After spending weeks in the colorful, creative city of Istanbul, we were excited to venture towards the Turkish coast. We planned to spend a few days relaxing in a small beach resort called Oludeniz, before a hiking adventure to a secluded cove nearby. I didn’t research Oludeniz too well, simply seeing it as a jumping off point for our hiking excursion (in retrospect, it was quite literally a jumping off point!). I anticipated a relaxing few days with sand between our toes, enjoying calm, turquoise waters. Upon arrival, my eyes weren’t drawn to the sea but to the sky, which was filled with dozens of parachutes gracefully dancing toward the beach.
I quickly learned that Oludeniz is famous for paragliding! A combination of the extraordinary height of nearby Mount Babadag, ideal weather conditions, and breathtaking panoramic views, all make Oludeniz one of the best places in the world to paraglide. To those of you who are new to this extreme, recreational sport: a paraglider is a lightweight, glider aircraft. The activity is similar to parasailing, but instead of being tied to the back of a boat, you launch yourself off a mountain, flying free. It takes dedication, lessons and equipment to achieve certification to glide solo, but you can ride tandem without any experience at all!
Paragliding is my favorite extreme sport! In my opinion, it is far better than skydiving. While I enjoy a good rush (and skydiving is an extreme rush!) paragliding allows you to float for up to an hour or more, depending on wind conditions, giving you time to enjoy dramatic surroundings. Have you ever had dreams of flying? I sure do! This is the closest you’ll come to knowing what it feels like to soar freely through the sky. Our impromptu decision to take the leap off Babadag Mountain was one of the best decisions I’ve made. The height of this particular mountain made even this dedicated daredevil feel weak in the knees! My heart was beating furiously as we waited for the perfect opportunity to run towards the cliff’s edge, but I was grinning from ear to ear, enjoying that familiar rush of adrenaline that makes me feel alive.
The wind was perfect, lifting us miles above our landing point. We were able to glide for just under an hour, soaring high above the sparkling, turquoise waters below. The remarkable truth about paragliding is that you only have to be brave for the first few seconds. As soon as you take flight, there’s a peace that seems to settle around you. There’s no noise, and no dramatic drops that force you to lose your stomach. It’s an incredibly quiet, relaxing opportunity to enjoy a birds-eye view of the world. I’ve found that most things that get your blood pumping are worth trying. Some of you may disagree with my daredevil ways, and I’m not saying that jumping off cliffs and out of planes is for everyone, but I do think it’s important to live on the edge from time to time. After all, life begins at the end of your comfort zone... might as well LIVE!
Andrea Leblang #bestworldyet
Andrea is a travel professional who escaped the 'corporate world' to answer the call of her wanderlust. Having an intense passion for exploring new places and experiencing new cultures, Andrea is circling the globe with her husband, Bryan, seeking out unique events and unforgettable experiences. Though no immediate plans to settle, their long term goal is a 'more permanent' place of residence. Part of the trip's agenda is discovering where in the world that place might be. Andrea's travel blog,Best World Yet, provides firsthand recommendations and inspiration for adventure, as she and Bryan make the world their home. You can follow them onFacebook,Instagram,Twitter &Pinterest.
Andrea is an adrenaline junkie and yogi, who enjoys hiking, paragliding and cliff-jumping as well as food, wine, art and dancing. She is especially passionate about helping others make the most of their travels, and foundedElite Travel Arrangements in January of 2015. ETA is a luxury agency planning customized trips from curated travel selections. With in-depth, firsthand experience, Andrea combines her enthusiasm and passion for travel with an insider's perspective; offering local recommendations and hidden gems to ETA clients.