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There is something humbling about floating more than one kilometre above the earth. The world stretches out, shifting endlessly as the colours of dawn throw new light on the horizon. Captive (and captivated) in a basket, there is simply the moment.  The sound of silence is interrupted only by the occasional blast of the furnace as it opens to send hot air into the balloon and lift you further away from the world as you know it. Without fanfare, the basket has soundlessly departed from the ground and you find yourself peering out at a 360-degree view of the Yarra Valley that is postcard picture perfect in every direction.

Suddenly the 3am alarm doesn’t matter as you realise that this – this glorious vista at dawn on a cool Tuesday morning – is all that matters. This is once in a lifetime, once in a moment even. You take a breath and marvel that you are one of ten lucky people together in basket watching the beginning of a new day up close. There is reverence, an unspeakable softness.

For today’s flight we have headed from our meeting place at Balgownie Estate north towards Glenburn. It’s still dark and our strange little convoy of troupees towing wicker baskets seems strangely out of place. At the launch site, after a safety briefing and checks, we help the crew get the basket ready and hold the massive balloon (nothing prepares you for how big this silky piece of fabric is – or how much you will be relying on it 100% very soon!) while it is filled with air from a massive fan that is then heated to create lift.  By 6am, we are one of three hot air balloons ascending into the Yarra Valley skies on a journey of softly panning circles, following the updrifts in a southerly direction. Every burst of the furnace bathes us in golden light and transforms the balloons into giant lanterns. It’s above beautiful.

 

The skyfilled night gives way to a pink and gold sunrise and our one-hour flight seems to take hours. From the safety of our basket we wander the skies, across forests of ancient trees, open paddocks and farmhouses, neverending vineyards and townships. If you’re a local, there are recognisable landmarks that you feel you can almost reach out and touch. If you are a visitor, you have a perfect vantage point from which to plan where to next! From this elevation you see absolutely why the Yarra Valley is a valley – the ring of mountainous terrain embraces a valley that is always green – a lush food bowl and source of water and life, and everything we enjoy the most in life.

As the sun bursts over the fringe of mountains, the mists hovering over the dams and valleys start to lift and the city skyline is revealed (we can even see a tiny balloon hovering above the CBD).  It’s meltingly gorgeous. I am caught between capturing everything I can on my camera versus taking it all in first hand without the distractions of tech. It seems impossible to take a bad photo at this angle!

This floating experience is serene and atmospheric, and something so much more than I expected. To see this part of the world in its pristine nature, so much of it untouched and wild, gave me a renewed sense of what we need to love and protect in our environment and gave me a fresh insight into how we all share this land.

Charting a path across the Yarra River (Birrarung) and billabongs of Yering, Kiff points out local wineries and landmarks, boxing kangaroos and his local primary school.

We land in a paddock in across from Yering Estate, the resident cows barely raising a head to greet us.  After ‘all-hands-on-deck’ to pack up the mighty deflated balloon, we return to Balgownie Estate for a cooked buffet breakfast and a much anticipated coffee!

Kiff, our captain, has been flying balloons since 1987. He has just returned from a world ballooning event in Slovenia with his son where people could land ‘on a flag in the middle of a paddock’ he says, so precise were their navigation skills.   I’m certain Kiff would hold his own in such company. I sense he knows instinctively what his digital navigation tools are going to show before he’s even looked at them. “It’s all about invection – the meeting of cool air and warmer air bands,” he explains. “But it’s also something felt,” he continues, “a five senses experience.”

“When you are up here you have a different perspective. It’s a joy to be able to see beyond your own confines. To experience the world like this, it opens you up. You can’t not be affected,” he says. “Everyone should know this feeling.”

With my new perspective, I completely agree.

Disclosure: Lindy Schneider was a guest of Global Ballooning on Tuesday 29 October 2019. She has lived and worked in the Yarra Valley for almost 20 years and has an even deeper appreciation for the region having now experienced it ‘from above’.

How do you choose a professional copy and content writer who will polish and bring your message to life? Everyone learns to write at school, but not everyone takes the extra step of becoming a ‘professional’.  If you’ve never engaged a professional copy and content writer before, and you think it’s time, here’s a list of quick tips to help guide your search for the right fit.

Local Life 

While you don’t necessarily need to meet with your professional copy and content writer face to face (thank you technology!), knowing they aren’t far away can be reassuring. It also means they understand the area you are operating in, will have strong networks, be in the same time zone as you for instant real-time responses, and will understand the subtleties and nuances of your market. There are ‘localised’ elements to the way we speak and write that come naturally to locals. And local can mean anything from ‘within 100 kilometres’ to ‘same continent’ depending on what you need!

Marketing Acumen 

If your engaging a writer for blog and content writing for your business then it is vital your writer has sound marketing instincts, after all they will be preparing information that presents your precious brand to the world. Look for a writer who has studied marketing and the copy you commission will be insightful and effective.

Journalistic Discipline 

Ensuring people are being quoted correctly, copyright, fair use, even areas of defamation or false advertising all come into play in writing content. It’s also super important to make appropriate  references to people’s gender,  sexuality and abilities to be inclusive, fair and empathetic.  A copywriter should be able to evidence a working knowledge of the do’s and don’t’s.

Real Relationships 

Building an ongoing relationship with your writer is not only efficient, it can bring a sense of ease and fun to the work. When you find a copy and content writer that gets you and your business, the whole process is streamlined and you will both be passionate and eager to do the best work. There is a mutual benefit in developing an ongoing connection and professional writers adore providing service and ‘extra mile’ support to their valued clients.

Across the backend 

if you’re too busy to write, you’re probably too busy to upload content as well. A good copywriter can offer you the additional service of content loading to your website and may even take it a step further and offer digital support across social media channels. Knowing how the backend of your website works is helpful when writing as it can influence how copy is presented (and therefore how it’s written) and how images, captions and other elements can be worked in together for the best possible read for your users.

Editing Diva

A copywriter who has taken the time to become qualified or educated as an editor and proofreader will always provide you with superior copy. High school English lessons only go so far. If you want to be professional, engage a professional who has done the ‘hard’ work of learning there are nine different types of nouns and what a dangling modifier is! And nothing turns people away quicker than a typo.

Deadlines done and dusted 

Copy and content writers need to have superhuman organisational skills. While you might only see the finished copy at the end of the process, the research, drafting, editing and crosschecking of content is often a time-intensive process. Ask your copy and content writer how they approach deadlines, and if they can facilitate quick turnaround jobs and you’ll get an instant feel for whether you’ll be waiting!

Breadth of experience 

An established copywriter will have a broad range of clients in their back story and be highly adaptable across different industries and writing styles. That is what it means to be a professional writer, not just a writer! Copy and content writers over time naturally build up a solid and broad ‘expertise’ base even when they have specialist disciplines they work in. (And what you learn in one industry can be very useful in another.)

coffee cheers

Connected and Creative 

Successful copy and content writers get to meet many different people in their working lives and naturally gravitate to the service providers they encounter that share the same work ethic and values. This means the right copywriter will also have an instant network of other businesses (think web designers, photographers, graphic artists and so on) to connect you with that offer that same quality work – you’ll end up with a team if you choose wisely!

Portfolio and testimonials 

Always, always, always check out the writers’ folio. If a writer is proud of what they do, they will have a dedicated page on their website with samples of their work and testimonials from clients. Check out the socials and see what others say about them.

Lindy X

Please give me a call on 0417 365 697 or ping me a message if you have any questions!