A man in South Africa is doing something that only the animators over at Pixar ever dreamed of: he wants to travel to various places across the globe using multicolored balloons to do so. Recently British Adventurer Tom Morgan headed to Botswana and then Johannesburg to take to the skies in his newfangled contraption, a cheap camping chair dangling from a load of balloons. Yes, basically like in Up.
Tom Morgan and his partners over at the Adventurist have spent quite a bit of time figuring out how to take a journey through the skies using 100 balloons to transport them. (Pro tip: suspending one person takes fewer balloons than suspending a whole house.) Videos of the team practicing for the big day have shown them discussing practical concerns for the journey, including what to pack for food and how to accomplish bathroom breaks in the sky.
On Monday, after a failed attempt to get going in Botswana, Tom Morgan's team headed to South Africa, where they successfully launched. Unfortunately, the big challenge for the balloon team has been keeping the chair up in the air through various weather conditions. If they conditions aren't perfect, the balloons pop, and that's not good for someone trying to stay airborne. According to the Telegraph, the camping chair made it 15 miles before Morgan gradually started cutting balloons to reach the ground.
While Tom Morgan is not saying that Up was his inspiration--as one cop watching them practice has suggested--it's fairly clear where he got the idea. Otherwise, why not use balloons of the same color instead of the multicolored variety? And for that matter, why use balloons for flight at all? You can see more from Morgan's adventures throughout the Adventurist YouTube page, as well as a look at the South African adventure, below.
Pixar's Up may be best-remembered for its emotional opening scene, in which we get to see Ellie and Carl's relationship play out. (If you haven't had a good cry in a while, please revisit the scene.) Second to that, however, Up is absolutely remembered for the myriad colorful balloons that transport Carl and young wilderness explorer Russell into the unknown. There's a whole adventure involving aggressive dogs and a flightless bird Russell dubs Kevin, but the imagery of the balloon house is instantly recognizable to the movie, and it's an image that may now inspire flights across the globe.
In fact, what he really wants to do is turn his adventure into an organized air race, noting,
I came here to see if we could organise the world's most ridiculous air race and after that flight, I'm more convinced than ever that we can.
So, if one day you'd like to be like Tom Morgan, or the characters in Up, perhaps this will be more mainstream. In the meantime, you can catch Up on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital.