Flying Through the Fear | 30 Days of Indie Travel Project

This is part of BootsnAll’s 30 Days of Indie Travel project, a daily blogging challenge with a prompt for every day in November 2011. Check out the prompt at the bottom of this post to find out how you can participate!

Like many travelers, I have a fear of flying. I developed the fear over time in my mid-20’s. Flying went from a means of travel to a cause of anxiety. Soon the anxiety turned to fear and I found myself in near-hysterics during every take-off, clutching the armrests at the hint of turbulence. Studies show that women are more likely than men to have a fear of flying, and most experience the phobia’s onset in their early 20’s. I can’t speak for the rest of the fearful flyers out there, but I’ve come to realize that much of my fear is rooted in two simple facts. 1) I don’t want to die. And 2) I really, really don’t want to know that I am about to die.

The first point is obvious. No one in the prime of their life wants to die. But I think I’ve become more aware of this fact as I’ve aged.  As a teen I was stupidly reckless, but like the rest of my peers, I felt invincible.  As I grew older, fell in love, and got married, the reality of how fragile life is began to set in, along with the realization that life was something I could lose before I was ready. And I’m not ready. I’m not done yet.  There’s so much more I want to do, want to see, want to become.

But, people love to argue, you have a much higher chance of dying in a car accident than in a place crash. To that I say (in addition to, “I take pubic transport.”) that it’s really the second point that makes a plane crash so terrifying to me. If I am going to die before I’m old and grey, I don’t want to know it’s coming. I don’t want those few minutes of watching the ground grow closer at dizzying speed, of waiting for the end, of thinking of all that I’ll miss. My fear of flying has nothing to do with terrorists and little to do with mechanical failures and pilot error. It’s all about those final moments.

The fear of those moments struggles against my love of travel, but in order to travel, I need to push those thoughts out of my mind so I can get on the plane. So I do, with the help of an anti-anxiety pill prescription from my doctor. Since I’ve begun taking one pill a few hours before my flights, I’ve been much more calm. The fear is still there, but it lurks in the back of my mind instead of knocking my heart around in my chest or springing from my eyes as rushing tears.

In 2009, in an effort to help me get over the fear once and for all,  my husband bought me a short introductory lesson in flying a small plane.  After a bumpy start and a minor freak-out, I managed to take the controls for a few moments, but any thoughts that this experiment would cure my fear were quickly dismissed. I faced my fear then and I face it every time I board a plane, but I don’t think it will ever really be gone. But that’s okay. I’m not going to let it stop me from seeing the world. A life without travel is a much more frightening option.

30 Days of Indie Travel Project: How to Participate

We’re inviting bloggers from around the world (that means you, too!) to join us in a daily blogging effort designed to reflect on how our travel experiences over the last year – or whenever – have shaped us and our view of the world. Bloggers can follow the prompts as strictly or loosely as they like, interpreting them in various ways and responding via text, photos or video posted on their own blogs.

We’ll share some of our favorites via Twitter and Facebook throughout November, as well as a round-up article at the end of the month, so if you’re playing along make sure to let us know – use the #indie30 hashtag on Twitter, and link to the 30 Days of Indie Travelpage in your post so we’ll be able to find it.

Find out all of the 30 Days of Indie Travel blogging prompts so far – it’s never too late to join in the fun!

Prompt #6: Fear

Just as travel can be fun and exciting, it can also have its challenging, or even downright scary, moments. Being in a new place pushes us out of our comfort zone and makes us face our fears. Tell about a time you had to face your fear when traveling, and what was the result.

Tools and inspiration:  Read about lessons learned from several scary travel situations 


Comments on Flying Through the Fear | 30 Days of Indie Travel Project

[…] Check out one BootsnAll staff member’s biggest fear.  […]

Mun S
06 November 2011

What a great article- I never had a fear of flying until I was about 16. (I used to love taking off when I was a kid.) I think all the reasons you listed for the onset of this fear are so true. I’m now 25 and have recently begun taking a xanex or two before my flights. It certainly helps during take-off and those turbulent moments (as does some wine), but I don’t think my fear is something I’ll ever get over completely. I have the same belief as you- a life without travel is something I fear much more than flying so I just deal with it flight by flight. Happy and safe travels!

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