In episode 18 we hear from adventurer Ben Jordan. Ben went from shy computer programmer to fashion photographer before catching the adventure bug. He's ridden across Canada on a skateboard, is Canada's only professional expedition paraglider pilot, and set a new world record on his 1,200km journey by paraglider along the entire length of the Canadian Rockies.
May 17, 2020
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In episode 18 we hear from adventurer Ben Jordan. Ben went from shy computer programmer to fashion photographer before catching the adventure bug. He's ridden across Canada on a skateboard, is Canada's only professional expedition paraglider pilot, and set a new world record on his 1,200km journey by paraglider along the entire length of the Canadian Rockies.
Ben was kind enough to share his deepest personal struggles overcoming social barriers and alcoholism. Not only has Ben achieved great things in the adventure space, but he’s also made some wonderful films. His coverage of his time spent in Malawi is particularly touching.
Enjoy this final episode of We Need More Heroes. We’ll be back, bigger and better than ever as the Call to Adventure podcast.
-Computer programmer to fashion photographer
-Rasing over $1 million skateboarding across Canada for the Candian Breast Cancer Association
-Crowdfunding and why you don't need big sponsors for big adventures
-How life has a funny way of working itself out
-Do what feels good
-Create your own luck
-All you have to do is ask
-The super power of being ok with hearing no
-The gift of letting others help
-One yes eclipses so many no's
-The feeling of paragliding - Ben describes this beautifully
-Ben's definition of beauty
-Moving to Nepal to paraglide for 5 months
-Setting a world-first paragliding across Canada
-Teaching underprivileged kids to paraglide in Malawi
-Flying the spine - The Endless Chain
-There may not be a next year, so go for your dreams now
-Pushing the limits on the Continental Divide
-The fuel of rebellion
-The power of adventure
-The heroes journey and the rise of Call to Adventure
-How to get start paragliding/paragliding for beginners
-Why you can still paraglide even if you're afraid of heights
Ben Jordan [00:00:00] You're weightless in a way. Swinging around like a kid on a swing. But in three dimensions with the most incredible view you've ever imagined. No matter where you launch from, it's gonna be new every single time.
George Beesley [00:00:15] Hello and welcome to the final episode of We Need More Heroes, or at least the final episode under that name. Apologies it's been so long between releases, but we did decide to pause the podcast whilst we were Cycling because it started to detract from the experience a little bit, always arranging meetings and chasing Wi-Fi. And that was not very easy in the remote places that we were. But now I'm back in the U.K. and morphing. We need more heroes into its next more exciting incarnation Call To Adventure. So I found it cool to adventure with a mission to help create happier people and a healthier planet through adventure and community. As part of that, I'll still be podcasting. But we're expanding the remit to create articles and videos on all things outdoors. So interviews, gear, reviews, how to guides, basically giving you everything you need to get out on your own adventures. And it's all free content. Then once you're suitably pumped and raring to go. We've got loads of adventures that you can join us on in the UK and abroad. If you just fancy teaming up with others or want to do something a little bit more extreme than you think Yeah, I definitely need some guides. You know what they're doing for this. But at the same time, you could just come along if you just fancy joining other people. They're not all super hardcore. There’s beginner-friendly stuff as well. They range from quick weekend trips to month-long expeditions and longer. We've got hiking, mountain biking, bike packing, climbing and loads more coming while swimming, ski touring, a bit of everything. So it's all there. So head on over to CalltoAdventure.UK for more on that.
But now on to today's episode as a bit of background. He is a professional athlete and adventure travel photographer and filmmaker. In 2006, he and three friends rode skateboards all the way across. Canada is actually Canada's only professional expedition paraglider pilot and has completed a 52 day, 1200 kilometer journey by paraglider along the length of the Canadian Rockies, setting a new world first, he actually became the first person to fly a paraglider across just a national park and directly over the previously unflown spine. This one is a very honest and raw episode. We talk about all sorts, including the life-changing effects of psychedelics, stories of personal struggle, drug abuse and self-transformation, overcoming introversion, the power of helping others, filmmaking in Africa and World Firsts. And, of course, some adventures. Just as a quick heads up. There's a bit of wind noise on bends and a star as he was recording outside. It's only for a few seconds here and there. So no biggie. Otherwise, the sound quality is good and I think there's some really, really good content in this one. I really hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed recording it with today's guest, Ben Jordan.
[00:03:15] I'm really stoked to be talking to you today. That's awesome. Welcome to British Columbia.
[00:03:19] Where abouts are you in? In British Columbia. Cause I noticed when I just added you on Skype, it said Nelson. Is that is that where you are now?
[00:03:29] I'm very close to Nelson. I tell people that aren't from this area that I'm from the Nelson area. When, in fact, everything here is a bit of a drive. So it's actually an hour's drive away from Nelson, but have lived in Nelson for a number of years before moving to a more rural kind of farm.
[00:03:45] Oh, cool. Very good. Yeah, we were in. I have been to Nelson actually. We went to Shambala Festival.
[00:03:54] Oh yeah. Totally. What a fantastic weekend that was. Yeah, I've definitely been there as well.
[00:04:01] I was actually hired by them to do aerial photographs prior to the popularity of drones. I flew my paraglider over Shambala some many years ago and delivered a whole bunch of aerial photographs of their event to them. And yeah, it's a good time.
[00:04:16] Very cool. Yeah, it was an absolute treat for people that didn't know what to expect. How would you describe Shambala?
[00:04:26] Well, I think that Shambala is a great place for people that maybe are feeling a little bit stuck in some part of their life to go and kind of explore what it might feel like to be a completely different person for a week or a weekend or however long you choose to go.
[00:04:44] Because I know a lot of people come out of that event kind of like the same way they come out of Burning Man feeling completely refreshed and reinvented. And we actually get a phenomenon out here called be called the Shamba Leftovers, where you essentially have heavily inspired people from all over the continent, not really wanting to leave the area because they like what it is that they've become during that period and they kind of just hitchhike around and camp.
[00:05:07] Of course, the weather is still very nice after Shambala. So, you know, for about a month, you get a lot of people kind of lingering around. And they're all just really inspired and looking to create something new for themselves. So I think that's pretty much the thing that I want to say about Shambala is that it's a transformative experience for everyone, but it's also not for everyone. And so definitely, you know, look at the website before you buy a ticket.
