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  • Writer's pictureaymexume

Diary of a traveller who doesn't like flying

Doesn't like is an understatement. I am scared of 1) being in the air, and 2) having absolutely no control over the vessel transporting me.  

Yet, my love for discovery and adventure is stronger than that fear. But before every flight I have to remind myself of one of the principles I live by: Vas où tu veux, meurs où tu dois. (Go where you will, die where you must.) 

My fear of flying is not crippling. I don't get physically ill. I don't get panic attacks. I've actually lost count of the number of planes I've been on. I believe it's mostly a control thing. I am able to cope with it. The key for me is to keep my mind otherwise occupied or to sleep. 

To the question "how do you cope with flying or long flights?" my answer is almost invariably: entertainment, snacks, sleep. 

By entertainment I mean movies, series, reading and writing. Anything to keep my mind off of the fact that I am thousands of feet above ground and that there's nothing I can do but sit and hope to safely make it to my destination. 

I've also started to look out the window. Some people have explained that this helped them. At first, I was a bit reluctant to try. I mean, it's hard to believe that seeing the ground or the ocean or, sometimes, just the clouds could appease a person who is uncomfortable because of the distance between them and said ground. But, in a weird way, it does. Somehow, seeing the ground when there's a bit of turbulence is reassuring. All I can say is that the mind works in mysterious ways. 

Food is also a coping mechanism (you know how much I like food). This is why I bring snacks with me on the plane. Also, I don't know about you, but I can't think straight on an empty stomach. And I don't want to find out how I'd handle a flight while dealing with hunger pangs.  

When all fails, I sleep. 

More and more, now, I try stay awake during take off. Yes, I often fall asleep while the plane is taxiing. A plane is the only place I fall asleep on command. 

This is also how I handle long flights. I alternate between sleeping, eating and keeping myself entertained. 

How do you handle flying? 

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