I love pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and putting myself in (a relatively safe) position that scares me. It’s those moments where I really feel like I’m living right and enjoying life because whenever I do, it always gives me the belief that I can do anything and that’s pretty magical.
When I turned 25 I decided I was going to make it the best year of my life! I planned to push myself out of my comfort zone as much as possible so regardless of what the future held I could always look back and think “Damn! That was an awesome year!” I definitely accomplished that goal and I still look back on that year and smile.
The first goal I ticked off the list was Hot Air Ballooning. I am terrified of heights! If I step out onto a balcony I feel my heart race and my knees start to turn to jelly. So, what better way to start a year of pushing myself then flying 3000 to 4000 feet in the air, in a basket, attached to a big balloon?
The day started off just before sunrise, so we were up in the air to see the sun come up. That alone is a push for me as I am not a morning person. There needs to be something pretty damn special going on to get me up before 9am on a weekend, I did not regret the early morning once I was up in the air. Once I climbed into the basket I felt a little better as the sides were pretty high, at about 5.5ft the basket was comfortably above my waste so that helped me feel a little more at ease.
Slowly as the basket rose I was careful to keep my gaze straight ahead and avoided looking down. This was an effective strategy throughout the flight and I would definitely recommend it to fellow ground enthusiasts. But that’s not why I did this, I couldn’t end the flight without looking down so I leaned on the side of the basket and looked directly down to the ground below and the fear hit me.
It took my breath away like someone had punched me in the stomach and I could feel my heart racing. I took some deep, slow breaths and focused on how beautiful the scenery was; let my mind wonder to what the people in the houses below were doing. I thought how lucky I was to be up in the air moving with the breeze and I felt the calm wash over me as I began to relax again. I felt so relaxed that I even found my mind wondering again to how good a rush it would be if the balloon fell suddenly, just enough to give me a bit of a jolt but still keep us very high in the sky. It was at that point I thought I would hold back on wishing a terrifying flight on my fellow ballooners and just enjoy the peaceful silence and take in this once in a lifetime view.
We then finished the morning off with a traditional champagne breakfast. I booked my adventure through Barossa Valley Ballooning in the Barossa Valley, South Australia so I was able to make a weekend of it and check out some wineries and farmers markets.
You know those “Good old days” everyone older then you talks about? Well make sure you create those amazing memories and take the time to appreciate them no matter how slow moving they feel at the time. Looking back on what I have accomplished I still feel the relaxing stillness of moving along the country side with the slow moving breeze, looking around and imagining what it must feel like to have the freedom of a bird.