THE FLYING VAN

I have left THE HOUSE. Since a wee bit more than two weeks I live in my very own mobile home, a flying house on four wheels. My very first automobile is a Nissan Serena from 1991. It might not have the looks or the speed but it's got character! Four weeks ago I bought the van from a couple that just finished their travels on New Zealand. I had a quick and unschooled glimpse at the engine, kicked a few times on the tires and then I tried the incredibly comfortable double bed and decided that it was going to be mine.

The Flying Van

There is only room for driver and a passenger, the rest of the van is a custom built bed and storage area. I travel with almost all my gear except the bicycle. I've invested in a big gasoline stove, a BBQ, fine china, a frying pan, a few big plastic boxes with wheels, slippers, new pants from the thrift store, a table and two foldable seven-dollar chairs. I have curtains and tasteful decoration, a small library of paragliding books, a football, playing cards and a wing to fly with! Life is not bad.

Erik Ohlson Campervan New Zealand
Nissan Serena Nissan Serena NZ
IMG_1346 IMG_1345

I’ve been parked close to the beach and flying slopes at Taylor's Mistake. It’s a great spot and every night I meet fellow campers to share stories with. I wake up with sunrise and assess weather and wind. If flying conditions look favorable I go to the local café for a coffee and then I slowly head up the hill with the flying van and it's fairly old and tired engine. Since I have my kitchen with me at all times I can minimize time on firm ground and quickly cook myself lunch on the hill. On a few occasions I’ve finished the day in a grand way by bringing cold beers. Foggy lagers in the harness, a sunset flight down the slope and a smooth landing next to a bunch of hot bikini girls on the beach: surfers stand no chance.

Camping Taylor's Mistake

Above: A decent wake-up view.

Taylors Mistake Christchurch

Above: A rushed break and quick feed in between flights.

A PARAGLIDING PILOT

After almost two months on New Zealand, 90+ flights and more than 19 hours in the air I’m now a certified PG2 paragliding pilot. My license is international and allows me to fly independently anywhere in the world. I’m stoked with my new obsession and I realize that I’ve found a new planet to explore! There is fantastic flying in countless mountain ranges and coastal areas all over the world.

PG2 license Erik Ohlson Paragliding
Erik Ohlson Paragliding Taylor's Mistake Erik Ohlson Taylor's Mistake

This weekend I did a trip to Nelson with Brad, an experienced paraglider from Christchurch, his girlfriend Jess, his dog Jerry, and Stefan, a traveling surfer from Germany I met at Taylor's Mistake. I flew three new (big) sights and we had a great time together. I'm now back to Taylor’s and Christchurch for another week of flying. On Friday I return to a more nomadic existence and I’ll start exploring other pars of the South Island from above. On the aerial agenda; Nelson (again), Wanaka and Queenstown. It’s summer in the southern hemisphere and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a good one.

Stefan and Jerry

Above: Stefan playing with Jerry. Below: Brad Norton sunset flying at Barnecoat outside Nelson this weekend.

Brad Norton

Don't miss VIDEO: FLYING, some sweet tunes from local band AHORIBUZZ and make sure to follow THE ESCAPE on Facebook! As always, loads of photos in the GALLERY.

/Erik

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