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Free time is short and precious. Tell us how you choose to spend it.
Well, in principle, my free time during the week is dedicated to my family. I have only girls in the house – even the dog is a “she”. I have a 1 year old daughter and an almost 4 years old one and usually, together with my wife, we go out on the surrounding hills, depending on the weather. In the weekend, both my wife and I practice paragliding. So we do this in shifts: in the morning one of us is with the girls at home and the other one goes paragliding and vice versa in the afternoon. Sometimes when we go paragliding on small hills we take the girls with us.

Tell us, in a few words, what is your activity and how long have you been practicing it.
I started this over a year ago, in September. I received as a gift a tandem flight, and because I was crazy about flying, I realized that this is the most economical solution to fly and coolest as well. You can find peace and freedom and it is a form of sport quite demanding in the early stages. And despite the general opinion, paragliding is a very safe sport.

What caused you to opt for this way of spending your free time and what motivates you to continue this activity?
I first began with that flight in a tandem. But I had this passion for flying since I was little. My first flying experience was that my uncle, who is a mechanic at IAR Ghimbav, took me for a flight in a police helicopter. I was in 7th or 8th grade then and that was the moment when I fell in love with flying. I tried an ultra-light airplane and I tried the balloon – only that both of them were quite expensive. Later, I received the paragliding flight as a gift and I said “This is for me!”.

How many hours a day do you dedicate to your passion?
I could say, on the avarage, 1 hour or 2 hours per day.

What knowledge, skills, studies and efforts involves the work you carry out?
There are 5 stages in paragliding, and for each one of them you have to get a license. For this you need a paragliding course providing knowledge on meteorology, aerodynamics and some basic information on physics. You do not need great physical condition, but a minimum is necessary. You must be able to run and pull the paraglide. Anyway… sometimes you pull the paraglide and sometimes it pulls you. It’s a game. For example, we have 75 years old paragliders that come with their backpacks up the mountain and they fly from there.

Do you think studies and work push people away from their passions?
I think this is a choice that each individual takes. You can bear away from a passion or not. Work already represents half of the day and if you want to combine your day with your passion, you can certainly make this choice. I prefer to combine them!

What is the greatest satisfaction or the most important gain you gain from your work?
I think the greatest satisfaction is that I found an activity which I can practice together with my family. I see this activity on a long term, so we are waiting for the kids to grow a little bit and maybe at the age of 16 years they can also do it.

How do you merge work with passion? Do you still have time for yourself and your family?
They go hand in hand now, as I said earlier. It takes a little time to put them on the same path, but if you receive some understanding and support from your partner, the rest will come naturally.

What are your plans for the future?
Clearly, I want to continue with the hobby that I have now! I’ve decided to go through all the stages of paragliding, until I can become an instructor. Because the timeframe is long and you need experience, I can’t say when exactly, but it is definitely a long term goal for me. With the experience gained I would like to create here, in Brasov, with the club where I’m a member a big paragliders’ community to share the pleasure of this sport with many people. Currently, in Romania there are about 3000 of paragliders, in comparison France has got about 30 000 paragliders.

Finja Ostermann-Emden

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