Michael Muldoon tells his story 'Flight For a Dream'
You know, when I was little…. (okay I can hear a few people laughing from here…)
When I was young should I say, I was living up in the Drakensberg in a little village called Jagersrust which is about 30kms from Bergville, I always used to go down to the bottom of this big field to sit with and watch the guys doing training courses for paragliding. I always sat there watching the guys flying only wishing I could be up there myself, because I could only imagine how amazing it would be, but unfortunately my dad would always tell me that it was something that was way too expensive, because once you've done the course to learn how to fly, then you've got to get all your gear and most importantly, your paraglider… Unfortunately money didn't grow on trees and where we lived was a far cry from a wealthy family home in Umhlanga Rocks so I very reluctantly accepted the fact that this was just something for people with alot of money.
A few days ago, a guy that I used to go to school with at Pinetown Boys High by the name of Michael Muldoon, emailed me his story which really caught my eye. Here was a guy that was pretty much in exactly the same shoes that I was in many years ago, but refused to accept the fact that it may not be financially possible and drove himself to where he is today, which in my books, is living the dream…BIG TIME!
This is his story:
'Flight for a Dream'
When I was 12 years old my Mom won a competition at our local supermarket and learnt to paraglide at Bulwer Mountain in KZN. She did the most part of a paragliding license and I was infatuated by these aircraft floating about the sky made out of fabric. Due to the extreme expense of paragliding, I was told it was a 'Rich man's sport' by my parents and the dream of getting in the sky very quickly faded away.
In 2005 I left Durban and started working in the UK, I remember a very clear thought in my head about following a dream that seemed to stick around as I felt depressed duing my first UK winter.
In January 2006 I learnt to fly at Airworks just outside of Brighton. Paragliding felt amazing! Being lifted off the ground by a huge kite was the initial feeling and I progressed quickly, putting all my time and effort into the sport. In April 2007 I went back to South Africa and did a Course(Acro/SIV) with Hans and Ria Fokkens from Wildsky at Bulwer Mountain where my Mom had learnt to fly. My confidence grew and I felt the great urge for acrobatic flying.
I went back to the UK and worked hard in Sussex to afford paragliding but felt limited on the South Downs and in June 2008 I left for Annecy, France with only £1000 in my pocket, a tent and my paraglider. That summer, Irwyn Jehu at 'Maison Du Moulin' took me in under his wing and I ended up doing some paragliding guiding work in the area as well as training acro(acrobatics) everyday. I met many young French Professional Acro Pilots throughout the year and learnt many new maneuvers.
This year I spent 3 months in Oludeniz, Turkey focusing on my flying and I am now in France. I sent off some fantastic sponsorship proposals, some including a lot more than just plain old advertising/sponsorship, they included some great business ideas and extra Graphic Design work that I do as a traveling freelancer. The response was great, 2010 looks like an exciting season where I will compete in Acro Competitions for my first time mixing an international level of flying with part time work around Europe.
This winter I will work as a Transfer Driver in the Espace Killy and Paradiski areas of France spending most of the ski season flying, training hard, making videos and promoting my sponsors. In Spring I will do part time work for the Shop-Paratroc and will be the English rep. at the 'Annecy Parapente Expo' an annual paragliding expo and then I will go across to Chamonix to rent an apartment and do part time work and fly at amazing paragliding sites to train with some of the worlds best acro pilots!
I am looking forward to flying in competitions in Norway, Austria, Italy and Switzerland in 2010 and representing my country in a sport that was supposed to be not accessable to a young South African like me. My sponsors are : Tignes.co.uk-providing me a new wing at over £2000. Sussex Paragliding for dealership support, the French clothing brand 'Fly with Me' for clothing, video promotion and financial aid for competitions, Bertoni eyewear and Montana Vertical Helmets for promotion and financial aid. You can see more about me and some wonderful photos on my website : www.acrondiza.com.
I hope you all have a good winter and you too may follow your dream!
So if you are sitting in an office right now wondering just what on earth you are doing there, thinking this isn't what you've always wanted to do with your life… here is a guy who found a passion and followed it, forcing his way through the obstacles that stood in his way of achieving that dream and I'm sure we'll all agree, he's well on his way of going way beyond anyone's expectations.
Some of pics that Mike sent over and don't forget to check out his website http://www.acrondiza.com/