[00:05:35] Yeah,. It was so good. So we're on a bike cycling through. We were inbound. And we met a guy that big shout out, Donald, and he was saying like, oh, you guys should come to Shambala. Like, it's kind of Canada's answer to Burning Man before it became crushed by Silicon Valley, like when it was really what it was meant to be. Totally. And I was like, wow, that's. That sounds really cool. So we really liked the idea of going there. And then we were doing our own kind of 10 bucks a day. So the four hundred dollars for a ticket or whatever it was, was was not going to stretch. Then we managed to wangle a while. We sent our four applications, actually. And thenfor like volunteering mass in exchange for ticket. And then we didn't end up hearing back and we were just like, you know, OK, let's just jump in with some people and people going in an RV down there anyway. And we were like, let's just go and we'll see what happens. And even if we don't get a ticket, something funny will happen from it. So we just ended up. Yeah. Jumping in this RV with these two people that we didn't know. And it was absolutely great. We had a really good fun ride. We met them in a car park, just jumped in this in this RV. And it was it was a really good start to an adventure. And we just heard really good things. And the whole vibe of it was fantastic. Like, it was very unusual at the door for people to kind of be hiding the booze, but let leaving the drugs in the pockets. And it's normally that go around in the UK, everyone's craving the drugs and then they're like happy to keep the booze in the hand. But there is kind of open policy on and the thing that kind of like grows in the ground. Right. But no booze. So that was that that was like the first kind of interesting thing about it. And then I just noticed lots of naked people. I very quickly I was like, wow, very nice and liberal here. It was is a beautiful spot. There's that river running through the Salmon River or whatever it's called. And yeah, it is. I just felt like something special is gonna happen here. And we were out we were on this big adventure anyway, kind of trying new things and embracing different ways of life and learning a meeting, lots of different people. And it was just fantastic. It was so great.
[00:07:53] My work ended up not really being work. I was in Lost and Found and they'd booked too many people to work in the in the lost and found booth. So on my other shift of four, they were like, well, we've already got too many people so you can just go and party. So that was shift one done. I went straight to the dance floor with my manager and it that was us.
[00:08:17] It was fantastic. Yeah, too. Too many to mention. For now. Let's get on with the podcast.
[00:08:22] It sounds like it was a really good, really good experience and always makes me happy to hear people's positive Shambhala experiences. So thank you for sharing a little bit about that. It's a small world. It's incredible that you've been so close to where I am right now.
[00:08:35] Yeah, yeah. I definitely felt the kind of afterglow effect of inspiration. And it was kind of a insight into what life could be like if everyone was just really nice to each other and not in a kind of over the top fake way either. Just people talk that there's kind of different social norms that where it's fine to talk to people you don't know, it's fine to just kind of dance however you like. It's fine to do whatever your feeling as long as, you know, you're not kind of getting in anyone else's space. And I really loved that. I know what you mean. The kind of feeling of getting back to reality after that you think are a match in the world if we all lived this way and. Yeah.
[00:09:16] I don't know how practical it is, but it's a really interesting insight into what society could be like if it was organized in like this very loving and embracing way.
[00:09:27] Precisely. Yeah. I mean, people I know people who've who've come back from that and immediately felt that way. And then the next thing you know, they're down in Peru, like rebuilding, you know, shelters after an earthquake or something like that. You know, like it's just it makes people want to do something completely different. And so, yeah, that's why I'm so happy that you have that experience and that we were able to just connect on that level of all of all things.
[00:09:52] Yeah. Yeah. We'll have to go back there one day. I still got an email. My girlfriend and I are always like, oh, it's going to be great. But yeah. Yeah. So llet's dig into it a little bit.
[00:10:03] Okay. You mentioned that you're kind of near the border near ish Nelson. Can you just tell us a little bit about where and how you grew up to get things started?
[00:10:13] I was born in downtown Toronto, Ontario. That's the largest city in Canada. I went to high school there.
[00:10:21] I started going to college there for computer science, where I realized that I had spent the first 19 or 20 years, whatever it was at that time, basically just doing what other people had told me to do. And and that had gotten me into a computer science program in college. But I'd never actually woken up in the morning and asked myself, what do I want to do?
[00:10:42] What do I want to do today? As opposed to just saying, OK, well, will I do my homework now or will I do it later? And I, I realized that I, I could complete that program in time.
[00:10:53] But I first needed to learn the most important thing, which was not about C++ or Java at the time. It was about who who is Benjamin Jordan. And so I dropped out of school and I literally just started following my gut. And that led me into this crazy career of fashion photography, of all things. I pursued that for about six or seven years in Toronto until that kind of got a little bit old.
[00:11:18] And I discovered paragliding and so paragliding, it was just this amazing thing that I was a brand new and I learned to soar sand dunes down in New Zealand on my first ever sort of traveling trip. I went down there for a month, which was crazy at the time, to go anywhere for more than two weeks, you know, on vacation. Anyway, when I came back, I realized when I got back to Toronto, I realized kind of like, you know, people realize I realized after Shawn Blah, that they're never gonna be the same. That I didn't really have any choice in the matter. I had to stop creating commercial advertising. I need to start creating inspiring adventure art. And so that in turn led me out west. And because I was not able to fly a paraglider out west, which was actually my initial game plan. into my lap fell this incredible opportunity to skateboard across Canada, which I didn't think I could do because it just sounds ridiculous even now when I say it. But because of my background in photography, I was invited to participate as a documentary photographer. And in the end I just ended up skateboarding the whole thing with the guys. And I never went back. I gave away everything that I had before I left my futon, my, you know, my duvet cover, my everything except for my guitar, my skateboard, my camera. And I left back with friends in Toronto and I had nothing to go back to. So I never went back then. I guess for about the last 10 or so years, I've been living in British Columbia and I found myself here in the Slokan Valley, which is not far from the town of Nelson. And it's an old draft dodger sort of hide out. And now it's just full of hippies and adventure. People like me.
[00:13:00] That sounds like a great place to be. We found that all of the draft dodging centers were filled with very interesting people like we were up in Hornsby. That is kind of a almost like a commune, but maybe not that organized of draft dodgers from the states. And it was just full of fascinating people, great organic food, lots of naked people, and mainly it mainly around 70 plus.
[00:13:25] So it was swings and roundabouts. But yeah, it always attracts an interesting bunch. But I'd really like to go back to that was awesome to hear a bit of your story and give some context, but what do you think caused that initial reflection? Well, a lot of people don't have, which is kind of you live your life on autopilot. There's a lot of cultural expectations around what people do, whether that be societal or parental. And then you just kind of keep going. And most people don't stop until they get older. So did was that. Was there a kind of an epiphany moment or was it slow unfolding?
[00:14:06] No, it was it was it was pretty stark epiphany moment. It's very personal. And it was a bit of a tangent that I didn't want to just jump on, but I'm very happy to talk about it.
