Time Traveler: Up, Up And Away!

The beauty and camaraderie of hot-air ballooning allow fans--and their spirits--to soar

I get vertigo at heights and suffer from motion sickness in cars, planes and boats. And I'm not the most adventurous person in general. So what in the world was I doing in a hot-air balloon thousands of feet over Albuquerque, N.M.? Simple: having the time of my life.

It was 1999, during the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the world's largest event of its kind. As soon as we took off in the cool dawn air, any trepidation I had instantly dissipated. My frazzled New York City nerves melted. I felt as if I were floating on water--completely quiet,...

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