By Air and Sea: Paragliding in Peru & Spain, Parasailing in Florida

Avid travelers see landscapes by foot, train and bus far more often than by air or sea. But maybe we should rethink that. Scenic boat rides and bird’s eye views really put the world in perspective.

My instructor prepares me for our tandem take-off paragliding in Bilbao, Spain.
My instructor prepares me for our tandem take-off paragliding in Bilbao, Spain.

In Peru this past May, my sister treated me to a birthday paragliding trip over a small mountain range south of Lima. This was my second time paragliding after a peaceful jump of a cliff face in the Bilbao region of Spain back in 2010. Both times were humbling—though my instructor did some acrobatics in Peru that left my stomach turning! In Spain, we paralleled the dynamic line of land and sea, dually unnerving and thrilling knowing you have nothing but the wind preventing you from dropping hundreds of feet into the cold dark waters below. A hawk joined us in flight over Bilbao while a pair of caracaras danced on their wings through the sky in Peru.

For another birthday a couple years ago, my best friend from the Florida Keys and I enjoyed a birthday parasailing trip out of Key West. This was another mix of tranquility and adrenaline rushes as we soared above greens and blues and dropped for quick dips into the chop below.

Parasailing over the Florida Keys is as beautiful as it is fun!
Parasailing over the Florida Keys is as beautiful as it is fun!

All of these experiences offered me a unique look at my surroundings. Completely immersed in nature, I was at one with the birds in the sky, towering over the foreboding ocean and steep, rocky terrain. If you have the opportunity to take in your travels from a different vantage point, I say do it. It’s one thing I’ve never regretted shelling out money for. You’ll undoubtedly test your courage, have some fun and, hopefully, encounter a fleeting, memorable state of nirvana.

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