The fear of heights soon left me when I became a steeplejack in the eighties, my grandfather, father and uncles were all steeplejacks and after walking up my first chimney I was set and stayed in the industry for twelve years, leaving for a higher earning potential.
Steeple-jacking in those days, we used relatively simple equipment to access Industrial Chimneys, Churches, Highrise Tower Blocks... knowing your equipment how to use it, its limitation and trusting those you worked with were the key things to survival in the industry. So getting into a hot air balloon and trusting a stranger and his equipment tweaked the feelings of that very first chimney climb.
They say that a little knowledge is dangerous when it came to hot air ballooning in Spain for the first time, too much knowledge made things a little scary.
I was on my way to Utah in the USA for a month to take my hot air balloon license and for three months before I had studied like mad reading everything ten times and some, so I would pass hopefully with ease, at the last minute the trip was canceled. I decided to get some flights in locally in Spain.
The stages from getting the basket out, inflating it, to the equipment check and the long brief on how to conduct yourself and finally what to do when we come to land, also the opportunity to ask a few questions about the safety of the balloon for reassurance was translated into one word VENIR – Come, followed by VENIR AQUÍ RÁPIDO - come in here fast!
We then Shuttle launched to 4000 feet – Who needs a girly safety-brief.