[00:14:14] So I had spent my time growing up, like most people, just doing what the teachers wanted. What my parents wanted. Just trying to be a good, good kid and grow up to become a successful adult with, you know, the 2.5 kids and the and the white picket fence and all that. That sounds so good. But I had spent my entire high school familiarizing myself with computers, and that was largely because I was afraid socially. I did not know how to interact with women especially. I was very intimidated. And it was in my first year of college that I did at a party come have an interaction with a woman, and I was able to magically transform that into a date. You know, the following weekend and I went out on that date and that date went so bad and it was all my fault. And it was like I was washing it in the third person. I was talking nonstop. About myself, I had really nothing interesting to say. I was all over the place. I was so nervous. And when that date ended, I mean, it was it was like pulling off a Band-Aid slow. I mean, like it was very clear that there was not going to be another one and that this girl that I had thought would be very excited about meeting me was really not excited to ever see me again. And that bugged me to no end, because as a computer programmer, a problem solver, I like to be able to open something up and take a look at what's going on here and find the solution. But I could not find the solution to this. I could not understand what it was about me that would basically be so unlikable. And it drove me nuts. And I realized that I knew so much about assembly language. I knew how to set up Web servers. I knew how to take down Web servers if I didn't like them. I could do all these things, but I couldn't crack my own code. I didn't know who I was. And to me, even now, in this moment, that just sounds so ridiculous that here I am. I think I was 19, maybe 20 at the time. I can remember exactly. But I realized that, like, now I've gotten this far through life and I know all of this stuff that I learned in school. My parents have taught me in whatever how to be a good person. But to answer the question, who is Ben? I had no answer. And I realized that before I keep going on with my life, i.e. college and marriage and house and where do I live and what do I do for the rest of my life? I should first know the foundation upon which I'm standing. So who am I? And so I essentially decided to drop out of school and drop into life. And by that, I mean just do whatever I needed to do, expose myself to whatever circumstances I need to expose myself to to be able to figure out the answer. That question, who am I? And I I did I did answer that question. And I have had to answer that question again and again and again, I guess, over the last 15 somewhat years.
[00:17:18] And more and more like 20 years. Now, I suppose, to again reinvent myself and find the satisfying answer to the question, who am I? And that was the greatest thing I ever did.
[00:17:32] Mm hmm, yeah. It really makes me think of the kind of Greek aphorism that's so bandied around, so common. Just know thyself.
[00:17:42] But it really is a kind of one of the most important priorities that they had in ancient Greece was to discover who you are and what you're made of in society is so different now.
[00:17:52] It's an education is learning to be successful in a kind of post-industrial era as opposed to teaching you to discover who you yourself are or how to live.
[00:18:05] Well, like the whole practice of philosophy is, is about finding wisdom. Right. About how to live well, about how to navigate your way through the world. And that's something that we don't teach people now.
[00:18:16] And I think that's a major shortcoming of kind of society now with all the great things that it has, not being able to go through so much of life, but then kind of not really knowing who you are is something that's really important to do, right?
[00:18:33] Absolutely. There's so much talk about doing what you love, you know, and the rest will follow you do what you love and the money will come in. And that's all that's all great. That's all very true. But at what point do you discover what it is that you love? Because I wasn't able to do that at the age of 18 when I was signing up for my four or five year college and university programs that would, you know, put me into debt for the rest of my life, essentially, and require me to work in that field until I retired.
[00:19:00] I had no clue I was just a kid. And maybe I would have had a clue had I not been, you know, obliged to go to, like, legally required you to stay in school all that time. I think it's great that I went to school, but at the same time, there needed to be some sort of period where I got to just go out into the world and make a few mistakes, you know, that weren't graded. But to judge myself and to figure out what is it that makes me happy, what are the things that really make me tick? OK, great. Now I'll go and invest my time and energy into becoming great at that.
[00:19:30] Yeah, yeah, exactly. It's a big it's a very brave way to approach life. It's very anti-Western to kind of follow your gut. As you mentioned before, we're more about kind of planning and risk minimization and following the crowd. So it seems like a real stark contrast.
[00:19:49] So you kind of have this moment where you were like, you know, I really want to find out who I am. But that's kind of a world apart from the normal approach to life. How did you make sure that you kept on following your gut? And what did it look like, your decision making? And and how did that affect you?
[00:20:06] Well, things started going really great for me the moment I dropped out of school. I'm not saying that that's the path for everyone, but for me, that was what was in my gut and that worked out really well. Immediately, I started getting work as a sort of a computer technician, building Web servers for companies that afforded me the ability to move downtown, which definitely increased my social game. I finally figured out how to, you know, speak to strangers, men and women and make that work for me. I started feeling really good inside, just as someone who is working in that in that world. And every time I had an idea, I thought, you know what? Let's not let that idea fizzle out. Let's write it down and let's see what's involved. So I had this crazy idea that it would be awesome. I probably saw someone doing a photoshoot on the street to get out and take pictures for a living. What would that involve? And, you know, long story short, I got a camera, made some business cards and started advertising that that was something that I could do. And on the job, I learned how to do it and it became this really rewarding career. So what I was finding was that the things that I was the most afraid of, the things that got me really excited, but kind of, you know, I start I felt fear around with the things that were challenging me to grow. And so that ultimately led me to probably the epitome of this, which is when I saw paraglider on a television screen and I was having a bit of a down moment my life. And I saw this paraglider and I felt that same fear. I felt this little voice that just said, like, you can't do that. And I said to a little voice, I'm like, Why? Why can I not do that thing? What what's up with that? And I made this long list of reasons I can't do it, like, OK, I'm too fat. I would need a car. It's expensive. I can't do that in Canada, you know, yada, yada, yada. I had this long list. Apparently I was an expert on why it was that I could not do this thing that I knew nothing about. And so I decided to research that thing. And Google was new at the time, but it worked well. And I discovered that each and every one of those things was incorrect and that I wasn't so upset that I was afraid of the thing.
[00:22:13] But I was upset that I was willing to lie to myself so that I wouldn't have to face that fear. So it sort of as a as a punishment, if you will. I decided that I was going to sign up for a course and just see what happened. And basically what happened is I fell in love. I fell in love. I felt what I would call true love for the first time. My whole life. And when I thought back to myself. Two weeks earlier, when I was just terrified of this idea, I developed this concept that basically fear and love were the same thing. The only difference was that fear was love, where elements were unknown and their love was fear, where elements were known. And since then, my entire philosophy has just been to ask myself, what am I most afraid of? OK, let me do that thing. Because once I've done that thing, I will find a feeling of love around the corner. And that has satisfied me time and time again and essentially just been the philosophy that I've lived by ever since that stark moment when I decided that I need to discover who I was.
[00:23:17] I’d loveove to hear more about your kind of first big adventure than you or skateboarding skateboarding's. So you got this offer to join these guys as the photographer. Given the kind of up to photography game, what was that like? What was the experience like? How can you decide to stay all the way? Was that kind of gateway to more adventure?
