Is it even a gift if you buy it for yourself? #WOTY

Hello and Welcome to Deb’s World

As you know my Word of the Year is Gift and I’m thoroughly enjoying the various ways I’m seeing the word show up in my everyday life. I’m truly living it!

Today I’m sharing a few thoughts on how we can legitimately buy ourselves gifts and show some self-compassion in doing so.

Be the sunshine and lift everyone up like a hot air balloon.

The Gift of Spontaneity

Recently I read a post from Chris at Booming On Travel, that sparked something in me. She shared her experience of a hot air balloon ride over her home town of Canberra, with wonderful photos and great tips.

I suddenly stopped and thought ‘I want to do that.’ I must admit going up in a hot air balloon has always been something I have wanted to do, but never got around to doing.

The fact that I have a slight problem with ‘height anxiety’ hardly registered with me at the time. My daughter lives in Canberra and I knew Enlighten and the Balloon Spectacular was coming up soon so I went searching for a booking.

Just. Like That.

Spontaneity is a wonderful thing.

I asked the mathematician if he’d like to come with me and he said ‘not really’, so it was just me going up. I looked at the site of Balloon Aloft and chose a Thursday as my grandchildren don’t go to daycare that day, and booked it!

After I’d booked it, I had a few doubts about how I’d manage considering there was the height thing! But I was committed. My daughter in Canberra commented that she’d always wanted to do a balloon flight so I invited her to join me and then arranged it so we would be on the same flight! I stayed with them the night before so it all worked out well.

This song by the 5th Dimension from 1967, reminds me of my childhood and is perfect for my adventure!

The Gift of being scared of heights

Despite being scared of heights I have made every effort not to let it impact on my life too much and can say I’m proud of facing my fears on multiple occasions over the years.

It all started as a result of the fatal bus accident I was in as a student, while on a school excursion to Noumea many years ago – we’re talking decades ago!

It shows up in odd situations – when I get too close to an edge, or someone else does, I can’t look, I have to turn and walk away, after politely suggesting the person come back from the edge first. I have trouble when driving on a winding road; being in a bus on steep mountain sides like when we were in the Italian Alps; crossing swinging bridges or non-existent bridges in the case of the Kokoda Track; walking on steep mountain tracks in the Himalayas in Nepal or even here in Australia… I have been frozen at times unable to move on. I obviously try to face my fear but it’s always there.

I did do something I never thought I’d do a few years ago in England – a zip-wire adventure! That was also a spontaneous decision and my husband was convinced I’d chicken out but despite serious nerves setting in, I did it! My daughters were gobsmacked that I’d even contemplated doing it! I even have video proof if you want to see (and hear) it.

So in some ways a hot air balloon ride was quite tame! It was truly amazing.

Up early

It was an early start, but as Zachary my 1 year old grandson had decided to wake at unearthly hour of 4.15am, we were up and ready without the need of our alarms. The weather was overcast but not windy so we were hopeful the flight would go ahead and drove into the city on very quiet roads. We arrived at the Questacon building right on time at 5.45am and waited with the other passengers for the briefing with our pilots at 6am with all the other passengers. We had been allocated a pilot when we checked in – we had Harry. There were 5 balloons going up that morning.

After the briefing we jumped into shuttle buses to be taken to the launch area nearby, where a weather balloon was shot into the sky to test the wind and elements. It was still dark as we huddled around – as one of the drivers said, it’s a case of ‘hurry up and wait’ with ballooning’.

Our basket had four compartments holding 4 or 5 people in each plus the middle area for the pilot. We were shown how to climb over the edge using the footholds but I still managed to make myself look ungainly – Sarah couldn’t stop laughing when she took the photo of me lifting my leg up and over.

It seemed to take some time for all the balloons to be inflated but I was happy with the care and professionalism being shown by our team of workers. By just after 7am we were up in the air and I realised I’d forgotten to be scared. It was such a smooth take off, just quietly drifting up.

We floated along turning this way and that to look and take photos of the views of Canberra underneath us, waving to those looking up at us, watching the sunrise through the clouds and then the fog that enveloped us. I loved the quiet as we floated but still managed to jump each time the gas was used to inflate the balloon.

