The BIG 30 Project: #7 Ride in a Hot Air Balloon

For someone who can barely stand to be on a step-ladder, I really love heights.

This can be attested to by people like my friend, Jill, who has seen me smoke my head off of more than one historic monument as I climbed upwards to get a view: I smoked my head off of the Clocktower in Bruges, the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy, and I think a few more but I can’t remember…possibly due to smacking my head so many times.

I’m not sure why I like being up above everything.

Is it because it’s easier to look down on everyone?

A little.


But I think it has more to do with the fact that I like understanding things and seeing a place from up top is a better way to understand any place than a map. From up above, you can see the routes people have forged, see the topography of an area in a living, breathing way. There’s something really beautiful about that.

This past March, I saw a Groupon for a Hot Air Balloon ride. I’ve always wanted to try it but I always wrote it off as being too much money. The Groupon made it affordable and I knew I’d really enjoy it, but the Groupon was for two people. The question was: Who would I try to convince to come with me?

Immediately I knew who: Mum.

Mum likes a good view as much as I do, but she’s not a big fan of heights. I think she’s afraid of them the same way I am: only when you don’t feel like you’re secure is the height a problem.

As I’ve been going through this journey of trying out things I haven’t done before and going to the effort to DO cool things and not just think about them, I’ve been sharing all of my stories with my Mum. My Mum is pretty awesome and as much as she’s been enjoying my stories, I sometimes felt a little bad she hadn’t been there to do the thing too. So, I wanted to share at least one of my crazy adventures with her.Naturally, when I decided Hot Air Ballooning was something I wanted to do, I badgered her into coming with me.

In a good way, though.

I lovingly cajoled her into it.

She was a little worried that she’d be scared, but I repeatedly told her that all my research indicated it was going to be super chill and thus, she shouldn’t worry.

And you know what?

I was right.

I know because she told me so.

I probably should have got it in writing.

I didn’t get it in writing….but I do have a photographic evidence that she was cool with it.


See? I mean, sure she’s looking at me like “Oh, you!” but it’s not like “I will destroy you”. Believe me, I have seen that look.

One thing I have to say about the staff of Sundance Balloons : They were super amazing. They answered all our questions, went out of their way to explain things, and were super friendly to boot.

I learned a lot from our hot air balloon trip.

I learned that you can take the girl off the farm, but you can’t stop the girl from taking a picture of the motor of the fan that initially inflates the balloon because she knows her Dad will find that interesting.


Ooooh. So engine. Much wind. Wow.

I also learned that balloons pretty much do whatever they want when they’re inflating…which really makes you value the skill of the balloon pilot who controls the fire and the guy hanging onto the balloon with a rope at the other end.


I learned that balloons aren’t really steerable. You can pretty much just rotate the rig and from there you have to navigate the air currents. Basically, your pilot is some kind of magical weather wizard who makes a living from defying all logic in the sky with basket he fills with people and propels into the air with the use of fire and a balloon….maybe this is why they ply you with Champagne at the end of the flight. To distract you from the fact you basically just trusted some guy to safely fly you through the air in a device without true means of directional control.


The men inside that balloon are magic. MAGIC, I SAY!

I also learned that my city, which can sometimes seem so unremarkable, is actually kind of pretty.

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It’s strange how a shift in perspective can change the way you see things.

We can get spoiled sometimes in how used to our surroundings we are, but doing something like this, it kind of forces you to reevaluate what you’re seeing.

What is it about seeing the world from way up in the air that makes it seem like there’s so much more to appreciate?

I don’t know.

But do you know what view was my favourite from the entire journey?

This one:


Look at how genuinely happy and proud she is. CAN YOU BE ANY MORE ADORABLE, MOM?! CAN YOU?!

P.S. Some day, I will write less about how much I love my ridiculous progenitors, but it is not this day.

Completed BIG 30 Items

#1. Postmark Tattoo

#2. Reupholster a Chair

#3. See Amanda Palmer Perform Live

#4. Meet Someone I Admire

#5. Play an Instrument in Public

#6. Ride a Horse

#7. Ride a Hot Air Balloon


Posted on July 23, 2015, in The BIG 30 Project and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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