Now that I’m registered for Blogher 06, I need to start planning the remainder of the details. I looked at the hotel’s website to reserve my room, and I noticed they want to know when the plane arrives so they can be sure to pick me up. So, the room has been put on hold until I have picked out my flight.
I pulled up Expedia to look at flights to San Jose from Columbus, and slowly started to feel my chest getting tight, my palms sweat, and my head feel light. I closed the browser window, recognizing this sensation.
Today’s confession: I have a fear of flying. It’s not so great a fear that I refuse to fly, but I do have some pretty strict guidelines when it comes to choosing my travel.
First, I won’t fly anywhere that I can reasonably drive to. Chicago: 6 hour drive. New York: 8 hour drive. Virginia Beach: 10 hour drive. Florida: 16 hour drive. I’ve done them all versus flying. They are mostly single day drives (we even did the Florida drive in one day once), so I see no reason not to drive. Besides, I enjoy the process of getting there.
There have been places I couldn’t drive to, like when I spent a summer in England. Even then I said that if they’d just build a road to get there, I’d drive it. Obviously, driving out to San Jose in order to spend 4 days there is not reasonable. It would take that many days just to drive there. Plus I’m still taking classes, and I doubt I could take that much time off from my classes. So flying is clearly the logical answer.
Second rule of flying for me is only large jets. I’ve been on one of those damn turbo-props, or as my family calls them, turbo-plops. It was an unfun, nauseating, up and down experience. The larger the jet, the less likely I am to feel every little bump of air, and the more secure I feel.
In order to fly, I must mentally prepare myself weeks in advance. Meditation, relaxation exercises, going over the details in my head, etc. When I went to England, it took me two tries to finally walk down the hallway to board the plane. I walked up to the doorway, handed them my ticket, then asked for it back and walked right back to my mom for one more hug. Deep breath, then I turned around and was successful on the second try.
I also dislike flying due to an inner-ear problem I have. We discovered it when we flew to Florida when I was nine. My ears have a lot of trouble with pressure equalization. Going up isn’t so bad, but going down is painful. The pressure won’t release, and I usually spend several hours after the flight with diminished hearing and one hell of an earache. Nothing a
little lot of ibuprofen can’t fix, but still annoying.
I know it’s crazy to be so scared of flying. You can recite the statistics, but I already know them. Yes, more people die in car crashes every year than in plane crashes. It’s not a rational fear. If my car stops working, I can get out and walk. If I’m on a boat and it sinks, I can swim for at least a little while. If the plane stops working, I can’t fly on my own. I guess I’d be less scared if they didn’t travel so far away from the ground.
No worries, this issue will not stop me from going to Blogher. My fear of flying is strong, but not strong enough to keep me from the things I really want to do. I’m just glad that, unlike my trip to England, I’m now (well) over 21, and can beg for alcohol to help me relax just a little bit during the flight.