During my recent trip to Kissimmee, Florida, I encountered a lot of activities that put my acrophobia into overdrive. Like the world’s tallest sky coaster at Fun Spot. And the whole zip lining over alligators thing.
But I couldn’t really turn down a hot air balloon ride at sunrise. I mean, come on. The Instagram photos were worth it alone.
I don’t really know when I became so afraid of heights, or flying. It’s not like anything bad has ever happened. (KNOCK ON SO MUCH WOOD RIGHT NOW.) But I felt pretty bummed out that I was holding myself back from a lot of the experiences in Kissimmee, so I agreed to the balloon ride.
Turns out the hardest part of the day was getting out of bed at 4 AM, and the balloon ride actually became the highlight of my trip.
At the launch site, our guide Pat from Orlando Balloon Rides assured me I wouldn’t die as I slipped into the basket and slid to the bottom. I took an Ativan. It was necessary.
I guess I was expecting the takeoff and landing to be similar to that of an airplane. I don’t know why — obviously it’s nothing alike. I didn’t even realize we were 800-feet in the sky until Pat made the announcement and I gathered myself for some selfies.
By the time the Ativan kicked in, I was smiling and watching the horizon change from black to pink to yellow to blue. The whole sky was filled with a rainbow of hot air balloons drifting into the quiet. Pat’s radio crackled as another balloon announced its passengers’ engagement. “CONGRATULATIONS!” we all shouted.
I’m actually amazed by how normal I come off in this video.
I was downright high, leaning over the basket and trying to catch reflections of our balloon in the lakes underneath us. After our smooth landing, Pat and his crew set up a table of snacks, and we had a champagne Irish Balloonist’s Blessing to our day in the air.
The sun has blessed you with its warm hands
You have flown so high and so well
That God has joined you in your laughter
and set you gently back into the loving arms of mother earth.