Nine months ago, in September 2014, I was lying on the side of a ten-thousand-foot desert mountain in Turkey, unable to move, struggling to breath. People rescued me, people I knew, people I didn’t. Alone in a Turkish hospital, watching the shadows of objects in my room arc across the floor from dawn to dusk, each day, for weeks, in agony and gratitude, I thought about how death is easy, surviving is difficult. One morning, a bird landed on my window sill, sang for a few moments, then flew away. From that moment, I felt an intense resolve.
For five months, I was unable to walk. Each day, hours of excruciating physiotherapy and training. Pain was my shadow. When I was alone at night, I cried. Then, slowly, steps. Gently. Inside I screamed in rage. More months, winter passed.
I started flying again. Tentatively. Many flights later, on this day, I realized that I was physically and mentally ready to compete again. It was a simple flight with friends: a bright blue sky, beautiful mountains, and rough thermals. With new next-level flying and filming gear, for the first time in over a year, I felt motivated to film again.