Can you imagine dangling more than 100 feet high on the side of the mountain unable to move down because the rope you were clinging to was short and doesn’t hit the ground and unable to move up because your tools and equipment weigh you down? What would you have done?
It was a fatal mistake, one that adventurer and windsurfing national coach Sultan al Balushi will never forget which constantly reminds him of the importance of checking his equipment as well as anticipating challenges being in the wild.
“I have to find rocks on the edge of the cliff I can step on. I have to stick my hands in nooks and crannies so that I can have something to hold on to. I was hanging on that mountainside for 45 minutes looking for a way to get me out of there,” he said.
“The lesson I learned from that experience is to always make sure that I use longer ropes and do safety checks on my equipment when I go for such adventures,” he said.
Just 26 years old, Sultan loves pushing himself out of his comfort zone. His goal is to visit places that no one has visited before. His passion and love for nature were innate. While he grew up far from the sea or mountain, they call to him.
“Dr. Khaled Abdul Malek’s book “Explore 12 wadis in Oman” helped me in my wadi adventures and guided me on the correct path,” Sultan shared.
Sultan also relished being alone in nature.
“Being alone offers an opportunity to clarify thoughts, hopes, dreams, and desires. It provides time and space for people to step back, evaluate their lives, and learn from their experiences. Spending time this way prepares them to re-engage with their community relationships and full work schedules”, he explained.
“My nature trips extend from three days to a month. Isolation in nature offers more options and improves mental skills. There are beneficial skills one learns from the experience like fishing,” he said.
Sultan believes that the necessity is the mother of invention. “I was on an island one time and it was very cold. I have no sleeping blanket. I dug a hole to warm and cover my body. I learn how to make tools from stones so I can cut the fish. There was also a time I have to drive a sailing boat with my legs for two hours until the boat rudder got repaired,” he said.
“Adventures are an important part of life. In the past, people used to live in this atmosphere of not knowing what one will face while out in nature,” he said.
Sultan wants to relearn some of the skills humanity forgot because of the lifestyle we live today. While he has done many challenging outdoor activities, he looks forward to trying Wingsuit flying, free jumping, and crossing some islands in the Atlantic Ocean by a sailing boat.
While everyone is in quarantine, Sultan, like many other adventurers like himself, looks forward to the day when the world would open up again, and he can go out and just travel. He is excited about the things he would learn along the way when he travels again.