In the hanggliding.org forum, a 16-yr old guy once asked for support in his dream of learning to hang glide. Of all the replies, there was one that took my breath away. I could not help but save it for eternity to remind me why I hang glide.
Since you are 16 and a minor there are a ton of things I can’t recommend that you do to quench your thirst for adventure and excitement. For example I would never recommend that you pack up a 1974 VW Super Beatle with a Mountain Bike and climbing shoes and set out on the road on your own. I would not recommend that you sleep outside or then attempt to ride your bike across the country once your car broke down in say Colorado or something just to get to a climbing site or flying site. I would not recommend sleeping on stranger’s couches or cleaning truck stop urinals or working at a Pizza Hut as a cook simply so you could eat and climb and ride or in your case fly. I would not recommend that you spend the formative young adult years chasing down any dream doing whatever it takes to accomplish those dreams. Whatever you do, don’t do that.
Here is what I would do.
Do everything your parents and friends tell you to do and expect you to do. Don’t deviate from the formula one bit. Find a girl when you are very young and start a family that you can’t afford. I also highly recommend you get credit cards and then strangle yourself in debt. Go to a really expensive school and study something that will make you money, but not really happy, and then get in with a huge corporation or maybe a government job where you can watch your life tick away in a traffic jam every morning while listening to AM radio. I also recommend that you marry someone who doesn’t support the goals in your life and wants to use you as her own piggy bank to fund her endless online purchases or parade of crap at Wal-Mart.
Lastly, I recommend that when you are 38 that you look up from the life you’ve created. Look up high in the sky and you will see someone up there, maybe just a glimpse or a flash of red. I recommend you look at it a long time and pull over to the side of the road ignoring the sounds of the horns and screeching tires around you just so you can see what you think you saw; a man on a hang glider. I recommend you get out of your car in your suit and tie and keep looking up, because at that moment you will realize that what you had been doing up to that point was wrong and that you’ve been off track your whole life. I recommend that you get back in your car and cry in frustration that you didn’t have the guts to reach out and do the things we as humans are meant to do; have a spiritual and physical connection to the world and nature all around us.
This is what hang gliding has become for me. People say its an addiction. No, man it’s no addiction, its a religious touch the face of God kind of experience that will bring grown men to cry in traffic at its beauty and simplicity.
So have at it young blood. Dream away. Make your choices. Follow that passion and do whatever it takes to get where you want to be while finding the right balance in life to make it all happen. If its RC planes then do it. If its flying a Cessna 150 then do that. If its going some place when you are old enough to learn to fly a hang glider than do that. Just whatever you do, don’t let the things you dream still be a dream because you let obstacles and expectations get in the way of following those dreams.