I’m afraid of heights. Just thinking about climbing a ladder makes my stomach queasy.
So imagine my reaction when I was in Istanbul and a friend suggested I go to Cappadocia in central Turkey for a hot air balloon ride, I was not immediately excited.
That is an understatement.
The cautious side of me thought, “I’m traveling alone so no one to lean on if I get scared. It’s not cheap at $300. I’d have to get up at 3:00 am for the hour’s drive from my hotel. The balloons go high with no parachutes.”
The adventurous side of me thought, “How cool! I’ve never been in a hot air balloon. It sails over a valley with unusual landscape. I’ll be in the basket with others to talk to if I get scared. We’ll watch the sunrise while aloft, and be back at the hotel by breakfast. I’ll have the rest of the day to explore. They must have safety checks as they do this every day.”
We have opportunities for adventures, yet few take them because of their cautious self-talk.
When pals hear that I go abroad several times a year, some say, “I wish I could afford that.” I ask, “How much do you think it costs?” The response is usually, “I don’t know.” I ask, “Then how do you know you can’t afford it?” When I tell them I commonly spend less than $500 for two to three weeks in Asia, they are stunned. I explain I use miles for air fare, and I find clean, safe, inexpensive lodging. They are agog.
They made a decision based on assumptions, not grounded information. They let their fears, not facts, taint their thinking.
Adventures take some courage — tamping down your fears to get in action.
I made a balloon ride reservation in Cappadocia.
It was chilly and dark when we arrived to see the balloons laid on the ground as they were filled. The dozen balloons near me slowly rose until vertical. Twenty riders climbed into our basket while our pilot briefed us on safety. Then we rose along with the sun.
Floating peacefully, I was awed by the dawn’s evolving colors, witnessing nearly 100 brightly colored balloons rising nearly simultaneously. The quiet was pierced only by the occasional blast of a burner adding more air. The gondola’s gentle sway was comforting as we ascended higher.
Rising to nearly 2000 feet, I inched toward the basket’s center, away from the edge. It was too terrifying to look over the edge at the disappearing ground far below. However, when I looked straight out, I was mesmerized by dozens of colorful balloons dancing in the breeze against a snow-capped volcano in the distance. The flames from the burners contrasted with the sky. The chilly air on my face was invigorating.
Adventures may cause all your senses to heighten. Time slows as you notice what otherwise may have been overlooked. You see, smell, hear, feel and smell nuances. You feel fully alive.
When a fabulous adventure beckons you, say yes to it.