I still don’t really know how they ‘fly’ the balloons but I wasn’t worried. The only time I actually did get scared was when we went really low, just skimming above the water of the lake (see photo above). I was starting to plan how I’d escape.

Official group photo
Official group photo taken while floating along

The Gift of floating and seeing the world from a different perspective

The best parts were seeing all the other balloons up, the feeling of serenity, the sensation of floating above the earth, seeing Canberra and the National Arboretum below and the sheer bravery of what I was doing! It was good having my daughter with me to share the experience with and she loved it all too. Chris’s post had beautiful images of the arboretum and it was these that had me hooked!

This shot is one of my favourites, looking down at the amazing shapes and colours of the arboretum, plus the road and car, which complements the plantings.

The National Arboretum from above
The National Arboretum from above

Be like a hot air balloon. Ignore the negativities. Ignite the fire within. Rise up against all odds. Fly in your sky of dreams


Once we had been over the arboretum, it was obvious we were looking for a landing place, but we floated for a while longer, noticing a group of kangaroos below us and other balloons landing.

We had been in the air for about an hour by this stage, and when we did land it was a remarkably smooth ‘plopping’ down on the ground. Some of the passengers were asked to help secure the balloon and once we were given the word we all alighted and then the fun began of getting the air out of the balloon and folding it up for the trip back. We were invited to help walk the hot air out and then help roll it up into a sausage shape.

We were given a glass of bubbles, or orange juice, chocolates plus our certificate and a breakfast voucher. We were taken back to the start of our morning and met up with my son-in-law and grandchildren before heading to have our well deserved breakfast.

It was an early morning start but such a wonderful experience, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. The whole setup was well run and professional and it was so much fun! Thanks again to Chris for the gift of her post which got me started – she made it all so clear!

Balloon certificate
Balloon certificate – I did it!

Other Gifts

  • The lovely hat my mother bought for me at Tumbafest.
  • The somewhat ‘inappropriate’ gift I got my sister for her 60th birthday, plus a very appropriate one.
  • The gift of being a part of a wonderful group of women undertaking a 30day health/wellbeing challenge and I’m feeling good!
  • Riding my ebike to town just to get the mail – sometimes it’s the small things!
  • Finding quirky accommodation for a weekend away.
  • Being recognised by a reader of my blog when out and about – what a satisfying feeling it was to talk with Rosie.
  • My reading/listening of The Gifts of Reading: Essays on the Joys of Reading, Giving and Receiving books  is going well. It’s full of short stories from a variety of authors extolling then joy of reading and giving books as gifts.

The Gift of Blogging

NEWS JUST IN – I have been blogging for 10 years!!!!

Congrats to me for 10 years of blogging!

What does GIFT mean to you?

Did you have any good gifts during the month?

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my end of the month post 🙂 Have you been up in a balloon or would you be keen?

Thanks very much for stopping by, I always appreciate your visits and any comments you leave me 🙂

You can find my co-host’s WOTY posts here – we’re hoping you can join us!

Deb xx

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter…

Note: To answer my question in the title, yes buying yourself a gift does count! A gift is a gift of love. I realise I’m fortunate to be in a position, both financially and time-wise to be able to do this.

Linking with Natalie for #weekendcoffeeshare

WOTY co-host
WOTY co-host

This year I’m joining co-hosts Donna, Jo and Sue, to provide a link party for anyone who also wants to write a monthly update to help keep the focus on their WOTY. We’re hoping you can join us.

What: 2022 Word of the Year Link Party #2022wotylinkparty

When: Last Thursday of the month PM (Northern Hemisphere)/ Last Friday of the month AM (Southern Hemisphere). The link will be open for 3 days so you’ve got plenty of time to join.

Why: To encourage us all to keep the focus on our chosen WOTY.

Where: Link Party, Blog, Blog Comments, Instagram or other Social Media.

Who: This linkup is open to everyone.

