How to beat a fear of flying – Part One

This post is really part 1 of my attempt to overcome a fear of flying. Over the past year I have travelled all over Europe by train, bus, and ferry. Often finding myself paying more than double the price of a flight, or that my journey takes 3 times as long to get to my destination, all in my bid to avoid getting on a plane!

It seems ironic that I would choose being a travel blogger as my profession when the thought of flying leaves me literally terrified, but I’ve always thought that you shouldn’t let fear get in the way of what you want to do. I simply said to myself that I would travel by any means possible other than flying, even if that meant crossing oceans in cargo ships to get to where I wanted to be. In hindsight however, I have just being avoiding my fear rather than facing it. I’ve been making things extremely hard for myself, and now the time has come to finally get over it, and stop putting obstacles in my way. So I have come up with a plan to get over my crippling fear….

I’ve booked a flight for tomorrow (October 27th 2011) from Glasgow to Malaga (I’m actually going to Granada, but there are no cheap flights from Scotland to there!) It took me 2 whole days to get back to Scotland from Andalusia last time. Flying back it will take me around 3 hours! It’s fine when you make a trip out of it, and stop for several days in destinations along the way, but when you’re going straight there it seems quite pointless and like a waste of your time to take so much longer to get there.

I’ve been through everything in my head of ways to overcome a fear of flying. My first thought was simply to take sleeping pills, but this journey is too short for that. Also, as I travel solo it’s not practical for me to do this as I carry things like laptops as hand luggage, and I also need to rely on myself not to be too drowsy to get off at the end, pick up my luggage, and get to my hostel ok. Others have suggested natural calming remedies, but I’m of the opinion if medical experts have not deemed it a medicine then it’s probably a lot of bullshit (that’s just my personal opinion.) Drinking copious amounts of alcohol is probably not a great idea to get over it either for your own health at that altitude, and to be honest I think taking anything remotely mind altering doesn’t actually help you get over the fear. There will be times when things like that won’t be available, but you still need to fly, and I really want to conquer my fear, not avoid it as I have been doing.

Instead I’m going for the old mind distraction technique. There is no getting around that on take off especially I am going to be shitting myself. You can’t have your laptop out at the table, and mobile phones etc need to be switched off. As I said I’m travelling solo, so unless I can strike up a conversation with a complete stranger (which probably isn’t a good idea on a plane as I tend to freak other people out with my fear) then I have nothing to distract me. I’m just going to have to ride through take off and landing, but hopefully they won’t take too long…

They say it’s not bravery unless you’re scared. However if I poop my pants I’m not sure how brave that is going to feel! 😛 I’ll pass on any tips if I find any that make the whole flight process a bit easier for those like me in the next post. Wish me luck!

5 Responses to “How to beat a fear of flying – Part One”

  1. Andrew says:

    I feel you. My fear of flight was strong enough to name my blog after it. I have since started flying again. In the past year I’ve done 2 transatlantic and 2 transcontinental flights plus a number of shorter flights. I take low dose Valium to get through it. Though at least one flight was just on a beer and flying next to my wife. I am heading to NZ at Christmas.

    Before last year the previous flight was 10 years before that. I’ve been to europe on boats twice. Trains length and breadth of Europe.

    I still hate it. It still freaks me out everytime for most of the flight. The pills just help that the emotions don’t seem to fester in my memory as much.
    I wish you much luck in your flight.

    • jane says:

      Glad to know I’m not the only one. Who know… maybe it’s the build up that’s worse than the actual flight… Although that’s probably just wishful thinking…

  2. Mari says:

    I know the situation. I get white hairs each time I fly…Sometimes I am alone with my kids. I don’t like it…but I try to read a lot to them: in fact I try to distract myself. It’s like I’m trying to convince them=me everything is fine; when there are turbolences I’d go like “I don’t like it, but we’re going through the clouds, so it’s going ti shake bla bla bla”. Talking releases a bit my tension. A chatty (possibly interesting) person sitting next to me is a blessing…
    Good luck :))

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