[00:23:36] You know, when I got back from New Zealand, you know, this big one month trip, again, this is the biggest trip I'd ever been on at that point, the furthest I've ever been away from home. I was super inspired. I got back and I was like, okay, I need to take my photography game and I need to somehow transform that into something that works to help me earn a living paragliding.
[00:23:55] So my idea is. All right, well, I'll become a aerial photographer for this. This is back in 2004 before drones were so popular. And that seemed like a really good idea to me. So I was like, all right, how am I going to advertise myself? And my idea, my great idea was to fight, become the first person to fly a paraglider across Canada. That was what I wanted to do. But I had no idea how I was going to do it. And I was scared shitless because I couldn't even convince myself that I could do it. But I felt like I needed to start convincing businesses, sponsors and stuff that I could do it so that I would be able to finance it. So I remember I gave myself a whole year. I said, all right, I got a year to get this crap together. I'm going to paraglider across Canada. It's gonna be insane. It's going to be a record. Everyone's gonna know my life's going to change.
[00:24:43] And, you know, I guess about 10 months in to that year, I kind of took stock of the situation and realized I had not done anything really to that end. I didn't know where to start. And most of my free time was spent doing the thing that I really loved to do. And this was organizing skateboarding events in the city. I loved it. I loved putting them together. I love when people show up. I love the energy. I love the affirmation that I got from it. It felt so good to me. And as opposed to paragliding across Canada, I. Or paragliding in general. It was something that I felt very qualified inside of and very comfortable inside of, as opposed to something I felt very new to and very underqualified inside of. All this to say that I felt and I often felt guilty like as if I was wasting my time putting these events together and not sitting with my book in my cold calls and trying to make this big dream happen.
But what ended up happening about 10 months into that year that I give myself was because of the popularity of my events and because of the popularity that had created for myself as someone who puts these together. I got an email from these three guys that were in Halifax. They were students, the university there. They're wrapping up their studies and they wanted to do something big. They wanted to skateboard across Canada for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. And they contacted me because they wanted me to organize an event in Toronto when they came through to help them fundraise for their cause. So, of course, this led to a phone call. And the craziest thing happened on the phone call. I realized that these guys were like normal people. They weren't, you know, Olympic athletes. They were just, you know, Kraft dinner, student loans, you know, normal guys. And that inspired me. That made me realize that if these guys could do that, then I could do that. And whereas I was not qualified to ride a ah sorry fly paraglider across Canada at the time, I was just new to paragliding. I'd been skateboarding my whole life. And if they could do it, I could do it. So I basically proposed to them that I do that. And that same day I gave my notice on my apartment. I have to give two months notice. It was perfect timing in the city of Toronto. And yeah, I gave everything away in order to be a part of this thing. And that trip worked out incredibly well. We barely had a dime to our name.
We didn't know how we were going to do it. We'd spent every penny that we had on an RV to act as our support vehicle, which we needed. And we literally just started skateboarding from the Atlantic Ocean in Halifax. I remember we had about a thousand dollars between us. It was enough to get us in terms of gas and like buying cans of beans. Maybe to Montreal. And so I stopped into the first gas station and I asked them, hey, would you like to contribute to our cause? Or we're raising funds for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Skateboarding across Canada. And the people at the gas station said, you know what? We don't we can't we can't do that, but, you know, we can give you 20 bucks of gas and this massive light went off my head and I realized that we didn't need big sponsors behind our event in order to make it happen. We actually just needed to ask for what we needed from thousands of people. And if everyone just gave us a little bit that we could actually make it. And in the end, I probably walked into like 500 gas stations, you know, across the entire country. But we didn't pay a cent for gas or for food. And we were able to do the entire thing on a shoestring. And in the end, raised over a million dollars for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. And I realized in that moment inside of that journey that I didn't need the support of major companies. I didn't need them to see what it was that we were doing and believe in it. All I needed to do was inspire people on an individual basis and that each person would help me get get along until I reach that next person. And that journey ended up being the building block for everything else that followed, including this big dream that I'd had. This was something that I couldn't have done without the stepping stone. Although at the time I didn't realize it. So the moral of that for me was that I hadn't wasted any time planning those skateboarding events. That was what I was called to do at the time because it felt really good to me. And that that person that I was inside of, that was the person that was invited by the universe to take this step. I don't want to call it a baby step. It was not a baby step. It was five months and nine days of grit and fundraising and talking, skateboarding. Laughing But it was what allowed me to do everything else is open the door. And so to just remind myself and your listeners that as long as you're doing what it is that you feel is right in the moment, that that big dream that you have, whatever it is for you, is on its way. You're just on your journey. And your journey is not to be judged because your journey is personal. No one's ever done it before. No one will ever do it again. And as long as it feels good. Just keep going.
[00:29:39] Hmm. It's amazing how the kind of circuitous route in the end often turns out to be a necessary one. You have this kind of goal in mind at the end and you are maybe not living from your kind of gut, but instead you think that you have to push over the certain dominoes in order to get to where you're going. And then life takes you in a different direction. But so many times I've ended up not going directly towards my kind of goal, but doing something that is then in some strange way ended up with me getting to either a new place that I want to go more so or actually landed me, landed me there. I think just the kind of following opportunities when they arise is such a fantastic thing to do. And putting yourself in those positions, like I think a lot of people think that certain people are lucky. And I don't really subscribe to that. I think partially so. But I think people really create their own luck. And I started to observe that with others. And so now, for example, like when I went on my bicycle ride in France, I just took my microphone and my computer, even though I had to carry it all the way and it wasn't ideal.
[00:30:49] And I thought, well, am I really going to find anybody to podcast where they don't even speak French? I'm cycling through the French countryside, and then I ended up staying at this house and the guy of the husband of the lady who I'd organized, it would turn out to be a world class mountaineer. And so we had an amazing time and did a fantastic podcast and put so putting yourself in those positions, it's just it's so incredibly powerful. I really like that part of your story. Kind of like having faith in and organizing those skate skateboarding competitions that then led you to ultimately this this big opportunity and then from there into your journey into into into paragliding.
[00:31:31] Absolutely. I can't stress enough. And it's hard even for myself, having lived that so vividly, to be able to remind myself that it is not always a direct route. But as long as it feels good, then it's worthwhile, even if it doesn't lead there. It felt good and feeling good is like no one, at least for me to be able to accomplish whatever it is I need to accomplish.
[00:31:58] It was a really nice insight from you on the fact that you don't need big sponsors for your trips as well. The precise people are willing to. I do. I think that's something that a lot of people don't know. So listeners who have this idea of a lot of people get in touch with me and say they'd love to do these big adventures. But, you know, there are only so many sponsorships out there and it's extremely competitive. And so it is really hard and you can spend a long time doing that. But to hear your story of in fact. Well, you don't need to do that. You can inspire that kind of mini. Donations. Donations to the cause along the way. And that can get you there as opposed to just having a big lump sum from some brand.
