Michael comes from one of the most beautiful regions in Germany, the Allgäu — but he is hardly ever at home. He is a paraglider and travels the globe for at least eight months a year. From Albania to Australia via Argentina, he has seen the world’s most fascinating places from both the ground and the sky.
Michael, you’re home, Germany’s most southern spot the Allgäu is so popular with tourists – yet you’re never there…
Hardly, unfortunately. It’s incredibly beautiful there. I live in an old, renovated farmhouse and often I only stop by to do my laundry. I’m travelling for about eight months a year.
I’ve always loved exploring new places – especially places off the beaten track. It’s just part of me, I guess, and who knows maybe that’s why I became a paraglider in the first place. You see things differently from high above. A boring city, for example, might have a bizarre or cool charm if you circle above it. That’s how flying and travelling became my profession. Our company “Fly with Andy” is specialised in extraordinary paragliding destinations.
Can you name a few?
That’s hard as we’re at the most beautiful spots on all continents, from the Australian coast to the Himalayas. South America is also fantastic to fly: Argentina, Brazil, Columbia. And then, of course, we’re criss-crossing Europe as well, from the Balkans to Portugal.
How does a paragliding pilot experience a country?
Differently. We dive into it, if you like. When you are primarily looking for great flying conditions, you often end up in places where no one else ‘lands’. As you can imagine, flying in Ethiopia is a pretty intense experience. You’re always surrounded by a whole crowd of curious people, who have never seen anything like it before. Those are amazing moments, although it’s such a poor country. But I also love the Balkans. It’s so close to home, yet so different. And the hospitality is just incredible.
What are your must-bring items when travelling?
Preferably not much. Most of the space is occupied by the equipment: at least two paragliders, sometimes more, plus the tandem paraglider. Harness, helmets, clothes, tooth brush and dental floss. That’s it.
And what’s the state of your mobile home?
Well, it’s more of a shared accommodation with a photographer who is travelling with us and, of course, my colleagues – male and female.
Oh, a mixed shared motorhome?!
Yes, what can I say: it’s wild. No, it’s not. We know how to behave ourselves – especially the girls in the team. They’re sensible and mature and super good pilots as well. And it’s really important to agree on essential questions like tidiness. We do. We’re all chaotic. Give us five minutes and the place is a mess – and it feels like home.
What else do you appreciate about your motorhome?
As a pilot you depend on the weather conditions and maximum flexibility is essential. We need to have this freedom of movement to get to the right spot at the right time. That’s why the RV is the perfect paraglider home. We are even taking clients on motorhome trips – a whole armada of RVs filled with paragliding gear.
To which places are you driving on your camper tours?
Those are extensive trips to Switzerland, for example, and on to Greece, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Albania. Or also the Scandinavian countries.
Which places would you recommend?
Oh, so many. I love the North of Spain, where the coastline always reminds me of Ireland. Or Albania: you will find wonderful remote and pristine mountain regions and such warm-hearted, lovely people.