I have a problem. I love to travel, but I hate to fly. Someone once told me that the expressions on my face during takeoff, landing and even the smallest amount of turbulence were enough to convince a whole plane load of people that our flight was doomed. It’s a stubborn fear that has stuck with me even though I first flew across the world when I was seven, spent my childhood moving from country to country and did lots of travel that involved airplanes while abroad. When I had my own children, I vowed to avoid plane travel for as long as I could. That lasted about two years.
I’ve just returned from four glorious days in the sun. I ate, slept, played tennis, napped, finished one book (When Breath Becomes Air) and read another (The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair), sipped wonderful wine, ate delicious seafood, walked on the beach, sat by the pool, and I flew on airplanes. It couldn’t be avoided. Two flights there, two back.
I have a little prayer routine I say before takeoff and landing, but when turbulence hits, I usually just panic (quietly), grip the seat cushion and try to keep my gasps as muted as possible. The first leg of our flight home was delayed because, the pilot informed us as we sat at the gate waiting to pull onto the runway, the plane had struck a bird as it was landing, and although there was no visible damage to the aircraft, mechanics needed to inspect the engine more closely. I sat quietly pondering, “Is it better to know this sort of thing before we take off, or not?” Needless to say, we made it safely home.
I have a problem. I love to travel, but I hate to fly. It’s worth it though.