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Flying in a hot air balloon is a once in a lifetime experience.

Push your boundaries to new heights, literally.

I wouldn't say I'm not *not* afraid of heights, but it's one of those things where I'm not sure how I'll react until I'm in the thick of it…like when I got stuck on a rollercoaster for 45 minutes (but that's a story for another time).

Even roller coasters, which I love, have an element of security as you're completely strapped in before you hit 90 MPH complete with upside down loops and swinging hands in the air. On a hot air balloon, there's really not much to hold onto – no seatbelts, chairs and the height of the basket only goes up to your waist.

Solo trips can be invigorating and push you to venture out in a new place. For me, it was riding sky high with Rio Grande Balloons in Taos, New Mexico, which is some real bucket list sh*t. If it's something that makes you comfortably anxious, do it.

There is a lot of prep work before flying in a hot air balloon.

It's 100% worth the early wakeup.

If there's something you should know about me, I am not a morning person…but I'm working on it. When I had instructions to meet at 4:30 AM, to be honest I was more nervous about the early start time than the actual hot air balloon.

But I totally get morning people now. Even without a 50 foot balloon, there's something special starting your day in complete darkness and seeing the entire world waking up. Now imagine that 100 feet in the air as you say good morning to the rising sun…it's mesmerizing.

Hot air balloons depart early in the morning.

We used small balloons to check the winds.

I was involved in the entire process with the three-person crew from getting the basket on the field and inflating the balloon. The slightest winds can change the entire trajectory of your ride…or even cancel it. Before we do anything, the crew let regular sized balloons into the air to determine our route based on winds and speed. Who knew party balloons had that much power.

Bring your friends as you ascend in a hot air balloon.

There's not much to hold onto.

If you don't know already, this is not for those faint of heights. I'm not going to tell you that any fears wear off once you're in the air. Determine for yourself if you're equipped to be up, up and away for over an hour, standing up and holding onto the edge of the basket. You won't find any bathrooms in our quaint little space.

The woven basket really added a magical element of surrealism.

It's a step back from technology that we're so accustomed to today – and it's refreshing. Taking in the surroundings, I constantly stopped myself to take it in, some sh*t straight out of a fairytale.

Hot air balloons have been around for centuries.

We celebrated with a champagne toast which is an old hot air balloon tradition.

If you go on a hot air balloon ride, make sure you have a champagne toast afterwards to celebrate. It's a tradition dating all the way back to the 18th century. We had ours overlooking the bridge. While I did miss being in the sky, I won't take for granted having my two feet on the ground.

Be good,

JB

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