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"Love is in the Air" - Interviewing a Hot Air Balloon Pilot in Cappadocia
Helene Cappadocia

During my last trip to Turkey, I headed to Cappadocia with a girlfriend to watch one of the most beautiful sceneries that exist… To witness hundreds of hot air ballon rides at sunrise. After this magical experience, she introduced me to her air balloon pilot, Erdal.

“I love my job. I’ve done this for 5 years and havent complained a single time. Not a single time have I though: “I don’t want to go to work today”. I dreamed to fly and the fact that I get to experience that on a daily basis makes me speechless. Also, bringing smiles onto people’s faces gives me energy… Most ladies even cry of happiness.

I’ve understood that it doesn’t matter how much you charge, whatever you do, put your heart into it. Working a low-paid job that you love means more than having a high-salary and being stressed because you hate what you do.

Chiefs can cook the same meal with the same ingredients, but the flavor will be different depending on wether they cook with love.

Cappadocia balloon story

I get it. Money should be the number one priority for a business. However, the way I handle mine is as follows: first safety, then making people happy, then money (if I deserve it). I was a florist before and had the same feeling - I went the extra mile to create this wow sensation in people’s eyes. That gave me the feeling I was successful and should keep going.

Now as a pilot, yes, people pay me for my service, but in return they get something that they cannot touch, taste or smell. Yes, it’s partly visual. Still, they FEEL it in their bones. It’s an experience.

They will enjoy the scenery either way, for sure. I want to enhance that through connection. Tourists come from their country for something specific, they have a dream, they want to be happy, escape their daily stress and pressure, relax…

So I love to create emotional switches, to make them forget about their problems and let go of their fears. Fear of height is psychological. They are nervous at the beginning, so I say that the name of the balloon is “Titanic” and start playing the music, they laugh and we drop the pressure instantly.

Then once up in the air, I ask them: “Are you happy? If not, I can open the floors for you!” Those little changes of emotions make them more present in the moment. I am not giving them a fancy car or a house, I am sharing an experience that creates genuine happiness.”

hot air ballon turkey

As I place my hand close to my face, Erdal notices the butterfly tattoos on my wrist. “Interesting, a butterfly. This symbolizes that life is short. I remind myself of this constantly. My silver lining happened in 2005, after a break-up because I was selfish.

It taught me to always try to be nice and express my love with others. Everybody knows how much they love but never how much they are loved.

Therefore, I’ve designed the enveloppes of my air balloons with smiley faces with heart-eyes and I’m currently designing one that says on it “Love is in the air”.”

Love is not a person. It just is there. Inside of you. It’s in the air all around us. And anyone can feel it too, once they switch their perspective."

air balloon story