Everyone loves to talk about checking items off their bucket lists, but what's so often underrated is adding things to the list. After all, those are the moments of creativity, when we imagine and put ourselves in hypothetical situations, when all the places and events in the world are attainable.
So I'm going to add another one to your list.
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is the world's largest balloon festival. Each year in early October, more than 700 balloons from around the world gather in a large field in northern Albuquerque that's roughly the size of 54 football fields. The result is nothing short of spectacular.
Here's why you should attend:
* More than any other event I've been to, the ABQ Balloon Fiesta is sensory overload. I'm not going to play spoiler here for those who have never gone, but it's safe to say if you're in the middle of the field before the sun rises, expect to put your head on a swivel as the sun climbs over the mountains to the east. You literally don't know which direction to look there's so much going on, and the sound of the propane-fueled burners used to blow the balloons up (and the heat they emit) just adds to the effect.
* It's the most photographed event in the world. Organizers claim 25 million photographs are taken during the nine-day event, and during my time there, I heard concerns about phone memory space on more than one occasion. Other accolades? The Fiesta also lays claim to the largest annual international event held in the United States. Expect to be blown away by the size of the event and the spectrum of the colors.
* New Mexico is just a cool place. I'm always amazed at how underrated this state really is. It has history. It has beautiful scenery. It has really nice people. It has cool adobe architecture. And it has food that is so damn good I would eat enchiladas every day of my life if I lived there. The question then becomes (which is the official unofficial question of the state), would you like that with red chile or green? For me, it's not a choice, though.
I'll go Christmas style, please.