Hey there! My name is Wendy, I’m 24 years old, and I’m currently working on my Private Pilot’s License at ATP Flight School.
A little bit about my background: I’m originally from Viñales, Cuba. I was born there and came to the U.S. when I was just two years old, (thank god for that). Although I’m very proud of my roots, my family and I were very fortunate for the opportunity to come to the United States searching for better opportunities. We were also very lucky we were able to come on a plane. Our process was very smooth compared to those who go through the lengths of crossing the ocean on a raft or boat and risking it all. I respect those that endured such experiences so much.
I had absolutely no background in aviation before I got started with ATP. No one in my family is a pilot, and I had absolutely zero pilot friends. Growing up, I thought about being a pilot in
different points of my life. The idea thrilled me, as adventure has always fuelled my drive
naturally. Even as a little girl. To think I can travel the world, get that adrenaline rush in, AND
getting paid while doing so was a no-brainer for me. But unfortunately, I was completely
un-informed about the aviation world and would just shove that thought in the back of my
mind. You’re going to laugh, but I’ve always wanted to have a family, and one of the things that truly stopped me from pursuing aviation earlier in life was the idea that I couldn’t have a family and be a pilot. How silly of me!
I never knew what I wanted to study in college or what career I saw myself pursuing other than entrepreneurship (we’ll get into that later), so I just chose “Public Relations” because, why not. I worked countless full time “office jobs” right after high school while attending college. I did everything from Marketing for an online boutique, to working as HR with Non-Profits, to Sales, to waitressing. You name it, I probably did it; And WOW. Those years really taught me that I NEVER want to work a 9-5 Monday-Friday job again in my life. I honestly think I had to go through those stages to truly appreciate my flight journey now, and not take it for granted.
After obtaining my bachelors, I knew I wanted freedom. I wanted Excitement. I NEEDED change and I needed to make a decision. That’s when I met a flight instructor named Imran through a mutual friend, and that’s where it all started.
Imran was flight instructing when I reached out to him asking him for some information. He had just solo’d his first student Jacky, (who’s an amazing pilot now), and as soon as I saw the photo of her in the cockpit holding up her temporary certificate after the check ride, I knew I wanted that girl in the cockpit to be me too. I messaged Imran, and he quickly told me to give him a call so he could explain everything through the phone. So I did. We were on the phone for about an hour. When I say I knew absolutely nothing about aviation… I had to ask him what a Discovery flight was. Well, to make a long story short, he told me I can take a discovery flight with him to see how I liked it. So, I agreed, and THEN he told me he was located in Georgia. So, of course, I just booked a flight the following week or so and flew out to meet him.
The experience was AMAZING and I instantly fell in love with flying. We’re still good
friends ‘till this day and I truly appreciate all his help since day one, (he’s as crazy as me and even let me semi-land the plane, haha). As soon as I got back home, I did some research for flight schools in Florida and decided to attend ATP because of their pace and financing options. ATP’s flight program is a very fast-track 10 month program that takes you all the way to CFII. I know… Just 10 months... I couldn’t believe it either but it’s true. About 3 months for your PPL, two months for your instrument rating, and so on. With such a fast-paced program, I do get stressed at times, but it’s normal. It’s part of the ride (literally). Every single day I remind myself that I can do it. If someone else can do it, I surely can too.
I’m training in the G500, not the traditional 6-pack, which is a great help. I think he hardest thing for me about flight training (but still fun) was the orientation aspect of flying. Knowing where I was in relation to the runways at a completely new airport and just multitasking in the cockpit to stay ahead of my plane. I was paired with Corrina, the most amazing flight instructor, who has helped me with absolutely everything and anything I don’t understand, putting in those extra ground hours with me. I think the most important aspect of flying is having a flight instructor that genuinely cares about your success, and I’m lucky I have her!
My dream goal… I’m pretty open minded at the moment. I don’t have a SET idea on what kind of flying I’d like to do, but one that entices me more than any other right now is being a bush pilot. Especially for a Non-Profit Organization, or a cause for good. My business partner Dee and I have a travel brand called “WANAROAM™”. We pretty much started WANAROAM™ to Inspire the adventurer in people. I believe there’s a few of us that are genuinely driven by adventure, new experiences, unforgettable connections, and curiosity for our world. We sell travel gear such as backpacks, and on our Instagram, we post unique locations from around the world. We want people to think of US when they want to explore the globe. When they need to get away mentally and physically.
We want to show people those secret locations, or remote locations they maybe otherwise wouldn’t have been able to find on their own. And that same curiosity drives my ambition to become a pilot. Just thinking that one day I’ll have the upmost freedom to fly anywhere in the world, live anywhere in the world, and share those experiences and locations with others sparks joy in my heart. All while making a difference and serving a bigger purpose. That’s what I perceive a bush pilot to be, and that’s why Wanaroam’s tagline is “Wherever you go, roam with purpose”.
I think finding one’s purpose takes a bit longer for some. Some people find their purpose at the age of 10, and others at the age of 40. I didn’t know mine until this year. If you’re reading this, just be patient. Make note of what it is you don’t want out of life, and what you do. Work at it every day and keep soul searching. The search can be just as beautiful as the realization. I don’t know where I see myself in 10 years. As someone who used to constantly worry about the future, I can say it is now exciting for me to not know. I’m excited to figure it out as I go. I tried not to over-write with this but of course, I did… thank you so much for reading and I’d love to connect with you all! I hope some of you were able to connect with my story.
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