Home Sweet Home: Bikepacking & Paragliding the Alps (Film)
Anthony Komarnicki takes backyard adventure to new heights in “Home Sweet Home.” This visually spectacular 15-minute film documents three weeks of bikepacking and paragliding in the Southern Alps, all within 60 kilometers of his front door. Watch it here, accompanied by an introduction and a set of photos…
Close-to-home local overnighters and campouts are special to us. They often result in some of the best trips, providing fresh perspectives on familiar terrain. Anthony Komarnicki took this concept to heart in his first-ever release, Home Sweet Home. The stunning 15-minute film documents three weeks of paragliding and bikepacking, all within 60 kilometers of his home in the Southern Alps. It was self-shot, self-edited, and self-produced, making the adventure that much more impressive. You can watch it below and then scroll down for some words and images from Anthony.
Words and photos by Anthony Komarnicki
This project was born from a desire to ride and fly, but above all, it was born from a desire to discover—or rediscover—the area around my home. I have been lucky enough to live in the Southern Alps for 10 years, in a region that amazes me daily. Hiking, mountain biking, paragliding, skiing, packrafting, I can do it all just a stone’s throw from my home. So, I thought, why not take on my next big adventure there?
For this trip, I drew a loop that started from my home and returned a few weeks later. It was a true backyard journey without venturing more than 60 kilometres as the crow flies from my nest. I have heard many travellers preach the mantra “adventure begins at the doorstep,” and this trip was living proof. It’s easy to believe you know your backyard like the back of your hand but beware of that illusion. We spend time in it, but do we allow ourselves to take time in it? Paradoxically, the more time passes, the less I feel I know this backyard. Exploring it gives me the same feeling as learning: the more one masters a field, the more one realises how much there is yet to learn. It’s a sort of Dunning-Kruger effect of travel: explore a region, and you will always find more to discover.
This journey was also an inner adventure. I needed to look with fresh eyes, even at what I thought I already knew, without haste or constraint. It’s was good exercise in learning to appreciate what I have without constantly chasing the unachievable. All of us travellers who love experiencing new places have a natural appetite for distant destinations, but it’s well-known that doing so has a significant environmental impact. As such, this project was a great opportunity to reconcile with local travel, and I experienced it as if my backyard greeted me with a, “Welcome to my home sweet home.”
The trip in the film took place in October 2019, shortly before the pandemic. There were no lockdowns or distance limitations, and anyone with the means could travel wherever they wanted. I’m not a trailblazer in local travel—many people have been doing it long before me—but before COVID, they were mainly invisible, almost discredited, because adventure was often indexed on the remoteness of the destination. And wrongly so.
In fact, I experienced this myself for so long. When I say I like to travel, people ask me which countries I’ve visited. When I answer “France,” where I’ve always lived, I can almost always feel the disappointment in their eyes. When I was younger, I had a complex about it. Later, I smiled about it. In a way, the film tries to restore the local travel experience to its rightful place. So many of us enjoy it by choice, and it should be celebrated.
Before this trip, I had never made a film. When I left home, I thought I would just make a short five-minute souvenir video for my friends and family. No script, only a desire to share the sensations I was experiencing. Specifically, I was fond of the follow-cam for paragliding, as this point of view seems immersive for those who have never flown. And, by slowing down the video, you almost escape gravity! It was a great challenge to film by myself: the back and forth to set up the tripod, the management of the batteries with solar panels, the follow-cam on the paraglider. There was a whole new set of logistics that I discovered while travelling, and it was rewarding to see it all come together.
When I returned from the trip, I was overwhelmed. I’d had one of the most beautiful experiences of my life without leaving the area around my home, and I felt the need to share it through the film. So, I taught myself how to derush, edit, color grade, and mix audio. Everything was new, and it was so intense! In the end, I spent a huge amount of time on it, but a strong will to share it drove me. The film was then selected for many festivals in France and around the world, where it reached a wide audience. Cyclists discovered paragliding, and paragliders discovered cycling. And I still can’t get over the warm welcome it received!
With this film, I tried to show the journey itself rather than making it about me. That’s why you don’t see much of me on screen. Plus, because I’m rather shy and introverted, I always prefer to be behind the lens. What’s more, I also have the feeling that I see many very beautiful films that focus too much on individuals and their exploits. The downside of this trend is that it develops a cult of personality, which is fully encouraged by social networks. I simply don’t recognise myself in this practice.
After viewing the film, I want viewers to be able to say to themselves, “Why not me?” When I was editing the film, I quickly understood that you can convey the message of your choice. Mine is simple: you absolutely can enjoy beautiful journeys without going far and without any supernatural abilities.
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