Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Set (para) sail for the world

I try to escape it, but it is a recurring theme - TRAVEL.

I need to take risks, and go have a little adventure. It's half the reason I am obsessed with the Peace Corps - I want to travel and I want to do good. I want to write about it and I want to capture the moments.

We all have something we are a little passionate about, and mine just happens to be 'EXPERIENCING' life. For someone who suffers from Panic Disorder, and can have a panic attack by just walking into a room, it might blow your mind to know that I LONG to be free and just really LIVE life. Which is why it feels like hell, for your mind to sometimes try to control you. I think that's why I am able to experience life without meds, or anything of that sort- because I will NOT let that control me.

I think back to the time I flew to the middle east by myself. Crazy idea. But I did it, and ended up living/staying with people from a completely different culture, speaking a completely different language - and I lived, not to mention, I loved.

I often wonder what all I would see and do if I honestly had the resources. I can assure you - I take advantage of any opportunity I can in order to travel and experience the world. Often times money or time would get in the way. But if there is a will there is a way - and I did everything I could to make it happen.

I've done fun things like swim with the manatee in Florida. I'm not talking about some little swimming pool in a controlled environment - I mean, put on a wet suit, grab a snorkel and head through the springs. I have gone tubing, I have been on high ropes courses and used a zip line, I used to go hiking, camping - sleeping atop mountains with no tent, only a fire to keep me warm. I back packed the entire Pine Mountain (26 miles in 2 three days, 2 nights) carrying only one change of clothes, food and a pup tent. I LOVE adventure.

I am starting to get that spirit back. Something about being out here in the woods, so to speak, and researching "day trips," has got me in the mood to do something wild!

I recently discovered something I HAVE to try. I bet I could talk the egyptian to doing this one day - It's called parahawking. That's right - para-HAWKING, and you can do this in Nepal! What an amazing experience.

If you did not already know, I am obsessed with birds - or anything that flies. When you really think about it, how freaking cool is that? If I was ever to come back as a different being, I would choose a bird - possibly a sea gull, since I love the beach.

Anyway -

There is great opportunity to go parahawking in different parts of the world. I choose Nepal, because it happens to be a country I have always wanted to travel to. I found this amazing website, called Parahawking - yes, that simple. According to the website, Parahawking is a fusion between Falconry and Paragliding. Falconry is a huntung sport where birds of prey are trained to hunt prey. Parahawking is different, their birds of prey are trained to fly with Paragliders and to guide them to the thermals. Parahawking also gives you a unique opportunity to interact with birds of prey in their own environment.

Birds of prey have a natural instinct to conserve energy wherever and whenever possible. During a flight, a bird will burn more energy than it would if it was just sitting in a tree, this means it has to eat to replace the used energy. Sometimes birds will travel long distances to find food. To conserve energy while flying, birds of prey use thermals. Thermals are rising currents of warm air that are created by the sun heating the ground. Birds can gain height and travel long distances without flapping their wings by using thermals. Paragliders also use thermals when they are flying and will often use wild birds to guide them to where the thermals are. Their trained birds are no different, they will find the thermals in order to stay aloft and conserve energy while flying. Paragliders harness their ability to conserve energy by following them as they fly.

This companie's birds need to be rewarded for guiding people into the thermals. During the flight the passenger will place small morsels of meat onto his gloved hand, the birds will come and gently land on the hand to take the food, and then gracefully fly away to find the next thermal. A perfect symbiotic relationship.

My main question was how does this do good? What's the idea around Vulture Conservation? According to - Asia's vultures are in serious decline, in the last 15 years the numbers have dropped by a staggering 99.9% which equates to a loss of approx 40 million birds. This catastrophic decline is due to a veterinary drug called Diclofenac. This anti inflammatory drug is routinely administered to sick and dying livestock including cows and buffalo and has proven to be very effective in reducing pain and suffering. However, when the animal dies with Diclofenac still in it's system, the vultures that feed from the animal carcass will ingest remnants of the drug which is poisonous to them and kills them within 24 hours.

Vultures are important in our society, they play a vital role in our ecosystem by cleaning up all of the dead animals that would otherwise be left to rot. Millions of tons of animal carcasses are disposed of each year across Asia, which if not cleaned up, would pose a real risk to human health. Asia's vultures are declining faster than the Dodo and could be extinct in the next 5-10 years, unfortunately not enough people know about the problem. Vultures are considered to be quite unsavory creatures because of this, these prehistoric looking birds are difficult to empathize with. Their company wants to change that!

Their company wants to support vital Vulture conservation projects in Nepal, they donate 10 Euros from every Parahawking flight to Vulture conservations projects.

For more detailed information go to:
Vulture Rescue -
Himalayan Raptor Rescue

ParaHawking in Nepal

NOW - What wild and crazy adventures would you recommend??

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