Sometimes even the most complex laid out plans can feel fortuitous when it all comes together. At least, that's how it felt when I was lucky enough to meet up with a group of friends in Cinque Terre, Italy to take a train to Switzerland. Trust me, it's not the easiest feat to plan four people meeting up in a foreign country and then coordinating further movements. Our overnight layover in Milan on the way to Interlaken included some light sightseeing, one last cone of gelato, and what was likely the most uncomfortable night of sleep we've ever experienced thanks to a hot room stuffed with all of us on beds that were tetris-ed together.
As we arrived at Interlaken, Switzerland, we were immediately greeted with drizzle and overcast skies which were enough to make us wonder whether or not the weather would permit for us to go paragliding. When there was a small pocket of time where the rain was paused, we were notified fairly last minute that we would picked up to and taken the jump-off point.
Our instructors were a ragtag group of adventurers from all walks of the earth who skydived and paraglided often on their own. We were given hurried yet reassuring instruction during the car ride up through the hills. With our gear loaded up in backpacks, we hiked through lush green hills overlooking Interlaken. Parachute strings were untangled and laid out, helmets were put on, too-big wind breaker jackets that smelled faintly of cigarettes were flapped around in as I waddled and wandered throughout the hills, and lots of awful jokes were cracked to dispell the nervous adrenaline anyone would feel before getting ready to run off the side of a cliff and over a valley.
We stood there for a while watching wind markers and checking instruments, waiting to make sure that the wind patterns were in our favor before making the leap. We waited around for a long while, not knowing whether or not we'd be able to jump at all because of the wonky wind patterns. After about 20 minutes standing on the side of a hill, we got the go ahead.