I know, I'm late. But the experience still needs to be shared.
One year, two months and three days ago we were doing this:
And just two months and three days ago, we were doing this! Will surprised me with a sunset hot air balloon ride, remarkably just 15 minutes from home. It pays to live in the farmlands.
Needless to say, it was absolutely stunning. I have always been infatuated with the idea of hot air balloons and would not so subtly drop hints about wanting to do it someday. Will had done it before but this was my maiden voyage! It was so cool watching them inflate it, but it's definitely a time consuming process. We got there around 5 and I don't think we took off until after 7. These guys were really cool though and they explained everything to us as they were doing it and were very keen on letting us get nice and close.
Now I'm totally a thrills person - there isn't a roller coaster I won't try and heights don't bother me at all. But in my opinion, it's quite a bit different when you're in a hot air balloon. As you can see, I had fixed quite the death grip on that pole. Will was all dangling over, seeing the sites - but for crying out loud, we went 6,400 feet. You did not mis-read that. We were over a mile off the ground hanging in a glorified picnic basket. No restraints, no seat belts - just hovering a mile off the earth. Talk about a seriously unnerving feeling. Everything in my body was telling me I was horribly unsafe, but I was trying to ignore that to soak up this experience I had dreamt about for so long. Despite the seemingly high risk of death and the comfort I felt having just signed a waiver to partake, it really was a beautiful evening and a night to remember.
It did come as a complete shocker though that once you're up there, you just kind of go where the wind (or lack of wind in our case) takes you. There's no map, no set course, you just kind of float along. And when you're running out of fuel, you look for a nice big yard to land in and cross your fingers for a "balloon-friendly" property. Well we did not land on a balloon-friendly property, so that spiced things up a little. Once we landed very softly to the ground, we had to scoot our balloon to a side street to get off the balloon killjoy's yard. Then when we were all packed up in the van that followed our path, we drove back to our launch site for champagne and snacks. A ballooners tradition, we were told. I like the way these people think. Live life on the edge and then celebrate a safe return.
It was a splendid evening and I can't think of a better surprise. To my husband: thank you for the most perfect first year. It hasn't looked very conventional, but it's been all ours. I love that we blaze our own trail and do things just a little differently. Thanks for vowing to do it like that forever with me. Here's to year number two having just as many adventures! Love.