Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia

Dear Sam,

For someone who is afraid of heights, it’s surprising how I said yes to this.

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But how could I not really?

Doing my research, over half a million went up on the hot air balloon last year and there have been no reports of people tipping over, failed hot air or bad driving skills.

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So again, how could I not really? #yolo

Kidding aside, it is one of the best things I have ever done so far. If it’s not on your bucket list, you have got some editing to do.

There are loads and loads of companies in Cappadocia. Because we were on a tour, TravelTalk booked our ride for us with Voyager. We paid €150 and every € is worth it. (Roughly around £130)

Everything is all prepared for you and you only have to do one thing—wake up at the crack of dawn.

Now for some people this can be extremely hard (*cough*you*cough*). Make sure your hotel gives you a bell or change your wallpaper to hot air balloon pictures so that when you wake up, you are instantly motivated to get out of bed.

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They do this service all year round. But it all depends on weather. So it can be a hit or miss. Even though you have gone past the getting out of bed step, the verdict is determined before they let you in the car. (It’s like waiting for test results, nerve wracking)

Luckily, we got a go signal and we hopped in the arranged car by Voyager. Usually they pick you up 30 minutes – an hour before flying. (Depends where your hotel is.)

Question: When do they cancel flights? And what happens when they cancel?

Answer: Rain, fog, snow or wind consistently above 7mph. Turkish Aeronautical Association makes sure everyone is safe so they take the conditions seriously! They let you pay the day before but if they cancel on you, you either get a full refund or schedule you in for the next day if you are still in town.

So we get there and it is crazy. Dozens and dozens of hot air balloons being blown up all waiting for us sleepyheads to climb in. It is such a sight to see.

We hop in the baskets. (Okay maybe climb in. There aren’t doors or anything) and then the pilot introduces himself, explains the whole trip, etc. Each basket fits about 18-24 people. There are “deluxe flights” that take smaller groups of 10-16.

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And then.. up, up we go! The balloons can go as high as 3,000 feet and this is enough to see the charming chimneys and rock formations.

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Catching the sunrise was amazing.

 

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On average, you will find yourself oooh-ing and aaah-ing for an hour and then the pilots bring you down where a chasing vehicle tries to park near the landing spot.

As you climb out, the team hands out glasses of champagne, makes a toast for surviving (lol) and even gives out certificates! People who don’t like drinking alcohol before 7 are given juice, fyi.

You have to take a picture as well. For the ‘gram and all.

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Voyager brings you back to the hotel where you think you are going back to sleep but you are too pumped up so you pig out on the breakfast buffet instead.

All in all, the experience was amazing and would highly recommend anyone to do it.

Hoping you liked my recap,
Isabel

 

What Travelling Has Taught Me

Dear Sam,

Hi my name is Isabel and I am a travel junkie. (This is the part where everyone in the hypothetical room goes, “Hi Isabel.”)

It is so easy to get hooked though, isn’t it? It’s like getting a tattoo; it is almost impossible to only have one. After you get the first one, you start getting this itch of having another one.. and another one.

And with over 40 cities to date, I still want more.

I find there are two downsides to travelling: money and time. You have to save up for a trip and take time off work. But at the same time, you get so much out of it that it makes it all worthwhile.

The two best upsides of travelling are the stories you get from the trips and the lessons you learn. Both very priceless things that no one can ever take away from you, they become engrained in you and become part of who you are.

I have learned a lot from my travels and I will share with you some of my favourite ones.

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Slow down

I was travelling in Barcelona with three of my friends who have all been in the city. Being the only true tourist, I decided to leave them and go on a bike ride around the city. Cycling in a city you are unaware of, you tend to slow down and take in the moment more. And this is true for everything, I walk slower, eat slower- basically become a turtle version of myself. Lol. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Living in hustling city, we sometimes forget to slow down and just enjoy the moment.

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Appreciation and Inspiration

I have learned to appreciate everything I have a lot more. At the same time, seeing all the different cultures and lifestyles, it made me realize the way that I want to live my life. I can’t even begin to explain the sense of inspiration I always get when I meet new people or when my perspective develops. Travelling has also inspired me to work harder to, well, get more money and travel more.

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Open Mindedness

It has been said so many times by so many people, “Travel broadens the mind.” And I think this is so true because you learn so many things on a trip that you would never if you were just stuck in your own little bubble. We missed a ferry ride to Estonia–no problem, we explored more of Helsinki. We missed a plane ride back to Wellington–that’s fine, we can still gawk at Queenstown. Travel changes you: makes you more tolerable, flexible and understanding.

I follow so many travel bloggers and Instagrammers because if I’m not out and about, I want to be inspired by these jetsetters conquering the world (while I am wearing my PJs lying in bed.) Social media has certainly paved the way for a lot of my inspirations. It has given them the voice to reach out to people and show them what the world has to offer.

So it made me wonder what travelling has taught them– what lessons have they learned?

Mad appreciation to each and every one of these guys and extremely thankful that they took the time to reply to me and sending me a picture.

(Please note that all pictures following the names belong to them and I do not take credit for it.)

Lauren Bath

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“For me traveling has definitely taught me to be more accepting of others. Being in different countries and learning about other cultures has shown me that people are often the way they are because they are different, not because they are better or worse than what I’m used to. Like you I have become more open minded due to this. Travel has also taught me patience and flexibility as it’s so hard to control circumstances when you’re in a strange place.”

Follow Lauren!

Olga Chagunava

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“Probably the fact that, regardless of ethnic, cultural and religious differences in this world, we are all the same. All we need is love. As cliche as it might sound. Travel broadens your mind and opens up your heart.”

Follow Olga!

Chris Burkard

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“In life there are no shortcuts to joy. Anything worth pursuing is going to require us to suffer just a little bit”

Follow Chris!

Travis Burke

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“The lessons I’ve learned while traveling are endless, but the one that has made the most impact on my life is that it’s always key to be as flexible as possible. Try not to have a minute to minute itinerary—the more open you can keep your schedule the more you’ll be able to adapt to life as it unfolds. Unexpected adventures can sometimes be the most worthwhile.”

Follow Travis!

James Asquith

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“Only use your guidebook as just that, a guide. Be open minded and say yes to exciting sounding adventures. There were times where I followed the guidebook too closely when I first started travelling, but feel confident to listen to new ideas. “

Follow James!

Hoping to see more and learn more,

Isabel

 

The One Down Under

Dear Sam,

However short, I loved our Sydney trip. If it were my first time going, I think I would have been stomping my feet, telling you off, why you made me agree to only five days.

My first time in Sydney was five years ago and that was my first ever trip outside Asia. And overall, my second trip outside the Philippines. (Boy, much has changed since then!)
Continue reading “The One Down Under”