Nomadic adventurers in pursuit of human flight. Searching for belonging in a world that doesn’t call this the “norm.” This is the story of a group of friends becoming skydivers and all they experience along the way.
In 2016 We shot some interviews with the intention of making a 5 minute inspirational video. We soon realized some of the stories and characters were to great and warranted exploring further. So we ended up with a 30 minute micro budget documentary. For both me and Walker this was the first time doing a project of this kind and we learnt a lot along the way. The film screened at several film festivals around the world in 2018 and even won “Best Documentary” at the Midwest action film fest.
There is no world class skydiving in this film, just a bunch of mates figuring out where they fit and sharing stories from the road less traveled. We really hope you enjoy this little project and find something in it that is relate-able. Let us know in the comments what you think 🙂
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I also run the Destination Unknown Outdoor, Adventure and Conservation Film Festival. The event showcases socially and environmentally important storytellers and adventures from the road less traveled. Check it out and get involved.
you when I was growing up basically I lived in a suburb there's cookie cutter houses all the way down the street and yeah I had a nice home really like a nice family life like my parents had a normal job you know working 9:00 to 5:00 came home in the evening after college you know after I went to school that all sort of like exploded into this different idea from that point onward like I never had like a fixed place that I was you know people started asking me so where do you live or where's your home that's the living you know that's from yars house sleep right there the nice feel a few times in life you know I don't know if it was the danger of like of getting hurt or hurting somebody else or more of the danger of like I can go broke this is worse than a the heaviest drug ever hill and it grabs you and sucks you in and it's kind of nothing else like it like it's this thing that kind of keep up everything else for I mean right now I feel pretty at home with my buddies and Lodi like the past couple of days we've been charging you know and that's like that's like it's close to home is it like it gets the humans always wanted to fly like like who doesn't like stopping the top of a mountain and watch the sunset and then see a bird fly and be like yeah I wish I I wish I could fly the big dream at the beginning was like I was going to climb big walls and then jump off of them I was always more of an outdoors enthusiast and skydiving is an element of the outdoor enthusiasm we definitely have that that but for me it was always this desire to fly from mountains you go back to like going out of the VC why he was so interesting like let's make human flies and I think it's it's being the human mind the rule of life it's just something really out of our nature and then if we can achieve that somehow it's something supernatural I sky time because it's unlike anything I've ever done before when I did my first skydive like shows awesome was full of a liqueur you do and I was like yeah and then when I did my second skydive and then he showed me how to move my hands so when I felt that I could control what I was doing in the sky that was it that was when I was like I have to do this like there was no questions about it I got my paperwork like that day just walking out of the plane like you know when you're slipping in any really dream like oh my god it was flying Peter Pan are Superman and then by controlling my body well and I can navigate the who feels that dream of flying do the first joke was my first I didn't realize it was such a multi-strand multi-discipline sores if you've given Irish a ticket head on over to the creeper part we're going to dark eyes the gel coat that's our call to arms heard about Lord a $13 jumps so I came out here and the culture of the place just shut couldn't believe people live like this and the people that you find here I've never come in contact with anywhere I've been in the world I haven't been many places that the people use right here very unique [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] the fun factory's better than Chocolate Factory is the Fun Factory you I pretty much started here in Lodi in 2012 I have a I have little issues with like motion sickness from it first like 4045 jumps where every time that I was in the plane or getting down the ground I'll feel like very excited to the point was you know try hit me nothing so good but I did let that stop me I definitely remember being real stoked at the end of each day and having like a sense of accomplishment and sleeping like a frickin baby like that took a lot of you know power and will and courage pretty much changed the entire course of my life right split straight through the drop zone took my AFF course became a packer moved into my vehicle kind of quit my job and started skydiving full-time from there and sort of it just exploded into more and more adventures but then I engineered a redundancy to my job I got the money to Irene on the crest of that happen pop tandem instructor with ya for a long time we got through it I ended up we got married I'm Irish I met