Today’s Solutions: February 03, 2023

Not fast, but certainly a lot of fun: a hot air balloon is the perfect way to travel from A to Wherever The Wind Takes You.

Sam Jordison | September 2004 issue
Modern life has taken all the mystery out of the skies. Flying on a airplane is the most boring thing you can do while still being absolutely terrified. Hot air balloons, by contrast, offer an elegant, beautiful and eminently enjoyable way of getting from point A to Wherever The Wind Takes You. They bring back the wonder of flight. And do it a pace that will delight even the most indolent soul.
There’s no practical reason to climb into a giant wicker basket and put yourself at the mercy of the breezes, but it’s definitely worth the experience. After all, our ancestors always wanted to fly like birds, not because it’s an efficient way to travel from meeting to meeting, bubecause it looks like fun. And they were right. The view of the landscape below is stunning, and the feeling of being in the sky is nothing less than euphoric.
I balloon regularly in England’s Lake District, and for a while even had a job where I trailed the balloons in a Land Rover and retrieved the passengers after they landed. A balloon ride is surprisingly soothing and calm. Balloons are never flown in anything above a light breeze, and everything around you feels perfectly still because the wind gently pushes the basket on its way. The only disturbances come when the pilot gives the gas a blast, or when a fellow passenger excitedly spots something interesting on the ground.
You never know where you’re going to land in, or how long it’s going to take to get there. There’s nothing to do other than enjoy the view and chat with your companions. And when you land, the Land Rover ferries you back to where you started. The flight has served no purpose, other than enriching pleasure of life.
Adapted and edited with the permission of The Idler (Winter 2003), an insane magazine for lazy bums in which wry British humour shines. It is published once or twice a year—depending on the work tempo of the staff. For subscription information: The Idler, Idle Limited, Studio 20, 24-28a Hatton Wall, London EC1N 8JH, United Kingdom, telephone +44 20 7691 0320,,
Sam Jordison studied classics at the University of Cambridge, became a goat herder in France and then returned to England to compile the book Crap Towns: The 50 Worst Places to Live in the UK. He likes slow films about dead Russians.

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