[00:32:41] Absolutely. And now it's wonderful because there is, you know, these mechanisms that make it easy for people to do. You know what? It's now been coined as crowdfunding, which is essentially what we were doing. But crowdfunding not just let me fund today. And if it works out, then I'll do the thing tomorrow. That's one approach. But to remember that the good old, you know, the good old grit approach is to crowdfund in the moment and to just start today with whatever you have, as long as you can start and then make it work and cross each bridge when you get to it because you will cross that bridge. It may not be comfortable, but you will get across.
[00:33:21] Hmm. Any advice for people who are kind of I can imagine people are listening, thinking that sounds great, but that's really not me. I'm not very ostentatious.
[00:33:31] I guess your story is a really good example of the fact that, you know, you described yourself as not the most sociable person and found it a little bit difficult. But then you transition to having to watch people every day and even asking them for donations and to help you guys out.
[00:33:47] Absolutely. I mean, first of all, people listening to your podcast, they may be saying that at the same time they're they're looking to get out of that that rut if they are, in fact, in it. And certainly we all are at times, myself included. So I'll be happy to listen back to this and learn lessons from this interview as well.
[00:34:06] But, yeah, this stuff isn't too big for anybody. And if a computer geek can become a world traveling fashion photographer and a scaredy pants can become a professional paraglider pilot, then I don't know what isn't possible. You know, here's the big thing that I kind of glossed over with this.
[00:34:25] This concept of stopping in at every single gas station as I skateboarded across Canada task for 10, 20 bucks of gas to go into our tanks that we keep going. I had to get used to two things. One, this concept that to get what you need, all you have to do is ask. But if you don't ask, you don't stand a chance to get what you need. Growing up in the city, as most people in this world have, we know we're taught to be very autonomous and not step on other people's toes, you know, give people space. I had to unlearn all of that in order to walk up to, you know, an attendant at the gas station, say, can I speak with your manager? OK, now I've got the manager. Hi, my name is Benjamin. This is what I'm doing. Would you please help me with this?
And then the other big thing, and this just came with time, but it didn't come easy, was to be okay with people saying no. And the reason that I couldn't ask all those big companies for support is that I was not willing to have them say no when I told them that I wanted them to believe in me. Because to me, what that meant with that would have meant, of course, I couldn't see it so clearly at the time. I was just caught up in my own insecurities. But to me, what that would have meant is that they that were saying no. Your idea is not a good idea and we will not support you. You shouldn't be doing this. You're bothering us. And that's not what they're saying. They're just saying, you know, know that we have something else that we're already doing. We can't include you in our program this year. And that's really all it is. And it was going up to every single gas station and being told no by at least 50 percent, if not more of them. That I learned how to become tenacious and to go out into the world and just ask for what I want and start by being comfortable with the idea of hearing. No. Once I got comfortable with the idea of hearing, no, I could ask for anything. Would you give me some gas? Would you give me some food? Could you give me a job? You want to go out with me? Like whatever it is, the things I could never ask before. All of a sudden, you know, the world was my oyster. All because I was happy to hear. No, because hearing no meant that at least I'd had the courage to ask.
[00:36:38] Yeah. Two fantastic insights. Think it's especially hard for British and Canadians because like you say, we're taught to be so polite and to never ask anybody for anything. But when you do, it really opens up so many options. The big one that I just came to mind was when we were camping and it was it was cycling through Central America. And a lot of it's very safe. A lot of it some of it's very sketchy. And honestly, just asking somebody, can we pitch a tent in your garden? Yeah, it's a little bit weird. And they probably haven't had many people ask them. But if you just ask if they if they just say no, that's completely fine. Either you haven't wronged them and nothing. There's there's been no kind of mal exchange or bad behavior. It's just your asking and there's no twisting arms. There's no forcing. It's just saying, look, please. Could you help me with this? And if they say no, absolutely fine. But some of the best connections with people that we had were also when people were really happy to help and they wanted to get involved. And you could see that it was making making them very happy, like they were feeling kind of fulfilled. And did it you know what it's like when you help somebody out. It feels great whether you, you know, give money to charity or help somebody out with something or help an old lady with the shopping bags like it feels good to help people. So another way that I was thinking about it was don't rob other people of the chance to feel good for helping you to just by asking, because if you're like you say, your own insecurities.
[00:38:12] Absolutely. That's a great philosophy. I don't. Don't steal that enjoyment from them. They're waiting for an opportunity to do something good. It will make their day better. And you could be that opportunity. And maybe you're not the opportunity, you know, but to not ask is actually to be selfish. And furthermore, even if you had gets nine no's and for one. Yes, that one. Yes. Somehow trumps all of those notes such that you don't remember them. You don't care about them. And you realize that they were all just a part of the journey to getting that one. Yes. And so, again, something that I need to remind myself today when looking for four sponsors for expeditions is that I'm going to get nine no's for every. Yes. And if I'm not out there asking, you know, 10, 20, 30 people, businesses to support me, then I'm not going to see as many as one, two or three sponsors for an expedition. People really do want to help. It's just a question of is it a fit?
[00:39:11] Absolutely so. So let's let's dig into paragliding. This is kind of your you know, your baby. This is your baby. Yeah. I just love it. So you mentioned that you fell in love with paragliding, and I've always wanted to give it a go, but I've just not found the opportunity yet. So can you just talk a little bit more about what it is that you loved about paragliding, your journey into it, and then the big well, you've had lots of biggies. But let's let's start there first.
[00:39:41] Let me just give you the feeling, because it's the feeling that I fell in love with. Not so much, you know, that the specifics of what's possible. So there you are.
[00:39:50] You've got a backpack. It doesn't weigh very much. It's got everything you need for you to literally spread your wings and climb up into the sky. Now you're floating around and with very little input, literally just pulling on the right side of the left side, which comes somehow comes really naturally to humans.
[00:40:09] You can turn yourself to the right to left 360 degrees. You can find areas of of air that are moving up for areas of area that are moving down. You can connect with those and you can control your position in a three dimensional space. You can look down on the earth that you were just standing on minutes ago and see it from an entirely new perspective. You're weightless in a way, swinging around like a kid on a swing, but in three dimensions with the most incredible view you've ever imagined. No matter where you launch from, it's going to be new every single time. And on top of that, although it feels like it would be unsafe when you're not familiar with it, the more you get to know it, the more you realize that it's incredibly safe. And so when you're flying, you don't have this feeling of adrenaline rushing or, oh, my God, what's going to happen? Am I going to die today? You feel like you're growing constantly. And it's got to be the closest thing, I think, to what it would feel like to be a bird.
