Not a lot of people get the privilege of riding in a hot air balloon. If you ever get the opportunity, don't pass it up. Trust me! I have now been on three hot hair balloon rides and all three have been amazing. Now this may sound cliche, but my first ever balloon ride was life changing. It caused me to view the world a lot differently, not only literally viewing it from a higher perspective, but it made me realize how beautiful this planet we live on actually is. This is why everyone should go on at least one hot air balloon ride in their lifetime.
What you actually see while you're up in the air is breath taking. At first, you can't help but looking down. No matter how scared you may be of heights, you're safe in a basket, so most of the fear goes away. You can't help but wave to the people that are on the field where you took off. You watch them get smaller, the cars get smaller, everything get smaller as you're flying into the sky. Then, you take in the sky. You're now a part of the sky. Whether you're flying in the morning, afternoon, or evening, the sky is astonishing. My favorite is the morning flights where you watch the sun rise to then light up the earth. Then, you look back down. You see all of the scenery that you have never seen from this point of view before. You may think that it would be the same as flying in an airplane, but it isn't at all. You're much closer to the ground and you get to see all around you, not just through a window. You see house roofs, cars that now appear as toys, depending on the season you see hay bails that look like marshmallows, beautiful creeks and waterfalls from a birds eye view, etc. All I can say is, cherish the moments when you are in the air, it is truly a feeling you can only create when your in the basket.
Then you realize how HUGE the world actually is. It made me realize that there is so much more than the life I live in. You catch a glimpse of a bigger picture of the world that exists. It's a point of view everyone should have at least once in their lives. It's as if you're observing the world. How it works, who and what exists on it, all of the nature that is actually being taken away from us. Weird analogy, but it's kind of like you're an alien that isn't a part of this world and you're just outside of it looking in. The flights give you time to step back (unless you're the pilot). You don't pay attention to the time, you kind of forget about your life, the people in it, all of your troubles, and you just take in the beauty of the earth from a point of view you can't create unless you're in a hot air balloon up in the air.
All of what I just wrote about was going up in a balloon. If you have been on rides before or are deathly afraid of heights, or just want to get more involved with ballooning, a perfect way to still get some of the experience or expand what you've already done, is by balloon crewing. Balloon crewing these past 4 years for me have been amazing. I've met some pretty awesome people that have ended up meaning a lot to me. You're a team that work together to put the balloon up, chase it (unless you're in the basket of course), and take it down. And you have a lot of fun while doing it. Even if you only do it once a year, like me, it's still worth it. I look forward to it every year. I only see some of crew once a year, too. But we're still a strong team and a close family. Also, balloon rallies and festivals are definitely not as cool if you're not a part of them.
To wrap things up, if you ever get a chance, attend Letchworth State Park's Red, White and Blue Balloon Rally that takes place every Memorial Day Weekend. This is where I have flown every year. This park is so beautiful. Not to brag for it or New York, but it is indeed the best State Park in the whole US, AND one of the most scenically magnificent areas in the eastern U.S. That definitely isn't a lie. So when you add the beautiful scenery with the balloons that fly over the gorge, it sure is a wonderful sight to see. If you're lucky enough, a balloon ride through the gorge is definitely worth wild. If you're REALLY lucky, you may even land in the gorge. (Trust me, it's amazing).