How: You can share in the comments, with a blog post, or on other social media of your choice. Include the hashtag #2022wotylinkparty so that we can find you and include your link in our posts. Whichever way you choose to share, don’t forget to leave a note in the comments so we can find you.

We’re live at 9am (AEDST) on the last Friday of each month and if you’re linking up a blog post you can do so by clicking on the blue link below, it’s open for a few days so don’t panic! Take a look at some of the posts to see how others are managing their WOTY in 2022 – there are some great words out there and creative people!

You can also find Deb’s World in lots of other places – stay in touch by clicking any of the buttons below.

Contact me

Debbie - mother of a 40 year old

Everyone has a story to tell! Deb is a young-at-heart & active 60+ blogger/retiree, after being made redundant from her 22-year career managing education programs in a men’s correctional centre (jail). She now spends her time reading, blogging, riding her ebike and travelling. Deb was awarded a Bravery Award from the Queen when she was 17 after a tragic accident – a definite life changing moment! She is married with 3 grown-up daughters & has 4 grandchildren. She never imagined being Granny Debs would bring so much joy to her life! You can read more of Deb’s story here

Copyright © 2021 – All rights reserved

72 Replies to “Is it even a gift if you buy it for yourself? #WOTY”

    1. Thanks Donna! The 10 year notification only came in yesterday so I quickly added it to my post this morning as it’s been a gift to me in so many ways. The balloon ride was fabulous and I’m so glad I can share the photos and fun, a true gift to myself!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. It really was such a surprise once we were floating away, although I have no issues with planes either so maybe there’s a difference. Yes 10 years is a good length of time to be blogging and i still enjoy it immensely, especially the community of bloggers I have around me 🙂


  1. Fantastic. I have always said I don’t think I would like being in a balloon. I see them all the time and they are beautiful. I like it that way. To see your post and the energy that came from this gift of a unique day, makes me think twice. The photos were great too.
    Congrats on 10! Donna

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks Donna, it was totally worth it all! I know I’m lucky to be in a position to do it, so I’m extra grateful! I do get a bit enthusiastic about things but if it helps others then it’s worth it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Debbie, gifts to ourselves are so important, especially as women. Women tend to be more gift-givers than men, and we often forget to treat ourselves. You have so many wonderful gifts in your life and the gift of YOUR friendship is precious to me! Congrats on 10 years of blogging–a huge milestone– and I totally agree that blogging has become the gift that has kept on giving. Amazing shots of your balloon ride and kudos to overcoming your fear of heights! I will link tomorrow morning when my fitness post (WOTY–walk) goes live. For now, I’m linking to this post at 7am Pacific time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Terri, you are right we need to give ourselves gifts as much as anyone else. I am fortunate to have lots of gifts and meeting you via our blogs all those years ago has been a great gift. Your Fitness post was perfect as is your WOTY! Thanks for your lovely comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Big congratulations Deb on your blogging anniversary. I do believe that we should treat ourselves with a gift occasionally. What a great gift this was. I went in a hot air balloon many years ago when my children were young teenagers. I remember being very terrified before but totally calm when we were up. I love the photo of the arboretum from above. It looks like a beautiful painting.

    1. Thanks Jen, the calmness was a lovely feeling I hadn’t considered although others had said similar things. Floating over the arboretum was my favourite bit as the plantings became clearer from above. Such a wonderful landscape.


  4. What an uplifting (no pun intended) post Deb and you’ve made me feel so happy reading your post. Like you I have wanted to do a hot air balloon ride and like you I suffer from height anxiety. Funnily enough, I don’t worry when I’m in a plane or helicopter – go figure?? I’m sure you will remember this experience and also it was so special sharing this adventure with your daughter. Congratulations on 10 years of blogging. You certainly have used your ‘gift’ of writing to bring joy to your readers. Thanks for co-hosting WOTY and also for being a great friend. Here’s to more adventures and blogging. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sue, many thanks for your lovely comment and I love the uplifting pun :). Planes don’t worry me either, I don’t know what it is, maybe the being enclosed as someone else said? Indeed, many more adventures to come.


