I’m going to be heading to Macon, Georgia in a week to watch my brother-in-law graduate. The vacation to the South is going to be a fun one, considering it’ll be a new place, and, I’ll get to drive through Appalachia. I’m hoping for some good writing fodder from the new scenery and southern culture. My wife will be flying. She has a bad back and can’t take the long drive.
So why am I driving instead of flying?
You guessed it! I have a fear of flying. As far as I can recall, I’ve always been afraid to fly. I think I inherited the fear from my mom, who was terrified when dad went on business trips while I was growing up. I was always so relieved when I heard dad come through the door after getting back from one of those trips, and thinking, well, he survived another one.
The actual experience did little to quench my fears. I flew for the first time last year for my honeymoon, to the Bahamas from Ohio. Looking out at the plane from the gate window at 6am, I remember thinking, looks sturdy enough. I’d also done extensive research for the three months prior to the flight to convince myself the odds of living were high. But when I got into the plane, a small twin-engine with two seats on either side of a narrow aisle, and I had to duck to keep from hitting my head on the ceiling, I realized this was going to be scary. Already, I felt my hands start to go cold. This wasn’t anything like I’d seen on the movies, where there was plenty of room in the plane! But I consoled myself. The odds were, I’d live.
A strange thing happened next. The flight attendant gave us safety instructions. I didn’t realize this was common procedure, so I took in every word like an A student on the first day of class. That way, when we fell out of the sky, I’d at least know how to put on the oxygen mask, and be able to help my wife with hers. When the flight attendant finished the instructions, part of me knew, there must be something wrong with this plane, or why the need for safety instructions? My heart beat quickened.
I calmed as the plane taxied onto the runway, able to convince myself I was on a large bus. After a few leisurely moments of plodding along the runway, we stopped. A calm ensued, then, like thunder, the engines flared up and the mechanical beast bolted down the runway. Surprised, I found myself enjoying the takeoff, and as the rumbling beneath my seat gave way to serenity, I watched with amazement the earth grow farther and farther away beneath me. We shot up into the new morning like a bird just learning to fly, and I thought, this isn’t so bad at all! Everything changed when the plane leveled out.
I felt the seat shake. I prepared to scream, but no one around me seemed to notice. Grasping the handles on my seat, I asked my wife, “what was that?” She informed me that planes consistently, and mildly, shimmy and shake throughout their entire flight. I asked, “So is this turbulence?” She informed me that it wasn’t, and that turbulence I would TRULY notice. A terrible realizing struck me. If these little shakes scared me so bad, real turbulence might very well kill me!
Well that did it for me. The rest of the flight to Washington, where we had a layover, I waited anxiously for the dreaded turbulence. It never came. And except for a brief moment of panic where I saw the Pentagon out the window (I didn’t realize Regan International was that close to the Pentagon and Capital Hill), all went well.
Sadly, the flight from Washington to Nassau was more of the same, me waiting in terror for the turbulence. But it never came. The same proved true a week later on our return flight from Nassau to Charlotte, and from Charlotte to Akron-Canton. Though I did have a little run in with a creepy-looking kid near the end of that last flight. I was keeping my eye on him the whole time, because he was fidgety and nervous (not that I wasn’t) from the beginning. An hour into the flight, he got up, started poking around by the cockpit door, and naturally, I thought he was a terrorist. So, I yelled at him, “hey kid, if you want something, the flight attendants are in the back!” I just wanted to coax him away from the cockpit. A look of fear was all I saw before he disappeared through a door near the cockpit. “Honey!” I exclaimed. “That kid just jumped out of the plane!” She looked at me with a gleam of frustration in her eye. “He went into the restroom,” she replied. Needless to say, I was humiliated. Fortunately, there were only a few people on the plane, and they ignored the loud, paranoid newlywed-man near the front quite nicely.
Now, as I hope to someday become a successful author and travel the world to speak at book signings and conferences, my eagerness is mixed with trepidation. For someday, I’ll fly again, and eventually, just as the characters in the books that I love ultimately meet with their greatest enemies, I’ll encounter that great foe, turbulence. Will I master it? Armed with Valium and some sleeping pills, I just may.
But until then, I plan to enjoy my leisurely drive to Georgia next week, where the only turbulence I’ll meet is the back draft of a passing truck and potholes.
Lastly, here’s some tips I leaned to help fearful fliers (at least, they did help me a little on my flights).
1) Stay distracted. Either talk to a friend, read a book, listen to music, or my favorite, play a video game.
2) Pretend like the turbulence is no different than bumps on a road. Yeah, you’re 35,000 feet in the air, but you can still pretend your not!
3) Check the odds of surviving a plane flight. They truly are very high.
4) Breath deeply if you start feeling very nervous.
5) Enjoy the scenery if you can stand looking out the window, it’s actually beautiful.
Hope these tips from one fearful flier to another can help you out on your next flight, as well as me on mine:)

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I am 28 years married man who tries to enjoy own life.I love to take seriously health and relationship.I also love to write a blog for my readers to give them my idea. Another part of my life is technology which is very important in my life and enjoy the technical world.

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