30 Wonders

Today is a special day.

So I decided to celebrate it the way it should be!

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I woke up very early this morning, got picked up by a minibus at 4:45AM and by 5:45AM, accompanied by the sun, I rose into the air aboard a hot air balloon piloted by Lars, one of the most experienced pilot in the region of Cappadocia.

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This ride was a first for me and it will definitely be one of the highlights of my trip. Alongside a second identical balloon piloted by Lars’ partner Kaili, we were airborne for almost 2 hours reaching a max altitude of 800 meters (2400 feet). On a background spotted with tens of other balloons, we loomed over Cappadocia enjoying the valleys and the rock formations, descending in some of the canyons, brushing against the top of the trees, landing on the top of the fairy chimneys, hovering above villages or greeting people as they were peeking outside their house to find out from where that hissing sound was coming from.

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The two balloons followed an intricate choreography, played with the wind and with each other to see which one could get closest to the ground or a rock without touching it.
The view from up there was amazing and picturesque. People on the balloon were very nice and wanted to make this flight a great memory for me.

Long after all the other balloons had disappeared from the sky, we finally landed in a field several kilometers away from our take-off point. Lars landed the balloon right on the trailer (With some help from his land crew). We then jumped on the balloon to help deflate it.

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Soon after, we were served a celebration drink and cake.

Kaili, Sandie and some other people started singing the ubiquitous song for me.

Yes, today is my birthday. I am now 30. The big 3-0! My 30 Wonders :).

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If you did not guess it before, one of the goals of my trip was to fulfill a dream, a promise I had made to myself that I would go on a long trip before I was 30 y/o. I wanted to see more of the world. Especially its wonders and based on that list (that could be debated for hours on), Cappadocia is the 30th Wonder I have seen since I am born. How fitting!

Today is also the end of this trip. I booked the plane tickets and will be flying back to Paris tomorrow. I decided it was the perfect symbolic time to stop. I have been feeling overwhelmed and empty at the same time for almost a week now. If I had a lot more time planned for my trip, I would have settled longer here and waited until the will and desire would come back but since I have only 10 days left max, it does not make sense.

However, I am not fully finished with this trip yet since I will not be back to San Francisco and real life before mid-August. So keep on reading!