My father had a fascination at an early age to everything connected to the sky. After his military service as a paratrooper, he was naturally devoted to skydiving and kept his enthusiasm for airsports. He always took me and my brothers with him on his adventures. We grew up looking up to the sky, knowing it would be our element!
Eventually in the 90s, he started paragliding and it was a natural step for me and my brothers to follow. We were still kids! We always had many sports in our lives but paragliding is something different. It's a different challenge everytime you take-off. It still has its magic and thrill after all these years. Flying since our teenage times while our friends were more interested in other conventional sports gave us a different perspective about the elements and allowed us to explore many different places from a privileged perspective - traveling through the sky like a bird!
I live in Portugal near the beach and our area is very diverse. It has sand dunes, cliffs, small hills and eventually some higher mountains inland. Actually, this is a perfect playground and allows you to fly all year long with all kinds of conditions. It's also very good for learning and progressing safely while exploring and having fun. I had my first flight on the beach, a place that I have known since my childhood and I just got elated. I was eager to fly all the time! I escaped after my classes at school to go and fly until sunset.
Later with my brother, we started to fly at higher levels and going hardcore to more challenging conditions, doing big cross-country flights and joining competitions. We had some good mentors that helped us to progress and eventually succeeded at the higher level. We both became national champions several times and frequently got to podiums at international events. It's priceless to share the sky with your loved ones.
After all these years, I'm still totally stoked everytime I take to the skies. My aim is to keep improving my skills and explore new routes not only at the places I know well but also around the world, travel to new locations and explore different places with an amazing aircraft that you just pack and carry on your back after landing.
A new trend that interests me now is to go in full autonomy with all your gear and traverse a mountain chain by taking-off early in the day and cruising along the ridges, using only the energy of the sun and your skill to travel along the mountains. Eventually landing at the slopes by the end of the day and spending the night out to repeat it all over again. This allows you to travel to new locations and travel to them seeing them from above which is a totally different and privileged perspective - in contact with the elements and the true explorer spirit.