For These Ladies, Paragliders Offered The Ultimate View Of Iceland. (Video)

Paragliding pilots have the ultimate perch to get out and see the world. For two Icelandic women, a planned camping trip to the highlands of their country turned into one of the most mesmerizing videos I’ve come across.

In July 2011 two girls borrowed a 4×4, filled it with camping gear and paragliders and drove up to the Highlands of Iceland.

They experienced a new side of their own country, found some extreme flying spots and quaint people, learned how to drive across rivers, up mountains and how to read maps.

4 weeks later, having killed the vehicle, they returned and made this film:

I can think of no better excuse to travel than to take up paragliding and meet other pilots around the world. In fact, I plan to do just that. Stay tuned.

Want to learn to really fly? If you live in the U.S. look up a paragliding school close to you. It’s less expensive than you think.

Nat Geo announces People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year

This past November, National Geographic announced their selection for the 2012 Adventurers of the Year, bestowing the honor on a group of 12 very worthy men and women from across the globe. That list included the likes of long distance hiker Jennifer Pharr Davis, who set a new speed record on the Appalachian Trail, and Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, the first woman to climb the highest mountain on the planet without the use of supplemental oxygen. At the time of the announcement, National Geographic also launched a website that allowed the general public to cast their votes for their favorite adventurer. Now, more than 72,000 votes later we have a winner in the People’s Choice category.

The 2012 People’s Choice Adventurers of the Year are Sano Babu Sunuwar and Lakpa Tsheri Sherpa, who gained worldwide attention last May when they climbed to the top of Mt. Everest and paraglided off of the summit. Their 42-minute flight down the Khumbu Valley was simply the beginning of their adventure, however, as they continued their expedition on sea level. The duo rode bikes to the nearest navigable river, then kayaked across the border into India where they eventually paddled onto the Ganges River, leading them all the way to the Indian Ocean.

Along the way, the two men displayed a true sense of adventure. Not only was this a grassroots expedition that didn’t have a sponsor, but also, the travelers were forced to borrow gear from friends just so they could set out on their journey. As if that wasn’t enough, Lakpa had never even set foot in a kayak before and still doesn’t know how to swim, while Babu had no experience as a climber. Not many people complete their first major ascent on the tallest mountain on the planet, yet he was still able to follow his friend to the summit.

You can read more about their amazing story as well as the other Adventurers of the Year by clicking here.

[Photo courtesy of Sano Babu Sunuwar]

Flying a dream: Urban Side

In this flying video we see Jean-Baptiste Chandelier who has been a paraglidiing pilot since 2004 and wants to inspire us all.

“My goal is to share my paragliding universe with my videos, for make everyone dream of flying,” says Chandelier on his website.

Specializing in acro flight, Chandelier flys through Peru, France and Chile using a variety of aero-acrobatic maneuvers and stunt flying, taking advantage of thermal properties of air by bodies of water, beaches, mountains and urban city areas.

“I am happy to present you a video really important for me, the Urban Side. In this video i flight on some really interresting places, and i play with the people. I hope the people inside and out of the paragliding world will like it and share it.”

Urban Side from Jean-Baptiste Chandelier JB prod on Vimeo.

Photo of the Day: Paragliding in France

Today’s positively ethereal image comes to us from Flickr user AdamJamesWilson, who captured this sky-high shot of a paraglider over Lake Serre-Poncon in Southeastern France. I love the image’s “vintage” muted colors, wisps of cloud and silhouetted figure all set against a glistening sun.

Taken any great photos during your travels? Why not add them to the Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.

Video of the Day – Paragliding over Spain

Want to film a catchy music video without a massive budget? Consider grabbing some of your most adventurous friends, getting them to do some outrageous outdoor activity, and then hire a talented editor to overlay some snazzy effects & motion graphics.

Madrid-based editor Jorgiatos recently posted this music video that was shot in and around Castejón De Sos, a town near the Spain-France border that’s well known amongst paragliders. It was shot with several GoPro Hero HD‘s, though the additional effects and titles make it look as if it was filmed with much more substantial equipment.

Do you know of an adventurous music video that we need to see? Send it our way! Leave a comment below and it could be our next Video of the Day.