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.
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.
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.
Be like a hot air balloon. Ignore the negativities. Ignite the fire within. Rise up against all odds. Fly in your sky of dreamsVidhya
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!
- 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!!!!
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!
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.
You’re invited to our link party! So what’s it all about?
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.
You can also find Deb’s World in lots of other places – stay in touch by clicking any of the buttons below.
A tragic accident at age 17, resulting in a Bravery Award from the Queen, didn’t deter Debbie from travelling the world. A young retiree, after being made redundant from her 22 year career managing education programs in a men’s correctional centre, she now loves reading, blogging, riding her ebike and a good cup of tea! Also known as Granny Debs to her 4 grandchildren.
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