So if I hasn't sold everybody in the world on paragliding, I don't know what would. But that's what woke me, is this incredible feeling of seeing everything with fresh eyes like I was a newborn baby. This beautiful coastline just got even more beautiful. And the higher I got, it got even more beautiful. And then when I got old, I could fly down the coastline and I could discover even more beauty, new things that I hadn't seen before.
I believe that the definition of beauty is the unknown, becoming known, the unknown, exposing itself. When we're in a dark room and we all of a sudden shine a light on a painting that we hadn't seen before. It can feel very beautiful. If we see the same painting that we've seen many times, we often lose the sense of that beauty. But when you see it for the first time, which is what paragliding allows you to do, you discover beauty. Even in an area where you may you might have grown up, you might be very familiar. So that was my experience, was basically just love in beauty and abundance and probably like someone might get addicted to, you know, some narcotics. I very quickly became addicted to this abundance of love and beauty that was just circulating from my heart and into my brain and back into my heart. So that's how it all began. And I realized I might be on a bit of a tangent. So if you could distract me back to know that was that that was so good.
[00:42:39] I think we might have to leave it here. And I'm going to go paragliding for little while.
[00:42:43] Little back up in about three hours. Certainly did a great job of puiquing my interest.
[00:42:50] I'm going to have to have a look for this very soon. Well, that yeah. I was really just interested in your journey into paragliding and what it was that interested you about it. And that was exactly what I wanted to to to hear, like your feeling of how it affects you. And so from there, you obviously became a very accomplished pilot and then you had this idea to fly the spine of the Canadian Rockies. And that's obviously been a long journey. But what was the genesis behind the idea and how was that adventure? How did that unfold?
[00:43:23] Well, when I got out west. It was exactly as scary as I thought it would be. I didn't know anybody. I didn't have any clients. I didn't have any real way of making money. I didn't want to go back into computers or fashion photography. I wanted to do this new thing. I convinced myself that if I could skateboard across Canada, I could do anything. But again, I was stuck in this paradox of not knowing where to start. I knew I was great, but I didn't know how to expose that greatness. And very quickly, I ended up developing a serious drinking problem because I became very anxious. I was not happy with the way that things were going. I would pacify myself starting probably at like three or four o'clock everyday when I'd just beat my nerves were just beyond me with a significant amount amount of alcohol and in over the course of about a year. This is after I had this amazing journey across Canada on the skateboard. And this, you know, this life changing event, I became a full blown alcoholic. I put on probably about 50 pounds and I was completely lost. And I I realized that I needed help. I didn't know how to ask for it. And I decided that I was going to travel to somewhere I could paraglider. But that would get me totally out of my element because everyone that I was hanging out with was drinking. I was not able to separate myself from this issue that I was having. So I went to Nepal.
Nepal is a famous place for paragliding. And at the time, I still was very rookie pilot. I didn't know much about paragliding, but I knew that if I wanted to get good at this thing, this paragliding thing that I felt I had, I had once felt, although I'd lost track of it for a bit, there was my life purpose. I needed to treat it like I was Olympic athlete. And what an Olympic athlete did, I assumed, was that they train every single day in the absolute best environment for training. So I remove myself from this drinking environment and I put myself into a paragliding environment. I bought a plane ticket to Nepal and I bought the return ticket for five months from that day. So I've gone from travelling for, you know, a month to New Zealand now to travelling five months in Nepal and really throwing myself into that. And I came back from that journey sober and refreshed and let's call it at that time, still an intermediate level paraglider pilot. But way beyond where I was, that was crucial because it was during that time of sobriety and reflection that I realized that I could fly a paraglider across Canada, a powered paraglider, to be specific. It's a paraglider. But now with the addition of a small fan on my back so that I can launch from the ground as opposed to having to launch your mountains because there aren't mountains all the way across Canada. I just needed to do the exact same thing that I did with the skateboarding. So I got some support. I got a support vehicle and I literally just started on the west coast of Canada. And little by little, we stopped at every single gas station across the country. Sometimes I would even get on the radio with them. I'd be flying over the gas station from the sky and I would talk to the manager of the gas station over the radio. And I had to ask them, can you please put some gas in our school bus?
[00:46:34] I'm doing this saying I'm raising funds to help send kids from low income homes to camp. Please help me do this. This means so much to me and to so many people. And it worked.
[00:46:43] And with that, I set a new world record for longest running by powered paraglider of eight thousand kilometers. And I was able to make my first film, my first book, and start doing speaking presentations to kids and what have you. So that was the really big shift that happened. And that was step two after my little alcoholic break after the after the skateboarding. And so that changed everything for me. And that put me into this incredible tailspin of positive change where I was now doing things like just asking myself, all right, I can do anything, I could do anything, what do I want to do? And I would hear little voices in my head say, go to Africa, like teach someone to Paraguay that would never have the opportunity to paragliders and make a film about that and show that film to the world. And so I did that. I went to Malawi and I found someone who'd always wanted to fly but never had the means, and of course, no one had ever flown in that country before. It's, I think, the technically the poorest country on the planet, but it has mountains and it has good people. And I met this great guy and he became his country's first paraglider pilot. And I made a film about it. And, you know, took that took the money from that, went back there, built a paragliding school there. That's still happening. It's called the School of Dreams. TheSchoolofDreams.org is the Web site for that, if anyone's interested. And so things just started going really great. And that started from the depths of a serious year of alcohol abuse and full-blown alcoholism.
[00:48:12] And so that is a really short version of about 10 years of my life. But that got me to a place where I realized, like, OK, I can do anything, I can literally do anything. I just have to want it bad enough. And it began with me doing the thing that everybody said was not possible, but that everybody out here wanted to do, which was to fly a paraglider from Vancouver to Calgary. And after 10 years of thinking about that and listening to everyone's opinions about why it couldn't be done, I decided to create a new opinion about why it could be done as I did it. And I did five paraglider from Vancouver to Calgary, two thousand six, I think it was. Yeah.
[00:48:49] And so then two years later, I felt inspired to fly the most demanding portion of badgering, which was the Rocky Mountains, as opposed to flying from west to east. I decided that it was time for someone to fly the entire spine of Canada's Rocky Mountains. And I realized that if it wasn't me, it was going to be someone else. And that this was my dream. And it didn't matter what anyone said, that I was going to prove that it could be done or it couldn't be done. But I was going to prove that by by doing as opposed to just hypothesizing. So here's the deal. It is illegal to paraglider in national parks in North America. It is illegal to launch a paraglider and it is illegal to land a paraglider. And I have a friend and he is maybe 20 years, 30 years older than me. I'm not sure he's a great guy. Stuart Midwinter. And he's been flying hang gliders in Canada since like the 70s. So he's like a legend out here. And I've learned a lot from him. And he used to live in Jasper National Park. He always wanted to fly this credible ridge. This incredible show, Your Face in Jasper National Park called the Endless Chain. But of course, he couldn't because it was not allowed to fly in the parks. And so he held onto this dream. And about four years ago, thanks to the hard work of some other paraglider pilots in Canada, Jasper became the only national park in North America to open its doors to paragliding. Now, all of a sudden, we were allowed to launch or land or paragliders in Jasper, which is incredible.