my husband again that same day I did my second guy died so the day I was getting my AFF paperwork I also met him as well right so that was to the explosion in your eyes [Applause] and then all of our friends I had met from the that day to our wedding day were on our wedding jump right and that was like closer than ever to have all your friends in the sky coming together for something was amazing I never thought of it to [Applause] even gone loss it's got iving involved spending a lot of time in airplanes I mean kitchens pretty safe these days but skydiving airplanes yeah and not necessarily have the best safety record building and we are investigating planned a plane crash near the Lodi Airport the plane landed belly-up in a vineyard with 17 skydivers and a pilot inside it happened east of highway 99 a quarter mile from the airport I heard a crash behind me and looked up saw the plane cartwheeling saw the tail of the plane above the grapevine crashing in this vineyard the FAA says the plane had engine trouble right after taking off we wanted to open the door to let in some fresh air and when we went to do that we realized this actually fuel spraying all over the plane so he shut the door again so we didn't really want fuel in the airplane and the pilot turned around we thought we're gonna land but it turned out the engine stopped and we started this descending yeah and we'd know knew what was gonna happen and it's kind of this weird feeling of being in this metal coffin that's like kind of going towards the ground and not knowing whether we're gonna crash died or what happened [Applause] 17 skydivers in the pilot on board all walked away the pilot had a bloody nose but other than that no injuries well people like they they gotta be 17 people are real happy have you seen their furs the plane dipped below some power lines it clipped the back end of a brand new Tacoma toyota on the road and flipped over in the field late Thursday the owner of the Lodi parachute center went to check on his plane owner Bill dowse has no idea what went wrong the FAA is still looking into the cause of the crash at the time I was pretty cool experience I mean I don't know anyone who's been in a plane crash and survived you know it's kind of this overwhelming like feeling I'm excited having lived through that I have such a great story to tell and we got some pretty cool photos out of it find me a plane crash do you know why because I work at a fuckin office and I said it desk all day and I want to hear about exciting shit so I'm gonna go take some pictures of it with my friends could refrain school and I'm late I think that's the tail there's the tail but did you look inside the wing actually came through the the wing came through over there I can't I can't believe yeah if one of those came through the roof of the plane wow look at that there's a strong fucking plane there let's go before we get a couple every time I get on an airplane now yeah that first few minutes a take-off sometimes I get filled with dread yeah imagining if I can get killed in a plane crash it's pretty shitty way to way to die you know getting crushed by with your friends you know getting getting better to death so I you know and things like that is the fear you know takes away the fun sometimes and you know no one likes living in fear and that's something that you got to try and manage it skydiving is it's dangerous as much as people try and tell you it's safe I mean everyone says it's driving to the to the airports more dangerous than jumping out of the plane and it's I mean I don't know anyone who's died driving to the airport and say I didn't really think that that's true oh I had it Kuzco for my 200th jump long story short people didn't track away the way they were supposed to and I had a canopy basically come up like right in my face if I had continued tracking I could have been in collision with that canopy and then I would have been taken out that person would have been taking out oh so I'm thinking about it obviously shakes me up and then watching the video it makes you realize even how more of a close call that it was because like when you're experiencing it you're like oh shit that was kind of scary then you see a video and then you're like holy shit like I could have ended right there and taking somebody out with me like that would that's crazy danger out there everywhere would you drive your car I'm gonna just stay here we're all waiting for a hard time when well know who where you jump with what people are doing around you [Applause] gonna be our sick I ain't gonna go your way but yeah the dangers out there it is a danger how many of you have ever wished you could fly right on me – just this past summer my good friend and mentor Dean Potter and one of my best friend's graham hunt both died in a double fatality accident in Yosemite National Park that's a picture of Graham and me after we climbed the nose I was left Mentalist friendless and alone it wasn't just losing two people very special to me along with them fell my dreams leaving me to question should humans fly best jumper that's super fun but it's really scary really needs respect constant focus I don't know if I can stop myself from looking down keep that head up force yourself to do it head down his death John's death what's the good one Doug's okay three two one see ya head up I need