2014/09/11/kiting-storm/ http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/2014/09/11/kiting-storm/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 00:07:42 +0000 http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/?p=5766 Paramotoring is not all about flying, there is also a lot of ground work required if you want your launches and landings to be as pain free and even fun as possible. And the best way to practice Paramotor launches … Keep on reading

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Paramotoring is not all about flying, there is also a lot of ground work required if you want your launches and landings to be as pain free and even fun as possible. And the best way to practice Paramotor launches is by kiting your paraglider. Check out this quick kiting video I made to get an idea of how powerful a wing in high wind can be!

I have had an unusual amount of time kiting my wing because of a blown motor early on, and lately because storm season has hit the coast of Mexico and I find myself grounded most days. Yesterday I decided to turn this to my advantage, and noticing that the storm was bringing a nice bit of wind with it convinced Sarah to come down to the beach with me for a spot of High wind kiting!

Here in La Penita Mexico there is not a lot of wind, so I haven’t been able to kite my wing as much as I did early on, so although disappointed I could not get up in the sky, it was great to be able to dust off my kiting skills and work on my paraglider control.

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I know it has helped already because by the end of the extremely tough session (imagine being a boat with a giant sail and trying to control it with only your weight to hold you down) I was getting lifted less and managing to keep still for longer, staying in one place requires a lot of control, especially in gusty wind. I even managed to get off the ground a few times (intentionally), and by the end was controlling the glider while floating horizontal, matrix bullet style!

Near the end the wind was getting around 15 mph and a little out of control, I had even let my trimmers out which puts the wing at maximum speed and was still just managing not to get dragged. So after a few more leaps into the air and pulling big ears on the ground (big ears helps you come down faster when flying), we packed up and went home.

About an hour later a massive storm hit and kept going all night. I may not have been able to fly my Paramotor, but at least I got to practice, and I am now that little bit more confident for when I actually do get to fly again.

I hope you enjoy the video. For more subscribe to my blog here, or subscribe to my Youtube channel here

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The hardest part of Powered Paragliding http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/2014/09/03/hardest-part-powered-paragliding/ http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/2014/09/03/hardest-part-powered-paragliding/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 17:42:20 +0000 http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/?p=5759 Powered Paragliding Maintenance video, it is more interesting than it sounds, kind of… There are a few challenges that have presented themselves in this whole Powered paragliding game. The first of course was the training, which although being warned about … Keep on reading

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Powered Paragliding Maintenance video, it is more interesting than it sounds, kind of…

There are a few challenges that have presented themselves in this whole Powered paragliding game. The first of course was the training, which although being warned about was a lot harder on the body than I thought it would be.

I should be a bit more specific here and say my body as I have certain ailments which make Powered Paragliding a little tough, especially during training which involves walking around with about 60 pounds on your back for a few hours a day.

In particular my dodgy knees, bad shoulders and herniated neck disk. Having said that I did surprisingly well despite these little issues, and once the training is done ground time is minimal and becomes less of an issue.

The other difficulty, and in some ways the biggest one, is the maintenance of my Paramotor. Now for a lot of people I am sure this part seems simple, but for someone who can never figure out which hole the oil goes in in my car, this has been a big concern for me, and after the nightmare that was blowing my engine in Guatemala, I am more nervous about it than I probably need to be.

I am getting better though. Well, I am getting better at maintaining my Paramotor, but I still have no idea how most of it works. I just keep praying that it continues to do so despite my complete lack of mechanical know how.

Powered Paragliding maintenance

One of the ways I am warding off my incompetence is by having made a checklist which I go through before every flight. I usually do the checks the day before flying so that the nerves and distractions which come just before a flight don’t make me miss anything, and aside from potentially saving my life, it also makes me feel safer when I am running with a Powered Paraglider strapped to my back which could quite easily chop me into little pieces or drop me into the ocean (don’t worry mum, she’ll be right :).

So I thought I would put together a little video of how I go about doing a pre-flight on my Powered Paraglider. I have a Blackhawk BH 125 Paramotor but the checklist would fit almost any paramotor and I think is just a great way to add that little extra bit of confidence to other beginner pilots out there.

I wish I had found a few more things like this video in my early days and so hope it helps equally mechanically un-minded folks just getting into Powered Pragliding with their flying and maintenance. If any pros out there see this and have something to add I am always happy to hear it.

PS. I forgot to show checking the leg and chest straps which is vitally important and I always do.

For those who don’t own a paramotor it might be interesting for you to see how these things are built and what it takes to do just basic maintenance.

Enjoy, I hope it helps you and let me know what you think in the comments below and subscribe to my blog for more Powered Paragliding things, Travel things, and just plain cool things.

CHECK LIST

Fuel tank secure / lid, fuel line secure / leaks / cable ties, check in 3 places, Choke check, Muffler secure, Spark plug cap, Starter pulley secure, Cowling bolts X2, Head gasket leaks, Exhaust springs / bolts X10, Engine rubber mounts check X6, Prop bolts / Prop cracks, Temp/RPM gauge connections, Cage bends, Cage connections X21, Cage straps X2, Cage Velcros X2, Jbars secure/cracks and bends, Jbar safety strap and connector, Carabiner cracks and connections, Reserve secure X4 and cable ties X4, Agama secure, Harness straps top X2 / Back X3 / to Jbar X2, zips closed X3, leg straps and clips, chest straps and clips. Nothing for prop to strike, wing trimmers, lines clear, breaks clear.

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Stop listening to your brain. http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/2014/08/27/stop-listening-brain/ http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/2014/08/27/stop-listening-brain/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 15:31:43 +0000 http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/?p=5746 It had been about a week since I had flown, and I was starting to get that feeling again, you know the one I mean, the one that says “You should really be doing such and such”. I still struggle with … Keep on reading

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It had been about a week since I had flown, and I was starting to get that feeling again, you know the one I mean, the one that says “You should really be doing such and such”. I still struggle with this sometimes. The feeling that there are certain things I am obligated to do.

Things which because I have an opportunity to do, or because I have put so much effort into, or because I told everyone (including myself) how amazing they were that I should be doing at every opportunity!

But, I am an extremely fickle person. One with numerous passions which I get ridiculously passionate about for a stretch of time, and then move on. Most of the time I just jump around between those passions adding the occasional new one in. I am an all or nothing kind of guy.

For example, I am on a tuna kick at the moment, which means I am eating two to four cans of tuna and crackers a day, before this I hadn’t eaten a can of tuna for around seven years!

I have just left my “Vampire Diaries” kick behind after watching about eight hours of it a day.

The Vampire Diaries

When I lived in London I did the usual London thing and got crazy into drugs and undoubtedly took it way too far. Now I am a teetotaler (I have never been a drinker and quit smoking) without any desire or craving for anything stronger than two cans of tuna and a packet of crackers!

When we were travelling through Thailand we took a few months in one place and I took the opportunity to learn how to make Computer Games. I basically spent about two months doing nothing but focusing on how to make a computer game (I never did, but I could), and I mean don’t leave the room kind of nothing else.

Then I wanted to learn to fly, and within a few months not only could I fly, but I owned my own flying machine!

And of course the big one, I couldn’t just take a year off and travel, Sarah and I had to do this thing one hundred percent for as long as we want to, or not at all (thank baby Jesus we chose one hundred percent!).

I am an extreme kind of guy.

All or nothing, but it works for me most of the time. I just need to learn when my brain is correct and when it is making things up based around the waffle it has absorbed over the last thirty three years.

Not everything and every thought needs to be judged or acted on. I am pretty sure that all humans share the insanity of an internal mind, the stuff that never leaves your mouth because not only could it cause an intense amount of destruction in your life and the life of others, but also because you don’t really mean it or feel that way.