[00:50:20] The only national park in North America. Fortunately for my friend Stewart, he suffered a serious injury in two thousand and twelve, I think it was and was he was not never able to fly again. This shook the whole community. And I took from that that, you know, we sometimes have these dreams of things that we want to do, but we think that more maybe I'll get to it next year or maybe I'll get to it next year. But without really considering that there may not be a next year for us. And he was so inspiring to me inside is really making me realize that, like, I don't know what my life is going to look like next year. I don't know if I'll be able to fly next year.
[00:51:03] And with that, I became absolutely hell-bent on not only flying the endless chain ridge for the first time that's ever been done to see that through, but to fly across the entirety of Jasper National Park because we can. And that's only permitted on a trial basis. So if I didn't do it today, then it it might not have happened ever. And that turned into this major, major plan to fly the length of the Canadian Rockies. And of course, I asked Stewart to be my weather guy and my support for the journey. I didn't tell anybody that I was going to do it, mainly because I don't like it when people tell me why it's not going to be possible. But I did tell Stuart and together via Satellite Messenger. He was able to monitor my progress, make sure that I was still safe. But I didn't need any help and send me weather updates every day because where I was located, I was not able to get cell service often. And so he was able to work with me on that.
[00:52:04] So step by step, we walked across the border from U.S. into Canada, from Montana into British Columbia. And I climbed a mountain and he sent me the weather. I said, I'm launching. I'm gonna go for it. And it was amazing. I could not express to you the feeling of just starting. You know, I had a twelve hundred kilometer journey ahead of me, but just having gotten that first kilometer under me. I mean, you know what it's like on your on your on your bike touring. It's I mean, a it's the best part. It's as good as having completed the journey. Just having started it. And now I'm 80 kilometers in. I've flown 80 kilometers north of the United States border within Canada. And not only have I made this incredible progress, but I'm still way up in the sky.
[00:52:49] And I had the incredible privilege of being able to land on top of the mountain up in a meadow, which meant that I could just set up my tent, make my instant noodles and fly along the next day without having to hike back up mountain. And that's exactly what I did. And I kept doing that for, I guess, about 250 kilometers till I got to this this really, really, really crucial point. So now I'm north of a town called Golden in British Columbia. Ah, sorry, I'm in Golden. And then I fly north of there. But the next move, I either have to fly north along this lake that is 150 kilometers where there's no civilization, nowhere to land except for the lake, of course, which is not what I want to do. Or I have to fly east over the Continental Divide to get back to what I would call civilization. But at least a road that's going to be 50 kilometers of nothing but grizzly terrain. Now, the reason that this is sketchy is because up until this point, I was flying along the valley that had farm fields the entire way. And when people paragliding, the number one rule is always make sure that you've got a landing on glide because you don't know if you're going to find the next invisible rising column of air that's going to get you back up to the clouds or not.
You may think that you know where it is, but you may show up and realize that it's not there. And the next thing you know, you're having to look for a place to land. So now I've got to ask myself, do I believe that I can fly across the Continental Divide, 50 to 60 kilometers of nothing but crevasses, raging rivers and thick forests, where if I got hung up to one of those trees, you know, best case scenario, I would probably be ending up a bedtime snack for a grizzly bear. And I remember in that moment circling, looking at that at the divide, thinking, OK, well, that's the way I have to go. I have to go off the divide. But I couldn't make the choice. And what kept happening to me was I kept hearing these voices in my head. These voices were voices that were very familiar to me, but so familiar that I couldn't even really hear them till I thought back to the whole situation. And these voices were voices of people essentially criticizing me for having tried to do it, but gotten in trouble, gotten hurt.
[00:55:02] So a voice would be something like, geez, why would you have gone that way? That was stupid. Now I hear that in my heart and in my mind, and it would make me feel, well, exactly the way that it would feel if someone was saying that to you. Of course, I was saying this to myself. I did this for the better part of two hours. So long, in fact, that I no longer had enough time to fly across the divide, across the Continental Divide and was forced to fly back to golden 20 kilometers south. That's the wrong direction. And think about, OK, what am I going to do? Can I do this? And I realized that I've gotten this far as I've gotten, but I've gotten that far because I was using the fuel of my rebellion. I was using the fuel of the voices of people essentially saying, wow, I can't believe what Ben did. I can't believe he did this. Everyone said it couldn't be done. But he did it. That@@@@@ that I'm not proud to say that, like, my ego had taken flight as well. But that's what had gotten me that first 250 kilometers. Was that ego and that same ego was what was tripping me up. That ego that considers what is. You know, Brian going to think, what's James going to say about this? When I was trying to make this big move and I realized that like, no, I'm doing this because this is my dream. I'm doing this for me. I'm not doing this because I want to prove James or Brian, Ron or myself. Right. I'm doing this because I want to see if it can be done. And it was only in that moment of realizing, like, I'm doing this for me, not because I want to control what other people say about me that I was able to fly back to that point after a few more days waiting on the storms on on the mountain and look and actually see the line that I did take. And it was incredibly profound moment where I realized, like, I don't know if I'm going to be able to make it across alive or not. I don't know what's going to happen, but I know that this is my purpose and that I don't need to be doing anything on this planet except for experiencing my own purpose. And so kilometer by kilometer, I flew over the Continental Divide and then across Banff National Park, which was completely illegal to land in and dodge storms and all sorts of crazy things, and landed on the other side a completely new person, someone who realized that it does not matter what James or Brian are thinking or saying. All that matters is how I feel about how I am being. With respect to my purpose.
[00:57:26] It was. It was fantastic to hear that. That kind of power of adventure. Right. It can be really formative in who you are as a person. And a bit like you said, you kind of finished and in some sense a different person to the guy who started the journey. And I think that's why most people do it. I think the kind of recognition and the challenging yourself is all part of it. But to really go on the kind of hero's journey, that's why this podcast is called We Need More Heroes from Joseph Campbell's idea of the hero's journey that you leave somebody. You have a kind of call to adventure and you leave just a normal guy or the person that you are. And then you have this kind of quest that comes about as itself to you and there's something challenging and important. Then you go and you have to risk failure. And along the way, you kind of transcend who you are and the old you dies and you come back a new you. And that's, I think, probably the most powerful and compelling part of adventure.