  5. A gift to yourself is even more special!! Wow to the 10 years of blogging… years before grandkids too. Congratulations. I know some anxiety can make us not do anything…but hey, you gifted yourself courage and the ability to see beyond your fears. I reckon you can, over time, apply those gifts to other life experiences. Go well, and thanks dear friend for this link up. Denyse

  6. Hi Deb – well done on conquering your height aversion for another adventure. I’ve never been in a bus crash, but all the things you described also spark fear in the pit of my stomach too. I imagine the ballooning would have been so serene and peaceful and the views look amazing. Congrats on your 10 yr blogging anniversary too – Fabulous effort! (see what I did there?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Leanne, I am very pleased to have done the balloon ride and would now do it again without a second thought. It was peaceful up there (in between bursts of the gas going up) and so lovely to do it with Sarah. Thanks for the congrats, it’s been a fun 10 years and I’m proud of sticking with it. Yes I see what you did there my fabulous friend!


  7. congrats on the 10 year anniversary
    and this post was a lot of fun – that bus accident way back when sounds so scary and like you are a gift to still be around – and to keep doing what you do – like zip lines and balloon rides – 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Yvette, the 10 year blog anniversary has rolled around very quickly! I am a gift to still be around when you think about it and I think the accident taught me not to waste time, do what I can when I can and try not to think about what can go wrong! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Your balloon photos were amazing. Grant & I did it many years ago over the wineries in the Hunter Valley – I think it was a gift for his 50th birthday…and an experience I’ll never forget.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow Deb! I really admire the way you acknowledge your fear but push yourself to conquer it in so many ways. It sounds like it was the most amazing experience and what a lovely gift to yourself!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I so enjoyed this post, Deb. I know your bus accident story and understand your fear of heights. It is so amazing that you continue to face this fear over and over again. The ziplining story – omiword – I would love to do that and am inspired by you to do it one day.
    For absolutely no reason whatsoever, I am afraid of speed and uncomfortable sensations like flying, ski-boating in rough water, roller coasters and such. I have faced these fears and never regretted it but to be honest it’s more nervous anxiety than a real phobia.
    I particularly like your balloon story. Just over 10 years ago I organised a surprise balloon ride over the Cape Winelands for a friend turning 70. It was not easy getting the names and numbers of the party guests but I managed and they all contributed to the fare. At her birthday celebration I handed over the voucher while the DJ played the very song you shared.
    I was inspired to do this because a while before her 70th we were together when she saw a hot air balloon and said – I would really love to do that!
    On the day of the trip she asked me to go with her but I was too scared. However, I went to watch the proceedings and to take photographs. It was just awesome to see how much she enjoyed the experience.
    One day I will do it in Canberra – because your sentence about seeing the kangaroos below just got to me. How flippin’ amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. OH wow! That balloon ride sounds fantastic. My mother in law has been trying to get up in one for years but each time they have it booked it get canceled due to the weather and winds. I love watching hot air balloons and I’ve been dying to get to a huge hot air balloon festival they have in New Mexico each year but I have never wanted to get in one.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow – what an experience, Deb! We have hot air balloons that go over our house all the time, but the baskets are much smaller (usually about 4-5 people). Always in the early morning, like you did, or in the evening. It looks so calm, despite the height. It’s great that you’ve been able to face your anxiety about heights this way and with the zip wire. That’s a gift to yourself!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Absolutely, we should gift ourselves 🙂
    Glad you bit the bullet and tried the hot air balloon ride. It’s a unique experience 🙂
    I had no problem with the balloon ride, but I chickened out on my chance at ziplining. A mistake I’m still regretting 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  14. What a fabulous adventure. I’m a bit iffy about heights but think I would be ok with it like you were. I might forget to let go and definitely would make getting in and out look akward! Darn short legs!
    Congrats on the 10 year anniversary of blogging. You always brighten my day with your posts. Bernie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Bernie, I’m thrilled I’ve now done it and still smile at myself climbing in and out! That’s a lovely comment that my posts brighten your day, you’ve made my day 🙂