Our brains do some seriously cool shit, including taking in all the stuff which goes on around you and in you during the day. All your past life and all your potential life are at least considered on the periphery of your grey matter to try and facilitate the best outcome for you, or the worst depending on how destructive you are feeling.

The hard part is sifting through a mountain of junk mail in search of the worthwhile things, which can be tough when you have a lifetime of Nigerian princes clogging up the works.

There are things I know, there are things I don’t know, and then there is the most inconvenient mush of all, the things I think I know which mixes in with the good stuff and makes it all very hard to get in order.

I know that I am free to do what I please and I know that I am able to do most of those things. What I don’t know a lot of the time, is which of them I actually want to do, which I feel obligated to do, and which I am just being to lazy to do.

And therein lies the problem. Well not really a problem so much as a natural by product of being human. Despite its obvious advantages, free will and the freedom of choice it gives us can be a real pain in the ass.

I am getting better at figuring out when I am feeling which emotion, when I am being too lazy, or when I am putting too much needless pressure on myself. But it is a work in progress.

Yesterday I made myself fly because I hadn’t for a week and was starting to feel some kind of guilt. I actually had to walk myself through a process of mind farts to figure out why and what I should do about it. This time I decided that it was laziness holding me back and not fear. If it was fear I would definitely fly, but sometimes I find laziness is a more acceptable reason not to do stuff.

Paramotor flying

In the end I did fly, and I had an awesome one, it was only about ten minutes as a storm blew in and I had to get out of the air pronto. But it felt good to have a great launch and landing and to have made the right decision. Also it felt good to have put on a pair of pants and have done something outside of a computer screen (just to be clear though, I love doing stuff inside a computer screen! I just get computer fever after a couple days).

I suppose the largely unintelligible point I am making is that I am not obligated to do anything, but with the storm cloud of farts / thoughts bumbling around our mushy purple minds it sometimes takes a bit of effort to figure out what we really want and why. Sometimes it is OK that I can’t be bothered to do the most amazing thing I have ever learned to do, because at the end of the day, it is my party, and dammit, I will only fly if I want to.

Yesterday I flew, today I wore underpants, I wasn’t obligated to do either, but I did both, and I’m OK with that. And PS, here is a video I made to prove it (the flying part). I think it is another really really good one, so tell me so in the comments :)

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The ALS ice bucket challenge http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/2014/08/24/als-ice-bucket-challenge/ http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/2014/08/24/als-ice-bucket-challenge/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 01:49:21 +0000 http://tellthemisaidsomething.com/?p=5736 I feel like going into the ALS ice bucket challenge I may have had an unfair advantage. Being that my body temperature sits somewhere in the high billions of degrees, I am, or at least thought I was a little more … Keep on reading

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I feel like going into the ALS ice bucket challenge I may have had an unfair advantage. Being that my body temperature sits somewhere in the high billions of degrees, I am, or at least thought I was a little more immune to the effects of a bucket of freezing cold water filled with freezing cold cubes of freezing coldness.

I now realize that if I do have this advantage, then it must be a lot worse for everyone else!

ALS-ice-bucket-challenge

Actually after just finishing my paramotor flight along the beach here in La Penita de Jaltemba and packing up my gear in the intense afternoon sun, I was looking forward to a great dunking, always happy to oblige in making me do charitable things, Sarah took the opportunity to dunk a whole cooler box of ice water over my head.

It was simultaneously delightfully refreshing and intensely shocking, I walked away from this particular experience with not only soggy see through shorts, a slight shiver and a new respect for Inuits (damn I am thoughtful!), but also a fuzzy feeling where my heart is supposed to be from doing something good for someone else! It was nice.

PS. If you were looking for a more informative post about ALS I apologize, there are very real limits on my ability to focus on one thing for long, and then turn that thing into useful information, which is why it is great these guys do such a good job of it! www.alsa.org

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