The fear of flying is real!! 

Up until six months ago I hadn’t been on a plane in almost 14 years!! Crazy I know. As much as I love the little island of Ireland and the wonderful scenery and things it has to offer, if you want to go anywhere or see any of the rest of Europe and beyond we have two choices! A boat or a plane!! 

Don’t get me wrong as a child my sister and I had a wonderful up bringing. Every summer we had the  holiday abroad with our parents and extended group of our parents friends and their children. You know the type, aunties and uncles and cousins that weren’t really related to you in any shape of form! We flew in planes we travelled on boats, we got to see a lot of Europe and beyond.

Even in my late teens, early twentys I was off on a plane with the girls on our summer holidays abroad. It wasn’t quite club 18-30! But we made the most of our summer holidays. God we deserved it, our hard earned cash, from waiting tables in the local restaurants. We had saved hard and booked our summer breaks at the beginning of each year, paying off in instalments! The late nights and the anti social hours while studying had been rewarded with two weeks each summer, in the sun. 

Fast forward to adulthood, money has been put into raising a family and to be honest becoming a parent changed my outlook on many things in life. But travelling wasn’t one of them. I didn’t feel the need to book foreign holidays or travel to broaden my outlook on life. And while the kids were babies I could think of nothing worse than a package holiday with a toddler in tow. 

I’m not sure if any other mum’s feel or have felt the same, but since becoming a mum I risk access everything!! Flying was one of those. 
I was never a great traveller! Mum often talks about how as a child boarding the plane I would be checking the plane and the surrounding area. Signs of damage, screws missing from seat rails. Then came the on flight safety demonstration! I would read back and front in great detail the evacuation process and often ask my poor parents questions they simply didn’t have the answers too! That was on planes!! Travelling on a boat was worse! We have all watched the movie Titanic, you know the line in the movie when Rose has the conversation with Mr Thomas Andrews,  (the architect/ship designer)  telling them him she has done some maths and she can’t work out if the number of lifeboats is enough for the number of passengers onboard!! That was me!!! I had to know where the nearest muster station was, where the lifejackets would be given out and I once calculated how long it took to get from our cabin to the station should we have to evacuate the boat! 


So why this blogpost? Well since meeting Dave I found myself in the position of needing to travel he’s in England and I’m in Ireland! I needed to put my big girls pants on and take the leap and board that plane!
You see we have that little stretch of water between us known as the Irish Sea! And if we wanted to make a go of it, I had two options, plane or boat!! Now given the choice I would take boat! But the Belfast to Liverpool ferry is an overnight boat (some during the day too) but lasting …..hours!!! So that’s a no go! So plane it was. I was spoilt at first as Dave was happy to do the travelling to me. He travels for business and a thirty minute flight to him would be nothing to him. So that was sorted. For the first couple of months he would fly to see me. 

Then it was my turn!! I had to make that leap!! God I didn’t even have a valid passport, I hadn’t renewed mine in years as I didn’t see the point. I wouldn’t be going anywhere.  ( although I must add that as we are part of the United Kingdom we are able to fly on domestic flights between the north of Ireland and the mainland on valid ID) But I renewed my passport just in case.
My first flight in nearly 14 years!! What a day, infact the weeks leading up to it I sweated half my body weight with worry!! How the heck was I going to be able to get on a flight to England?? 

I stressed over all the things I stressed about as a child and a young adult! And my fear had increased since the downing of more aircraft than before. ( or at least I was aware of more!) but if I wanted to visit England and make a go of my relationship with Dave, I had to fly. 

Six months on and many many flights back and forth to the British mainland (and a surprise birthday treat to Paris! into the mix) I still have a fear of flying! Every fortnight when it is my turn to fly to England I pack my case on the Thursday evening ready for the Friday and my anxiety starts to kick in. All the irrational thoughts of hyjackings, machanical failure to bird strikes are in my head. Then there’s the turbulence! 

I don’t think I’ll ever get over my fear. To this point I have been able to negotiate my way through the various security departments in a few different airports. I know what I can pack in my hand luggage and how much liquids I can carry. I can queue at security and have all the necessary liquids, electrical items, coats, shoes, watches and belts removed without hyperventilating. I can board the plane, climbing the steps without my knees knocking and almost throwing me off balance.  I can find my seat without a panic and the need to check my boarding pass 100 times for my seat number. I can stow my cabin bag either in the overhead locker or under my seat without a panic, and take my seat. But I’m still working on the take-off, flight and landing!!! 
I’d love to hear from anyone who has any suggestions to help me get over my fear of flying and my irrational thoughts! 

Until then I will continue to book my flights and board the planes all in my quest to spend time with my man!

Claire

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