By Ana Salgado, Oct. 4, 2022

Daniel Tran, an environmental biology student, with bipolar disorder uses the sport of slacklining to challenge himself and de-stress.

Tran shared that his experience as a slackliner started earlier this year, after the pandemic, and he has been practicing every week. Tran mentioned that he practices three times each week by assembling a practice area in a park close by him.

All that is needed to set up the slackline is anchor lines to go around the trees, two carabiners and other connectors to hold the line together, also tree protection and the main section of the line that is walked on Tran stated.

Ultimately, Tran started to slackline because he intends to eventually highline. Highlining is done while attached to a leash that is hooked to the ropes and is done over a canyon or a large crevasse shared Tran

“I’m nervous. I want to go there to witness and observe, and if I am confident enough on the line — I think overall I am just there for a more of an experience and just learning how to handle the lines,” Tran said about his first highline session he was invited to on Sept. 30.

Slacklining isn’t his sole form of self-care. Tran also likes to surf early in the morning as well as hobbies like climbing, before engaging in slacklining, depending on his work and school commitments.

Utilizing indoor and outdoor rock climbing, Tran explained how he overcame his fear of heights.

Tran shared that while it is difficult at first to slackline, he slowly began to progress each day he practiced. He stated, “I find it very simple to progress on — as you start doing it day-by-day, it really is just walking on a line.”

According to Tran, the first time getting on the slackline is unsteady since being able to balance on the cords requires daily practice.

Tran relates the slackline to the difficult life lesson of “trying to be better” by setting objectives every day and working towards them.

“Maybe I can try to get to progress to the center, now let’s try to go to the end, now let me attempt to spin to progress on the other end,” he said.

Ana Salgado | The Poly Post

Tran emphasizes how crucial it is to remember that when slacklining or learning to slackline, one should never make the mistake of looking down because the head is so heavy.

“Instead, they should concentrate on keeping their heads still and stable because they are moving around and throwing so much weight that they are unaware of,” said Tran.

While the winds are blowing, Tran reveals that slacklining feels pleasant despite many other distressing factors.

“It’s a long journey of self-love, it’s so much easier to love someone then to love yourself — I think it’s so important to do things you love and don’t lose sight of that because that’s what makes you, you,” shared Tran.

Tran is undergoing significant life changes and making many transitions, but he attempts to stay focused by engaging in activities he enjoys.

“Just because I have bipolar disorder doesn’t mean my disability is more or less than other people — everyone has their own problems and situations. Taking it day-by-day anything is possible. Putting your mind to it. You cannot that let that disability dictate your life, you take control of it.”

When setting up his slackline on campus, Tran welcomes students to approach him and ask if they can learn how to use it or simply try it out. He also encourages everyone to do so without being afraid or timid.

Feature image courtesy of Ana Salgado


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