Learning to Fly: An Uncommon Memoir of Human Flight, Unexpected Love, and One Amazing Dog

Learning to Fly: An Uncommon Memoir of Human Flight, Unexpected Love, and One Amazing Dog

by Steph Davis
     
 

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WITH A NEW EPILOGUE BY THE AUTHOR

World-class free climber Steph Davis delivers a “thrilling and infectiously interesting” (San Francisco Book Review) memoir about rediscovering herself through love, loss, and the joy of letting go. The paperback includes a new epilogue in which Davis shares how her husband Mario’s tragic accident has…  See more details below

Overview

WITH A NEW EPILOGUE BY THE AUTHOR

World-class free climber Steph Davis delivers a “thrilling and infectiously interesting” (San Francisco Book Review) memoir about rediscovering herself through love, loss, and the joy of letting go. The paperback includes a new epilogue in which Davis shares how her husband Mario’s tragic accident has affected her relationship to climbing and flying.

Steph Davis is a superstar in the climbing community and has ascended some of the world’s most challenging and awe-inspiring peaks. But after her first husband makes a controversial climb in a national park, the media fallout escalates rapidly and in one fell swoop leaves her without a partner, a career, a source of income...or a purpose.

In the company of only her beloved dog, Fletch, Davis sets off on a search for a new identity and discovers skydiving. Falling out of an airplane is completely antithetical to the climber’s control she’d practiced for so long, but she perseveres, turning each daring jump into an opportunity to fly, first as a skydiver, then as a base jumper. As she opens herself to falling, she also finds the strength to open herself to love again, even in the wake of heartbreak. And before too long, she meets someone who shares her passion for living life to the limit.

With gorgeous black-and-white photos throughout, Learning to Fly is Davis’s fascinating account of her transformation. From her early tentative skydives, to zipping into her first wingsuit, to surviving devastating accidents against the background of breathtaking cliffs, to soaring beyond her past limits, she discovers new hope and joy in letting go.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Everything in professional rock climber Davis’s world—livelihood, home, marriage—becomes upended in an instant when her husband legally climbs an arch (the famous rock on Utah’s license plate) and gets on the very bad side of a national news story. After the Park Service, angry at the publicity her husband receives for his daring ascents, launches a federal investigation to determine the legality of climbing the arch, they lose their biggest sponsors, their reputations are in shambles, and their troubled relationship falls apart. Davis writes with honesty and bravery about the sudden devastation and her painful and intensive recovery. In the aftermath Davis decides to learn to skydive. She’d tried tandem jumping once, but hated depending on others. Instead she enrolls in a free-fall course on her wedding anniversary and on her first jump feels a lightness she thought had been permanently lost. In a matter of weeks, she goes from complete novice to jumping solo. In becoming a skydiver and realizing how little she can control, she learns to trust herself again, lets go of her need for total self-reliance, and finds renewal. Although there is a fair amount of climbing and skydiving jargon, Davis’s philosophy of facing one’s fears will strike a chord with readers. (Apr.)
Rita Golden Gelman
"Alive, passionate, intense . . . about everything, Steph Davis climbs vertical slopes, drops out of planes, leaps off of cliffs, and in the process teaches us all how to deal with the devastations, the fears, the challenges, and the joyous moments of life. Steph takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster full of highs, lows, and love, and it's contagious. You won't walk away unaffected."
The Denver Post "Pages" blog - Kyle Wagner
"What puts this book out front in the adventure category is that Davis doesn’t bog it down with clunky 'climbing as journey' metaphors – but they’re in there, anyway. She just sort of lets her story shake it all loose, slowly revealing bits of herself – sometimes she figures stuff out, sometimes she makes mistakes, but her hope is that only she gets hurt in the process."
San Francisco Book Review
“Thrilling and infectiously interesting, I found this book a great read and hard to put down. What’s next, Steph? Everest?”
UT) Deseret News (Salt Lake City
Learning to Fly is a fascinating read. It looks inside the mind of a unique individual. Davis lives a life very few will understand. Her willingness to push herself physically while protecting herself emotionally is only part of what makes her so unique.”
midwestmultisportlife.com
“Really an inspiring book, not only to get oneself outdoors, but to realize that, even with the loss of absolutely everything that seems important, it's not only possible but imperative to move forward and continue to enjoy life. Deftly written with Davis's outward journey mirroring the journey within.”
Kirkus Reviews
The abrupt end to her marriage left climber and skydiver Davis (High Infatuation: A Climber's Guide to Love and Gravity, 2007) depressed and without a sense of purpose--but not for long. For 12 years, the author writes, she and her husband led a life of "pure adventure and self-invention, and nothing about it was safe." Traveling around the world, they challenged each other to various daredevil adventures, including difficult solo climbs without ropes. All this changed when her husband defied an unwritten rule against climbing a possibly fragile sandstone arch in a national park in Utah. He became the target of a media-fueled outcry. Under the threat of criminal proceedings, the pair lost the commercial sponsorship that had sustained their frugal existence, and he abandoned her and disappeared. Skydiving was the one experience she had been unwilling to share with her husband; after 20 years as a rock climber, a fear of falling was ingrained in her. Now, however, Davis was determined to engage in this new challenge. She provides a gripping account of how she overcame her fears and her delight as she mastered the skills needed to skydive. While the adrenaline rush from landing safely is part of the thrill, the intense mental focus necessary for making split-second decisions on opening her chute was also addictive. Overcoming her previous fears, she combined solo rock climbing with potentially dangerous jumps from rocky peaks but received a necessary lesson in caution when she lost control during a jump and was injured. A new love adds depth to this engaging story of personal growth.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781451652079
Publisher:
Touchstone
Publication date:
04/02/2013
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
626,324
File size:
33 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Steph Davis is a world-renowned climber, skydiver, and BASE jumper. In addition to her blog on veganism, animal rights, and simple living at HighInfatuation.com, she has written for Climbing and Rock and Ice. Her first book, High Infatuation: A Climber’s Guide to Love and Gravity, was published in 2007. She lives in Moab, Utah.

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