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Meet: Jon Russell

Jon came to ballooning slightly late in life. Before taking to the skies, he ran his own carpentry business in Bristol, England (with an occasional holiday overseas). Following this, he sold his house and business - and continues to travel the world flying balloons and having adventures. This has been Jon's life now for 26 years. Recently, Jon has been flying in the UK though his last three winters have been spent in the heartland of Sri Lanka, flying balloons in the Cultural Triangle centred on Dambulla.

From: United Kingdom, United Kingdom
Languages: English
Occupation: Pilot
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Will Fly for Food. My life in ballooning began at age 34, when I travelled through Asia for a year-and-a-half - to India, where I broke my arm in a balloon festival at Safdarjung (I still carry a metal plate, a constant reminder that I carry a piece of India with me!); to Pakistan, where I flew in the Hindu Kush, then on across the Karakoram to China via the mountain valleys of Swat and K2. Continuing across China, I went to live in Japan for six months, teaching English and flying balloons near Lake Ōtsu.
Since then I have visited many countries and flown balloons in nearly all. Altogether I had five years in the USA, where I have flown in 48 states (still Vermont and New Hampshire to go!); five years in Canada - mostly flying in Ontario - and three years in Australia, flying in Cairns, Canberra, Melbourne and the Hunter Valley.
I spent two years flying in the Serengeti in Tanzania, and have also flown in the Maasai Mara in Kenya and the Okavango Delta in Botswana. I spent a short time in South Africa, where I did some flying outside Johannesburg. And for six years I was living in Northern Malawi, running guesthouses and lodges mainly for backpackers (I was also the maintenance man, fixing up properties along the way).
As for best experiences, it is difficult to judge - but here are a few: Flying over the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti and amongst the red-rock mesas of Monument Valley; spending 10 months flying amongst the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia in Turkey and representing Japan at the world championships in Montreal (Canada); flying in the largest balloon festival in the world - in Albuquerque, New Mexico - and on the slopes of Mauna Loa in Hawaii; flying ice-core samples from Mount Kilimanjaro, and flying Prince William. All this and more, besides! .

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 Hi Jon. I live in Toronto, ON< Canada and am planning a trip to East and South Africa in January and visit India in Feb. I am 74 years of age and climbed Mt Kenya early this year.I would like to do some hiking, hot air balloon in Feb. Any recommendations for me? Abdul Pirani Email: piraniabdul@gmail.com .
1376 days ago
 
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