I do not consider myself a “thrill seeker” nor an “adrenalin junkie”.
I derive no pleasure or satisfaction from placing myself in harm’s way.
I do not equate risk with excitement.
Each of my flights require significant pre-flight preparation wherein I gather as many forms of information as may be available. I consult with the National Weather Service and maintain close contact with the raw data and images available to meteorologists prior to each and every flight. I also consider it my personal responsibility to acquaint myself with the typical weather patterns for each of my flight paths which explains why a custom location may require my arrival some days or weeks in advance of a proposed flight.
That being said, when I am pioneering a flight over an area that is new to me or an area that has never been flown by balloon, there is a certain amount of information that cannot be known in advance. This is the definition of adventure…to venture out into the unknown.
I do this with the advance preparation noted above combined with my experience and skill to navigate the uncharted elements that will surely introduce themselves along the way.
The historical working components of a balloon remain unchanged from its design in 1783.
While those components have been upgraded with modern technology and include systems of redundancy for safety the Balloon remains limited to the singular input control of “Up”.
Down is moderated by heat inputs and direction is navigated by seeking varying winds found within different layers of air at various altitudes.
Piloting a balloon is a dance with Mother Nature.
Mother Nature can be a Bitch.
I select the days when I believe the winds aloft to be consistent and stable. Their direction determines my selected launch point and influences my selected landing points.
Each flight is an adventure because of the limited navigational controls and the ever present prerogative of Mother Nature to Change Her Mind.
Submitting to a set of conditions which are not entirely within my control is what makes it romantic in the timeless sense of the word.
The change in perspective…..changes one’s perspective. The impact of which can be immeasurable; for we are never the same when we return. After all, are we not the sum total of our live’s experiences?
Join me in the dance and together we shall explore unseen beauties and in the process experience a movement of our souls yet unknown.