to stop those it's a bit like that just friends when standard item and it's it's not something I want to title it yeah it'd be good to do did you get Javits well yeah when you have friends who are killed in the sport or when scary things happen to you you start to question whether this is really what you want to be doing and sometimes the dream dies living out of a suitcase or living in a van or living in a tent really is this is cool is this what we want to be doing with our lives and that sense of home definitely like disappears I'm just like I do try to do think and say is this the right way to go you know am i doing the right thing but it comes back to that point what's right what's wrong it's all different options in life different paths right we all gonna leave the life anyway I've stopped we are sure just life is really just like a series of fleeting moments like we had this much time here and it's going to pass in front of you like whether you like acknowledge it or not and you know I think I think it's important to like really really look if each individual moment and realize what it is and and stay present and and feel appreciation for those those you know those moments because they are passing and like right now he's you know like so hanging out here by the fire who knows what's gonna happen tomorrow the Aegeus to leave the present right that's why we skydive that's what was served it's a recline into this thing so that's what we do you believe the presence if they follow too much with the tomorrow and the next year I'm not gonna be leaving the present then I'm proud of what I've done I'm really proud of it I think it's a wild way to live life and definitely you know hard and and there's a lot of trial and tribulation everything that go along with it but I would and you know I'm definitely proud of everybody that takes the road less traveled everyone that decides to you know participate in life challenges because it's scary you know it's really scary and it's everyday that's scary it's not just like one decision you know it's fine it's it's every day is scary and I think a lot of people think you know like oh you jump off mountains where your client so you don't have like here but it's not really like that it's like you actually constantly have fear I I think at that point I looked back on my whole life and I realized like how much joy and sense of accomplishment and you know confidence I had built from my whole learning process and how stoked I was about life you know I've never been finished to the little thing I think it's a never-ending process and that's part of why I love it you know there's always more to learn like when I was 25 to 30 we're just like amazing you know and I wanted to share that with everybody else [Applause] and I started thinking about like okay well what's the best way to to be able to share that you know and I think it's structural work and teaching is the way you know because you're directly influencing those who are inspired by maybe something they saw you do or some video if it feels alright then the feelings arise just love me it's a crazy thing like throwing yourself out and the abyss like tumbling through the sky okay here we go like and they're like trust honesty like just remember at the arch it's all gonna be okay sweet and you're interested in starting today she'll be interested I go with Irish every time he goes yeah okay it's like guy crew from and sometimes I walk up I go all the way up and then I'll just walk like them I want to feel that I do like I get psyched to an Irish goes like I get psyched off of his energy and like how stoked on life he is afterwards Oh Candis Big Daddy's chicken I think it's really cool that we've like found this community here that's like ambitious and inspired and there's definitely like a sense of support you don't feel it from everybody but I feel like our little niche like our little Lodi crew is really really supportive of each other you want each other to succeed and yeah now I haven't been home for two years and just all of a sudden discovered this home on the other side of the world you know talking about this concept of home and how we gave up our real homes and left pretty much everything behind and you know fortunately we were able to find this feeling of being at home yeah wherever we felt supported in and in what we're doing and following our dreams and health and we're living a true life and was surrounded by friends you're supported that I think that's what home to me is like a place where I'm happy inspired achieving my goals and I feel the support of the community that in that area I share the same I think the same feeling about where home is it's where it was somewhere where I have friends go through my dreams not exactly a physical place where I go back to it's not stationary it's a perspective on its perspective I don't know this just gives so much back to me flying it's not just the flying it's the hiking and that's what I have to and we all have to remember that this is what it's about flying is amazing part of it like the little cherry on the top just hiking with you guys is rad you know maybe it'll end up too windy or these clouds are gonna maybe do something where we're gonna be gone so maybe we won't get to jump ok yeah [Applause] five grand [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause]