I’m Wendy. I’ve had a few lives. First as an artist in Denver, then as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician and now, as a writer and filmmaker. I want to show you what extreme adventure travel looks like from a womens perspective.. but not just mine. In this film, we will capture our real life moments of a two-woman journey from Gallup, New Mexico to Santiago, Chile as we fly our paragliders and ride motorcycle through each country, finding other female adventurers along the way.
I’ve been riding motorcycle for ten years and have more than 100,000 miles on and off the road. Kari will be learning enroute. She rides a Piaggio now… so, she’s not a total newb! Kari will be helping me film and open doors with her paragliding community contacts.
Kari Castle: From Bishop, CA, Age 50, 3 time Hang Gliding World Champion, multiple National Paragliding Champion, Red Bull X-Alps Veteran, free flight Instructor and Guide. Ambassador to our beautiful sport, she is unwaveringly good natured with a ready smile and large laugh every time you meet her.
Check out Kari at Karicastle.com
The women I am interested including in the film are ones we meet on the road, quietly exploring the world. I have met them before and find their stories to be often more extroadinary than well established women who are sponsored and have public profiles that limit candid conversation. I have a goal of featuring five amazing gals in the film. (Besides us) I am hoping for many more than that.
Where are they? Noone knows unless you do… this. We speak their language, and love their ginormous souls. We are living it and tracking them down for you.
We will document a cutaway view of the trip, showing you step by step preparations, training, our stops and the incredible women we meet when we get there! We will interview other women by calculated chance as we Fly and Ride South through the Americas. We hope to find women by meeting them at the flying sites, hostels, campsites, interviewing the local pilots, and researching rider resources like Women on Wheels, Womens Coalition of Motorcyclists, Horizons Unlimited and ADVrider. Also, through Kari’s network.
Currently I know of only one woman that I specifically want to meet with. Camila Antonorsi in Colombia. She is one of the very few women doing paragliding tours. She’s also a skydiver and a dentist.
You will see footage from (among other places) Valle De Bravo, Mexico – Lake Aitlan, Guatemala – Lake Ilopango, El Salvador – Caballito, Costa Rica – Roldanillo, Colombia – Lima, Peru – Canoa, Ecuador and The Atacama Desert in Chile. We will be blogging our movement daily (if internet access is available) and give you a front seat to this 10,000 mile search as we travel South at livetoflytoride.com
We are not including specific times and dates for personal safety reasons.
Why do you have to be so extreme?
Well, we love it. For a raft of reasons. But first, I think that this kind of adventure is not really so extreme after all. We as a culture are buried in misconceptions and misguided judgement of what this kind of travel is really about. Those of us that gather information from television and radio programming which are driven by ratings are not getting an honest firsthand perspective. What you get is shock, hilarity and horror. Perhaps there will be all three in this documentary, but we are shooting for an honest and candid view of our own and other womens experience.
In preparing for this project, I’ve been given a lot of alarmist advice.. including instructions to watch “Taken” 1 and 2. and even had a coworker threatening to make a “football pool” of what country I would be raped/killed/kidnapped in first.
If anything, it has hardened my resolve in creating an honest perspective of what a motorbiking/flying South American adventure is really like. For a woman.
Here is the short story of what flying and riding means to me.
After a return from Iraq, I felt disconnected and anxious. I needed to find something to shake off the gloom that had settled on my heart. I found that something flying. It created a Zen-like focus that allowed me to leave that weight on the ground. The community, the focus and the wild freedom of flying through the air is unmatched by anything… except perhaps by a twist of the throttle, accelerating into the canvas of a brilliant new landscape. I can’t imagine not riding.
In spirit, we have a third woman with us. We lost her earlier this year in Golden, Colorado at Lookout Mountain. She would have loved this Adventure as much as we do. Pilot, world traveler and moto rider, Meg VanSciver’s name will be on my bike as a reminder of her wit, bravery and beauty.
How did you get this idea?
When I was in Colombia a couple years ago, I was healing from a broken rib and badly sprained ankle at a little Irish bar that had some cheap rooms above it. While I was having a beer at a table outside, a tall blonde woman rolled up on her motorcycle. My eyes almost popped out! Who was this? I had seen many other male riders, but their presence wasn’t remarkable to me. I hadn’t seen any women. I immediately introduced myself and wanted to know every bit of her story… so she told me.
My mind wandered and I thought.. well why can’t I do this with a paraglider? Also, I wondered.. where are all the women? Here’s Sherri, having an amazing time. Here Iam, recovering from an amazing time, (broke my rib in a paragliding accident) where are the rest of us?
Fast forward almost a year to October when I met Kari Castle at her all womens Paragliding clinic in the Owens Valley. There they were! Almost two dozen remarkable women with huge spirits and beautiful paraglider wings to match. Since then, I’ve been reading about and searching for other women who love the freedom of motor and flying sport. I am a current member of Women on Wheels, the Womens Coalition of Motorcyclists, and the United States Hanggliding and Paragliding Association.
The Documentary idea was born from a friend doing her own documentary about lady paraglider pilots! I loved her film and wished for more, but there aren’t any.
Please join us and be a part of our story. Pledge what you can and if you can’t, then come and visit, ride or fly with us. Remember, it’s all or nothing at Kickstarter, so even if you can only afford $5, it still counts!
Wendy’s first book, “Paragliding Confessions of a Lady Bomb Tech” is being published this year in time for Christmas.