SEDONA BALLOON ADVENTURES

 
Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.
— Leonardo da Vinci

I recently started living the van life and waking up before dawn. There are many benefits from this kind of lifestyle. One of them is that I started seeing hot air balloons flying during sunrise. This blog is about the beauty of ballooning and getting high on life.

I had never seen a balloon in the sky before living in Sedona, and have only caught a couple of distant glimpses over the years. One must be at the right place at the right time. Since I decided to camp on the outskirts of Sedona and start my mornings before dawn, I’ve been in the perfect spot, and awake at the perfect time.

One morning, after my meditation practice, I gazed upon the eastern horizon and saw some silhouetted balloons transposed over the sunrise. It was a captivating sight, and I immediately became enchanted. Their ascent was slow and silent. The only sound was the birdsong and breeze through the juniper trees. One after another, they rose high and floated in the sky.

It was surreal to see these brilliant ghost ships riding the invisible air currents so close overhead. I was in a spot directly under one of their flight paths, and it was a pleasant surprise to see a fleet of balloons descending upon me. The people inside the gondola baskets became visible. I could see them taking pictures, and even waving to me. Those in heaven, and myself on earth, were excited by this experience.

That first morning happened so fast. I wanted to see them again. The second morning, I woke up early, got my meditation on, and then they appeared once more. I felt more prepared this time, and started taking pictures. It was a fun practice that quickly became my daily routine: rise and shine - take pictures of balloons.

On another day, a balloon lingered behind the others just a bit longer. Then it came down to land close to where I was. I decided to drive over and get a closer look. It appeared to have landed roughly by the side of the highway, so I pulled up next to it and got the camera out.

Respecting their space, I stood back and observed. After the crew and their pilot finished packing things up, he approached me and invited me to their launch site for an up close look at the whole process. I was stoked at the kind offer and showed up the next morning ready to capture the scene.

I arrived before the crew and got to see everything from start to finish. It was fascinating to see the set up, the fire filling the balloons, and then the clients climbing into the hot seat. Once the ropes were released, the balloons quickly rose into the sky. The ground crew hopped into their vans and sped off to follow where the pilots were heading (Or wherever the winds were taking them.). I hopped into my van and followed them.

And I just kept on following them. Every morning for the next week, I just showed up and shot pictures. No one told me to leave. They even took a liking to me. Sometimes I also got to pitch in and help with the landing coordinations in the field. It was a lot of fun to participate in the process. The crew is tightly knitted like a family. And I watched many of their clients personalities transform from uncertain to exhilarated.

With this story, I want to remind you of what’s possible when we wake up early and expand our awareness. If we allow ourselves to step outside of our comfort zones and normal routines, one never knows what opportunities will present themselves before us.

Try something new and open the doors of perception. There’s a whole spectrum of phenomena to experience in this world. We have to be willing to make changes in our lives in order to embrace more magnificence. The path is simple and playful. But it’s not always easy, and it does require discipline.

Whether it’s waking up earlier than normal to activate our abilities, making a move in life from one place to another, meeting new people and letting go of others, or just choosing to make a difference, create, and explore - the point is to listen to the heart and hear what it has to say.

Choose courage over comfort and dare to dream greatly. Be brave in the wilderness of the imagination and live fully. The balloon is a metaphor. Stoke the inner fire. Fill the head with uplifting information. Level up and set sights. Get high on life.

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One must rise above the Earth – to the top of the atmosphere and beyond – for only thus can we fully understand the world in which we live.
— Socrates
The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.
— M. Barrie, Peter Pan
When everything seems to be against you, remember that an airplane takes-off against the wind, not with it.
— Henry Ford