Fear of flying

Sometimes it’s not faith that makes it possible to face your fears, sometimes the fear of missing out on something is stronger than the fears that would hold you back.

I used to have a crippling fear of flying…okay, maybe not crippling. My desire to get to far away places very quickly often outweighed my fear of flying and when I studied abroad in Germany my desire to save money outweighed my fear of flying.  By 2007 a bunch of regional airlines had sprung up making it (much) cheaper to travel by air than by train between countries in Europe and I traveled a lot while I was there.  I think I took ten flights in two months.

Flying wasn’t the only fear I was facing on those trips though. I also used to be afraid of travelling alone.  I used to only travel with family, or friends, or boyfriends. About a year before Europe I found something I wanted badly enough to face both my fear of flying and my fear of traveling alone. In that case the thing I wanted to do was go to Veronica Marsathon in Austin and I didn’t care that no one else I knew was going.

I had definitely conquered my fear of traveling alone after Austin and Europe, in fact at that point I almost preferred traveling alone. I also felt like I might have conquered my fear of flying after all those flights.  I no longer got anxious before getting on planes. I mean, I still got anxious on take off and landing, but other than that I was mostly fine.  Of course, I get really bad motion sickness on any moving vehicle so I always take Dramamine when I fly and sleep through almost everything but take off and landing, but even so, I felt like I’d made a lot progress on my fear of flying.

A couple of days after I got home from Europe, I had a wedding to attend in Puebla, Mexico. I flew from Seattle to Dallas, Dallas to Mexico City, then Mexico City to Puebla.  That last leg of the flight was on a tiny plane. You know, the kind where you can almost touch both walls while standing in the center aisle. Also, there was a really bad thunder and lightning storm over Puebla when we flew in. Looking out the window of the plane you could see lightning striking all over and you could see, it looked like hundreds of, little fires all over the ground from previous strikes.

Flying in a storm like that was terrifying, but it was also beautiful. I’d never seen anything like it before and I’ve never seen anything like it since. I had no way of knowing that my flight would get caught in lightning storm, but I can’t imagine having missed out on that amazing, beautiful, and terrifying experience. Now I never think twice about getting on a plane alone.