Today I was lucky enough to speak to Charlie Timbrell an inspirational young man who was diagnosed with autism at age seven, has just achieved his lifelong dream of owning his own hot air balloon!
Charlie was keen to explain that in his words:
“I felt since I have been become a hot air balloon pilot the only reason is because of my autism, and I would like to be able to tell my story to people who think their dreams won’t come true as I know for a fact that mine have come true.”
As a child Charlie had a fascination with balloons, their bright colours captivated him and a lifelong love was born as he explains here:
“Well, my love of balloons all started the day I was born according to mum and dad. It caused some problems because mum used to hate bringing me to parties and weddings…I would just take all the balloons! I don’t remember that, but I do remember stealing balloons from shops to the point where mum had to pat me down before we left the shop…my pockets would be full of balloons.
School was amazing. I got along with every one and my teachers was great and they were very with intrigued with my balloons. Then middle school came along and the second people found out balloons were my passion things went downhill. The bullying started and I hated going to school. The autism centre was dreadful and never let me in when I had meltdowns. Everyone just thought I was just misbehaving and I would end up running away from school and running home. Mum thought I was just being naughty as well. She had to learn about autism herself and there wasn’t much help for her to do so.
Then when I was in high school teachers used to tell me to be more realistic when I told them I wanted my own balloon decor company and to be a hot air balloon pilot. Both of those things came true! I own a hot air balloon and people telling me I couldn’t do it or it was unrealistic just made me even more determined to become a balloon pilot.
College came and every one was so helpful…encouraging me to follow my dreams. I did and now I am here!
I had a hot air balloon on my Christmas wish list every year and back in 2007 on August 8th at 8:30am my dad and I flew in a hot air balloon for the first time. That was the moment I knew I wanted to be a balloon pilot.
In 2009, I was lucky enough to get into the main arena of the Bristol Balloon Fiesta and that was my first hands on experience with hot air balloons. Of course I loved every second of it. That was also the first time I saw RC hot air balloons in person and thought that was the closest I was going to get to owning one.
But last year I bought my first RC hot air balloon and ballooning really kicked off for me! I got into competition ballooning and just normal hobby ballooning and I am very close to getting my pilots licence.”
Charlie let nothing hold him back, shrugging off others doubts and reaching for his goal of floating in the sky, guiding his own balloon through the clouds and accomplishing what others had deemed impossible.