Facing a Fear March 25 2020
If you would have asked me 10 years ago if I would ever travel to Greece, I would have said not a chance! Not because I didn't want to go to Greece or I didn't think I could save the money. The reason was due to my severe fear of flying. By fear, I don't mean I get the jitters if we hit some turbulence or nervousness on the way to the airport, I am talking full fledged panic attacks, including crying during take off, or significant weight loss in the weeks or months before a trip. I'll even admit that it hasn't been uncommon for me to book a trip and then opt out at the last minute...like at the airport. Fear, it's such a crazy thing right?
A few years ago my Dad, a second generation Greek, expressed a desire to plan a family trip to Greece. When the plan became reality I promised myself not to let fear hold me back from what I knew would be an amazing experience full of lasting memories. So I went on a mission to conquer my fear. I read every piece of information I could find on fear of flying. I went to my pilot and flight attendant friends asking them for any advice which might give me peace of mind. I went to my yoga teachers and asked them to help me to focus on my breath and finding my center so that I could pull myself out of a fear induced panic. I took a few trips, not long ones, in hopes of facing my fear head on. And, it helped...a little. Then the morning came to board the first flight of our journey. And I got on the plane. Followed by 4 stops, a total of 5 airports, 18 hours of flight time, and too many movies to count later, I made it...alive! And Greece was as perfect as I had imagined. So when I look at the photos from our trip last fall I don't just see a pretty picture to share showing off my life of travel, although that would be a pretty amazing life. What I see and what I feel are so many emotions. Not only did I get to experience such a magical place with a few of the people I love most in this world but I feel a huge sense of accomplishment, of facing a fear and coming out on the other side. I'm not saying I'm cured, or that I'll never be afraid to fly again. And I'm not going to tell you that I didn't shed a couple of "fear tears" or feel a few brief moments of panic...but at the end of the day I went to Greece! Since then I've added so many more dreamy destinations to my bucket list because I now know that I am capable of facing my fear.
During this time while we all may be experiencing some amount of fear in the face of something that we don't quite understand I thought I would share one of my fears, in hopes that it may help even one person feel less alone or even maybe a little less afraid. Sending love + light out to everyone while we endure this crazy time together at home. Also sending a huge virtual hug to Greece on Independence Day!
If you are reading this and you have a fear of flying, I'd love to hear from you and here are a few tips and tricks I've found that have helped me work through my fear...also if your fear isn't flying but you want to reach out just to say hey do it!
my personal fear of flying tips & tricks
yoga, meditation, breathing
reading about flying, even the scary stuff because knowledge is power and knowing the how and why and the way it all works actually helps...at least it did for me
I always let the flight attendants know as I board that I have a fear of flying, I read to do that and I promise it helps! They are always beyond nice, ask where your sitting and check on you (also almost always bring you free drinks...) and I've even gotten to meet the pilots which is a good time!
remember to breathe
music...I make playlists that make me feel happy (lots of Bon Iver, M83, Lord Huron)
magazines & books...I don't read them but just having them is comforting?
my stuffed bear, gift from Dad before my first flight at 10 years old when I was so afraid to get on our flight to Hawaii. Mr Bear travels with me to this day, every time.
sleep if you can
I hope this helps! And shout out to everyone who has flown with me...you know who you are and you deserve an award!