Today I am Grateful for: Watching the Sunrise from a Hot Air Balloon

For me, gratitude takes practice.

It is a mindset — a lifestyle, even.

To keep myself accountable, I have decided to share reasons why I am grateful. Some are profound, some are simple. I am going to be sharing them in the format of a “list” with the goal of posting one item per week. These posts are written with intention of grounding myself in the present moment. Something I think we all need more of.

Watching the Sunrise from a Hot Air Balloon

In 2013, my best friend was turning 20-years-old and I wanted to show her how much I loved her by celebrating in a grandiose way. I had always wanted to ride on a hot air balloon and she was the perfect person to check off that bucket list item with. We drove to Temecula at the crack of dawn and arrived to a large open field nestled amongst picturesque vineyards.

The hot air balloon company let us walk inside of the balloons as they prepared them for the flights. I will never forget the vibrant colors and the enormity of the balloon itself. Just as the sun started to peak over the cloudless horizon, a small group of us piled into the wooden baskets. The pilot lit the flame and we lifted off the ground as if we were a pile of feathers. Words can not describe what it is like to be suspended in the air in a wooden basket! To be honest, it scared me more than skydiving.

Seeing Earth from that altitude was unique. We were high enough to see miles and miles of the beautiful Southern California landscape and at the same time low enough to see all the little details in the soft morning light.

At one point, our balloon started to veer off of its track. A man started running on the ground below us, yelling up at our pilot as he was tossed down a rope. They were hollering about something going wrong. It happened all so fast. We looked to our left and saw a few giant trees up ahead. There was nothing we could do. I distinctly remember the freakishly tall man aboard with us who was filming with his iPad and yelling “Oh lawd! Oh lawd!”. And just as quickly as we were in the path of grave danger, the man below managed to veer us in another direction so that we missed the trees by a couple of feet. Our entire group signed a huge sigh of relief and laughed it off like it was nothing.

After our balloon ride, we enjoyed a birthday champagne toast and fresh strawberries. The positive energy and happiness was tangible. It was truly the perfect morning. I would not trade that experience with my best friend for the world. I love you, Aja!

Book your hot air balloon trip here.

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