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  • Writer's pictureAjmal Samuel

A Quest To Fly: My First Paragliding Solo in Taiwan

The past two years, 2023 and 2024, have been extraordinary as I pursued and finally realized my paragliding dreams. After nearly 15 years of yearning and striving, those dreams took flight. The exhilarating sensation of controlling the wings above me and experiencing the freedom of flying unassisted by an internal engine felt like the culmination of a long-held human aspiration. Yet, this achievement hinged entirely on mastering the whims and energies of the natural elements around me.


Paragliding is about harnessing the wind and thermals to soar through the skies. This involved a steep learning curve inspired by observing birds like eagles, hawks, and crows. I learned simple but crucial lessons—never fly where a pack of crows is, as they often fly erratically, and instead, emulate the eagles, who glide effortlessly and with purpose.


A significant part of my journey included training under the guidance of three exceptional paragliding instructors across the globe: Kit Yuen Wai from Hong Kong, 蘇沛倫 from Taiwan, and Matthew Van Syl from South Africa. I intend to share a detailed account of my South African adventures later this year in an upcoming short film. But for now, I want to highlight my transformative experience in Taiwan.


In Taiwan, I became the first disabled person from my region to pilot a paragliding wing independently. This milestone would not have been possible without my instructor's innovative spirit and dedication, 蘇沛倫, who constructed a special chair that enabled me to experience paragliding fully.


My paragliding journey began in Hong Kong with Kit Yuen Wai, who bravely took on the challenge of teaching me – a disabled person with an unyielding dream to soar above the earth. This journey wasn't just about reaching the skies but also about Kit's journey of learning how to teach someone with my unique needs.


I'm thrilled to share this incredible journey with you through a short film that captures my Taiwanese experience. You can watch it on YouTube and Vimeo via the links below:


This short film is also available on my Instagram account @ajmalsamuel.


My story is one of persistence and the belief that nothing is impossible. I hope my experiences inspire disabled and non-disabled individuals to overcome challenges and live their dreams. Remember, anyone can make their dreams a reality with determination and courage.


So, go ahead – take that leap and soar. Your dreams are waiting.


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