I said to Tyrhone today that I don’t think I’ve ever seen him stress about anything as much as he has about paramotoring. In fact, he has always been the calm one, the one who doesn’t sweat the small stuff, who says “she’ll be right.” Nothing usually gets to him, until now.
I can understand it, of course. From the financial outlay and logistical nightmares of starting out, to the physical, mental and emotional drain that this adventure has brought, it has put a huge strain on him, and us.
And the strain of a 60 pound engine is just the beginning…
We decided to stay here in Antigua due to a paramotor trainer who lives in a nearby town. The guy has over twenty years experience and has given Tyrhone some excellent instruction, but it has involved long drives to the coast or farmland via terrible roads. Then, there have been issues with equipment, weather and more. The other day, Tyrhone was doing so well, nailing all his takeoffs and landings and then his engine blew in the air.
He landed perfectly, thank God, but then faced a 2KM walk with a 60 Pound engine on his back, carrying a glider weighed down by the water which entered it on landing. That may not sound like very much, but let me assure you, it was a mission.
I carried a helmet…
To top it off, the tide was coming in and the sun almost setting which made the packing up of all the equipment even more challenging than usual.
He has been an absolute trooper.
If I were him I think I would have given up long ago. I’ve even considered it myself, but that would involve giving up on him, and I’m not quite ready to do that (!).
It’s been really tough. Beyond tough. People who said he was crazy were right. He is.
It has changed our entire traveling experience, adding another layer of both stress and adventure to the journey.
On one hand, if he wasn’t doing this, I wouldn’t have had to endure long drives, petrol fumes, hot, black-sand beaches and his incessant talking about the sport for the last three months, and on the other I also wouldn’t have gotten to see him overcome so much physical and mental hardship in order to soar into the air like the superheroes he used to read about in comic books.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane?
I also wouldn’t have had a lovely mid-morning nap in the back of the car at the farm where he trained, listening to the cows and the birds and the breeze through the trees.
Love me a nap…
I wouldn’t have gotten to meet some local kids on the beach and have them laugh at my Spanish (or lack thereof) or chat to some wealthy Guatemalan weekenders from the city who road up on their shiny dune buggy to see what on Earth he was doing.
I wouldn’t have driven through the lively village of Cuidad Vieja on the outskirts of Antigua on the way to training, stopping for a bag of fresh mango sprinkled with chili powder and sneakily snapping this pic of a photogenic ice cream seller.
Maybe I wasn’t so sneaky…
In some ways paramotoring has come between us as my abilities as his only support crew/sounding board/cheer leader are pushed to their limits, while in certain moments it has brought us closer together.
Like everything in life, it has it’s good and bad sides. This is a sport that gets really fun with experience but which is pretty painful to learn, and can only be done in certain areas with the right geographical and environmental factors in place.
Like wind! Who knew I would ever learn so much about thermals, wind direction and speed?! Not me, that’s for sure.
Truth be told, I’m not the best supporter. I find it tough to sit on the sidelines and wait. I find it difficult to support a dream which I want for him but is so vastly different from my own.
Writing this though has showed me that nothing is ever black and white. Sometimes Tyrhone thinks he made a mistake trying to do this, and if I’m honest, there are times when I wonder the same thing, but I can already see that it isn’t the real truth. It’s just that the bad days can feel like a lot of hard work, too much in fact, and the rewards have been so fleeting.
We have found parts of the experience extremely frustrating and challenging, but these are the times where we just need to stick together, have faith and keep encouraging each other and ourselves, as best as we can.
It took writing this for me to get out of my own head and see that, so thanks for helping me sort out my thoughts in order to discover the truth – that while I may dislike the paramotor blues, I do love the sweet moments, and mangoes. Or something like that…
Disclosure: These are not THE mangoes from Cuidad Vieja, they are mangoes from a separate occasion, just to be clear.