I was again recently challenged by a colleague to relate my recent hot air balloon ride to international logistics, and I do confess to liking a good challenge. I also have to confess my favorite was the “Stump Scott Trivia Challenge” as I thought I was actually pretty good at trivia until our clients gave me some solid teaching on trivia of their own!

My wife bought me a hot air balloon ride for my birthday as it was something that has been on my “bucket list” for some time now. So, the big day was scheduled and we were supposed to have a sunrise flight over Lancaster County in Pennsylvania taking off from the small town of Blue Ball. It was a nice summer day and they asked me to hold the balloon open so they could turn on some gas-powered fans. Of course, I looked to see if they were made overseas and if a freight forwarder or a custom broker was involved, but they were not.  I noticed a small tear in the balloon and I was told not to worry as that hole was nothing compared to the tear in the top of the balloon!  The balloon had hit a tree the day before and with the damaged caused, we were going to need a new balloon.  The new balloon was filled and I did notice the balloon was made in the USA as were most of the parts, but I was informed there are many quality balloon makers in countries all around the world.

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In talking to our pilot, I was informed some of his favorite flights were in Austria and France.  As we started to climb and eventually got to about 2,500 feet, I could see the rolling farms of Lancaster County with the Amish horse and buggies sharing the roads with tractor trailers. The pilot started to point out landmarks and some were the upper portions of the Chesapeake Bay and the Susquehanna River along with a few nearby nuclear power plants. I then saw a couple of my client’s buildings in the distance.  I realized I had a couple clients working out of barns in the area and others with small and large facilities within our vision.  I started to see the roads and rail lines that move the goods from those clients to the ports, airports, and warehouses for transport all over the world. So even from 2,500 feet up in a hot air balloon, international logistics and customs brokers are moving cargo while factories large and small are producing and communicating with customers around the world. The local communities and the world are getting closer all of the time.

I did also discover why my bucket list keeps growing. As soon as I checked one thing off my bucket list another adventure is added. Ballooning in Austria and France here I come!  

Written by: Scott Hoffman

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