[00:58:28] So it's really great to hear your story embody that for somebody who well, they can see a lot more of the story in the film on your site. So we'll certainly link to that. But for somebody who really likes the idea of dipping their toes into paragliding now, what advice would you give people to start their own journey?
[00:58:47] A lot of people asking about. About getting into paragliding, and I can't recommend it highly enough. First, a little disclaimer. It will change your life dramatically. So if you're in a position in your life where you don't want things to change because they can't or whatever. Don't start paragliding because you will become addicted to it. And it will be the only thing that you can think about, especially for the first few years.
[00:59:12] So it's a wonderful, wonderful way to fly. It requires no fuel. It's relatively inexpensive. You can hike up mountains and fly off of them. You don't need to, you know, drive a car up. You don't need to have road access to places to fly. It only takes about two weeks to learn. If you go to a good school and it's important that you go to a good school, I do not recommend that anyone learn on their own. What a school teaches you is not so much what to do, but what not to do. And once you know what not to do, which isn't that many things, then you know that you're always going to be alive to fly again. And then the way that you learn is you take that basic knowledge of what not to do from the school, and then you go out and you try things that are inside of the parameters of what you can do. And you talk to other pilots and you fly with other pilots and places where they're flying. That's definitely a must for a new pilot is to be flying around other people that have experience in the area where you're choosing to fly. And there's pilots all over the world that are very, very happy to, you know, impart their wisdom on you. Sometimes it comes without you asking. But at the end of the day, everyone's just really excited about this.
Everyone that does it is very passionate about it. And they'll be very excited to welcome you into that community.
For those that say, I love to do something like that, but I'm afraid of heights. That's cool. I'm afraid of heights, too. Your brain computes heights using triangulation of how your eyes cross. When you look at something and when you're really high above something and you have no point of reference, you can't actually calculate the height. So, for instance, if you're standing on the edge of the Empire State Building, you'd be very high. But your mind would be able to determine how high you are because it literally sees the lines at the Empire State Building moving, sort of triangulating to a point of almost zero. And then you realize, OK, well, I'm this high now. Unless you were dangling a big fat string to the ground and you could see that string disappearing from your harness, your brain wouldn't be able to process the height. So what seems like it would be very scary is, in fact, not scary at all. Furthermore, when things do sometimes get a little bit tense because you're so involved, because you're so in the moment, and that is truly what is indicative of paragliding, is this just call to be in the absolute moment of what it is that you're doing. Fear doesn't have the same flavor. It's almost like you don't have enough C.P.U power in your brain to process that fear. You're so involved in the doing that you just do instead of contemplate. So I can sit here right now and I can think about paragliding and I can think. Yeah. Dangling from strings by some fabric. Way up in the sky. That sounds really ridiculous. That sounds really scary. That's a good way to die. But when you're doing it, you're so in the moment of doing it that it makes more sense than anything else.
[01:02:03] It makes more sense than going to work. It makes more sense than making a sandwich. It's like this thing that we are born to do, but somehow we never evolved to be able to do without this tool. And so for anyone who wants to do it, I'd say, you know, don't deny yourself this incredible opportunity. We are living in an incredible day and age where these things are available to us. And if you're so fortunate to be able to make the time and to incur the expense, which, you know, could be somewhere in the two, three, four thousand dollar range to be able to start doing this thing or even just try it at a school, I highly encourage you to block off time in your busy schedule and give yourself the opportunity to feel what that feels like. And if nothing else, go for a tandem passenger, have a professional, take you from whatever mountain you live closest to and and have that experience. And if you don't live close to a mountain, that's cool. There's lots of mountains and lots of great places to travel to all over the world, the Himalayas. You can fly in India and in Nepal, in the Himalayas and go down to Mexico and fly lots different places there, just type paragliding. And what ever place you want to visit into Google and you will find someone who is willing to take you for an incredible ride.
[01:03:20] Oh, I can't wait to give it a go. You have officially sold it. I love mountains. And I must admit, paragliding is not something that I've just really come across too much. But now I think I'm beginning to see a little bit the fascination that you have with it. So we're actually in France. The couple of weeks ago, we were at a place that they did a lot of paragliding. And my girlfriend is afraid of heights. So she kept saying, I don't want to do it because I'm afraid of heights. And now. Now you've take that one off the list. So she's got no excuses. So next time we go. She's going to come along.
[01:03:51] Let me just add to that that it's definitely bring some graval or whatever anti-nausea thing, because there's no reason to be afraid of heights. But 50 percent of the passengers do get Bill. And you don't want to have that spoil your journey. It's it can be bumpy sometimes and not frightening, but bumpy. So if you take some antinausea medications before your flight, you will have a much, much, much more pleasant experience as a passenger. I know people don't like to take that stuff, but I mean, it doesn't happen when you're the pilot. It happens when you're the passenger.
[01:04:23] And so I just don't want anyone to hear this advice and then think, oh, that was shit. I want them to hear it. And I want them to have that experience because they brave enough to try it. And I want them to feel the incredible reward that they deserve to have from from from having the courage to go.
[01:04:38] Amazing. Yeah. I can't wait to give it a go and hopefully listen as you get out and give it a go, too. Sounds like a wonderful adventure. Just before I let you go, Benjamin, a couple of closing questions. Other than your parents, who are some of your heroes or people you look to for inspiration?
[01:04:56] That's a tough question. One guy that I have always looked up to is is a Canadian athlete. He's a world famous ice climber and paraglider pilot. His name is Will Gadd. He's got a lot of really great philosophies on on risk and has definitely motivated me in my life. So major shout out to Will. Wow. The people of Malawi, they have shown me that you do not need to have material possessions to be happy. You just need to be doing whatever it is that you feel is your purpose in life. And if their purpose in life is farming and they're so happy doing that, then what excuse have I got? I have been so inspired by them. And probably the greatest inspiration for me, though, is literally just like the most awesome image that I have of myself. So whatever it is that I feel is the next step for me is literally my inspiration.
[01:05:54] I'm not that guy yet, but I love that guy and I want to be that guy. And even in the moments when I feel desperately alone, like I still have that one guy to look up to, and that is just like the biggest person that I could possibly be.
[01:06:07] Great stuff. Well, Benjamin, thank you so much. It's been really, really wonderful to hear about your story and paragliding and what's best for people to find a little bit more about you.
[01:06:17] If people want to find the main hub for everything that I've spoken about today and everything to come, really the best place to go is just my main Web site, which is just my name, BenjaminJordan.com and. And then that will link you through to everything, everything that you might have heard about today.
[01:06:35] Benjamin, thank you so much for coming on the show. And everybody, thank you for stopping by and listening.
[01:06:40] Thank you, George. Thank you, everyone, for listening. Has been great. So thank you and goodbye.