  15. A Hot Air Balloon ride was on my “bucket list” and we did one during our African Safari. Hubby is also not fond of heights but did not find the hot air balloon ride at all worry-some, once we were in it.
    And I think giving gifts to yourself is perfectly fine… especially when they are experiences you’ve always wanted! And how wonderful to share it with your daughter too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny Pat the height things wasn’t really an issue. I’m glad your husband enjoyed it too. My daughter was pleased to do it with me so it was a lovely few hours spent together.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi Debbie, what a wonderful post. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it this morning and thinking if that would be another adventure for me to try. Maybe next birthday! Your blogs are always a Gift to me, congrats on the 10 years, keep enjoying what you do. xx

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Congratulations on 10 years of blogging, Debbie. How wonderful that you got to do your first hot air balloon ride with your daughter. Thank you for sharing your beautiful experience and photos with us at #weekendcoffeeshare.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi Deb, from your video of the 5th Dimension’s song through to your ballooning adventure, this was a great post.
    When I was 12 years old, my mom decided to throw a dance party for some friends and I in our living room. There she introduced us to the 5th D, who soon had us dancing (sorta) to this same song and oh my how the memories came back. The your fear of heights – Lord I can relate and to give you a glimpse and maybe chill your blood a tad, I offer you a story I wrote long ago now about my own fear of having lots of open air between my feet and solid ground. Please, take a look back with me as it fits so well with your experience.

    Considering the Fear of Heights

    Thanks for a great coffee visit. Let’s do this again soon. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much Gary, your comment made me smile. Your story in the link had me cringing at times, I don’t think I could parachute or skydive or do a bungy jump anytime soon but the hot air balloon was fun. Thanks again for visiting for a coffee!


  19. WOW….go Deb! I am afraid of heights but like you I try not to let it interfere a whole lot. I can’t pinpoint what made me fear heights. I have not gotten in a hot air balloon and I’m not sure I could do it…I don’t like feeling exposed. I’ve never been ziplining either. it’s the whole, exposed thing. When we rode a gondola up the side of the swiss alps I was okay because we were enclosed. So weird. Congrats on the 10 year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Kirstin. The fear of being exposed is an interesting one and I feel for you! I don’t like gondola rides much as it’s scary but I do them when I can.


  20. Some lovely gifts here, Debbie! I’m similar to you with fear of heights and unstable places. I once went for a walk with a friend on a plank path along the shore of the sea, and in one spot, it was broken and very narrow. I totally froze and I can’t remember if we turned back but I think so! For unstable places I don’t know how to handle it but I’m absolutely determined to cure my fear of actual heights where there’s no threat involved. I cured my fear of spiders using photography and learning about spiders, so I’m sure I can do the same with heights – going to those places and take photos.
    The view of all those balloons in the air is absolutely stunning! I can imagine the feeling when up in the air is very special. I’d like to try it someday!


    1. Hi Susanne, your comments are very welcome. Unstable places like that plank would cause me to freeze too and also jumping across gaps in rocks is enough to freak me out these days! Thanks for the lovely comment on my balloons floating by shot, I love that one! I think you’d enjoy the experience, I hope you get a chance to do it one day 🙂


  21. That balloon ride sounds fabulous, Deb, and I am so impressed that you did it despite your anxiety with heights. So fun that your daughter wanted to join you. As for a gift I received this month, I had the gift of a weekend with my sister and her husband and a beautiful, sunny day for swimming.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Christie, honestly I didn’t feel scared at all and had faith in the pilot and organisation that all would be well – and it was! What a lovely weekend it sounds like you had with your sister – great gifts!


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  23. What an awesome experience, and you should definitely be giving yourself gifts every day. I went on a balloon ride about ten years ago, and felt quite uncomfortable because of my fear of heights. But I tried to keep that hidden and enjoy it as much as I could. Toni x

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Congrats on the 10 year anniversary! I’ve always wanted to do a balloon ride it would be so thrilling to see California from above. Did everyone get a chance to “steer” the balloon? I’d be most frightened doing that.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. How great you got to have a balloon ride over Canberra and conquer your fears, and I inspired you! Well done you and glad you enjoyed it. And yes – the arboretum is really spectacular from overhead, isn’t it?


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