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Life lessons from a hot air balloon

August 19, 2016

life lessons in a hot air balloon
I went away for a belated birthday road trip last weekend to the Hunter Valley to hit the blue skies for a spot of hot air ballooning…as you do.

Now, my lovers, some of you may feel a little hint of poo skidding your knicks at the thought of heading into the UP in nothing but a glorified picnic basket held aloft by a gigantic inflatable shell suit however it’s been on my bucket list for, like, ever.

So, last weekend was it.

life lessons in a hot air balloon

It was cold; Proper cold, and dark when we set off. The mist made it super eerie but when the light cracked through the mountains as the balloon was being erected it was a glorious sight that accelerated my excitement.

I had no idea that balloons have no rudder. No way of steering whatsoever, you can only go up or down. Obviously, the dudes pulling the ropes, AKA the pilot, has a fair understanding of what the fark going on so it’s all kosher, but in actual fact they don’t have that much control over where they go.

life lessons in a hot air balloon

Anyway, while I was up in the air with my slightly running nose and numb toes I got to thinking about how life is very like a hot air balloon… or perhaps, it should be and then you would stress less about the shit you can’t control.

You see, when they fly they check that the conditions are right. Makes sense.

life lessons in a hot air balloon

They watch to see which direction this test balloon goes (or if anyone shoots at it) and again if all looks sweet, then they set up the flying craft. If it looks hairy, they move along and repeat the process until conditions are right.

life lessons in a hot air balloon

Setting the balloon up is a rather spectacular thing (this bit is not the bit I want to tell you about but you’re possibly curious.) They lay it out and fill with fill air from a fan not dissimilar to those nightclub fans on the side of the dance floor that you didn’t want to get too close to from behind.

When they add the flame, the balloon kind of pops up, fully proud in the morning sun. That’s when you get into the picnic basket.

life lessons in a hot air balloon So, the balloon is full of hot air, and the heat makes it float up (like a fart rises in the air) and when the air in the cools, it sinks down…. and the rest is going with the (air) flow.

So this is the actual shit that got me to thinking… instead of always trying to control all of the left, the right, the forward and the back, maybe we just need to send out a tester, make sure it’s a sound plan, aim in a direction, then go with the flow.

You may be thinking I drank too much wine in the Hunter Valley vineyards post ride to come up with such an analogy, and you’d be pretty bang on the money to be completely honest, however, stick with me on this.

life lessons in a hot air balloon

Our pilot didn’t necessarily have a predetermined destination in mind… he had a firm direction but that’s about the length of it.

When the wind didn’t blow him where he wanted to go, he made a new plan and continued to go with the (air) flow. When he landed safe and sound he was still exactly where he wanted to be (on the ground, upright, no one screaming or limbs removed) so it was a success even though it may not have been either a) where he first envisioned he would end up when we took off, or b) exactly in the most primo alpaca field for our photos.

life lessons in a hot air balloon

Maybe this is really a fantastic metaphor for life, maybe not, but I got something out of it…. so I’ll share my thoughts with you so you don’t need to get your tootsies off Terra Firma if the thought makes you crap your pants.

Maybe heading in a direction is enough?

Where you actually land may not be where you thought you were headed however it’s perfectly perfect for that precise moment in time. If it becomes less perfect, reset your direction and see where you end up next.

life lessons in a hot air balloon Let go of expectations.

Relax and enjoy the scenery a little.

This does not entail letting go of aspirations. Au contraire, mon ami….

life lessons in a hot air balloon Aspirations are the direction, but being open to change, saying yes to unexpected opportunities, re-evaluating on fly, maybe this is the true adventure of life.

Not the destination at all.

life lessons in a hot air balloon

PS We hit a killer restaurant for a late boozy lunch… Amanda’s On The Edge. Amazeballs. That was an accidental destination too.

life lessons in a hot air balloon


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  • Reply Em @ Have A Laugh On Me August 22, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Love this post so much, I have to agree with you. Maybe we should just go with the flow a lot more. I’m working on it. Looks like you had a stellar time, love it! x

  • Reply John Hulls August 26, 2016 at 8:59 am

    Hey li’l D, a very good friend of ours is starting a blog about dealing with mental disorders from a personal viewpoint, and I want to send her your blog as a great example of how to write both informatively but with a brilliant sense of humour. What do you think?
    Love JB

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