Making her wish come true

by Sunday, April 7, 2019

Do you have a fear of flying? It’s ok, you can tell me. I won’t judge you. In fact, I’m fascinated by people who drive a car, yet are too terrified to even consider stepping on to a plane… People whose anxiety tricks their common sense.

I was recently in an Uber. My car had broken down and I was grateful for this fellow’s help. Well, you can imagine with me, we got straight into the travel questions and Barry (not his real name, he’d get anxious if I revealed that) said his marriage was under stress as he would break out in a sweat at just the thought of flying. But his wife was desperate to visit family back in Italy. She wanted to travel with her husband and this big burly man just couldn’t get over his flying phobia to make her wish come true.

“But Barry, you drive a car for a living. Statistically, that’s the most dangerous thing you can do!” I said.

“But Catriona,” Baz replied, “in a car I’m in control. A plane is just so heavy, and I can’t get out.”

I have so much compassion for people with aerophobia as it’s something that’s shared by millions around the world, has been since flight began, and there are so many ways to resolve this anxiety and enjoy your life… and possibly save your relationship.

Together, in the Uber, Barry and I googled ‘fear-of-flying course’. Sure enough, these courses take place in loads of accessible locations. I’d recommend doing something face to face; online doesn’t quite give you the same comfort as human interaction and that compassion is what you require.

Anxiety can hold so many of us back, but I think it’s comforting to know that, unlike a physical condition, with guidance, you can move through it. Barry has since signed up for his course, and he’s promised to keep us notified of his progress (he follows Journeys To Come now). Above all, Baz knows how important it is to talk about your fears and understand help is always at hand.

I’ve been on loads of turbulent flights, but nothing compares to…

  1. Driving on a Melbourne freeway. I’ve never done this without having my life flash before my eyes. Here, speed demons control the freeways.
  2. Being on an out-of-control horse, on an island, heading straight for the edge (of oblivion)… and the point of no return.
  3. Camping in the Northern Territory by the side of a crocodile-infested river. I woke with a stress rash all over my hands and croc-slide marks in the sand next to my sleeping bag… which I later found out my crew created just to freak me out.
  4. Driving the Sichuan-Tibet Highway in China. Will we topple over the edge, or will an avalanche kill me? When your mind is flip-flopping between choices like these, forget about enjoying the view.
  5. Skydiving. Yep, if you get scared of flying IN the plane, try being asked to “move towards the open door, step out onto the wing and jump”. At 10,000 feet above the ground. This is my all-time max-fear barometer. If I can do that, I can do anything!

Whatever journey you take this week, travel safely, embrace each moment and enjoy.