Fear of Flying

I am nine days away from getting on a plane for the too-many-th-time this year. Travel presents me with quite the quandry – I am terrified of flying. Despite my wanderlusting tendencies and inability to sit in one place, the act of getting from point A to point B presents the biggest challenge.

What’s wrong with overland/sea travel? So relaxed. So…close to the ground. People love to console me with facts about the safety of flying. This is all fine and dandy, but like any phobia, my fears are not based in rational thought. Telling me how much safer flight is than driving a car, or how I’m more likely to be bitten by a shark do nothing to quell my fears. The simple fact remains. While in the air, I’m endlessly filled with a sense of impending doom.

I’ve done my best to try and think my way through this fear, attempting to analyze its source in hopes of discovering a cure. I believe it stems from my innate need for control. Although I find driving infinitely less terrifying than flying, I must admit that I also would infinitely prefer that I be the one operating the vehicle. When in a plane, I couldn’t be farther removed from control. Not only am I putting everything in the hands of the crew, but in the terrifying event of disaster, I would then find myself 35,000 feet up with my fate solely in the hands of gravity. No amount of bracing for impact will save you for that inevitability. Gravity will win.

Love for travel versus flying

You would also think that my love for travel would win out over this fear. That my frequent air travel would start to ease my fears. Unfortunately, it’s quite the contrary. The more I fly, the more terrified I become. A recent flight in Peru found me shaking in the fetal position (again the control thing. Flying over nice flat land presents the slim possibility of a safe emergency landing, but the Andes below erased all hope). I am sure that I’m beginning to sound a bit melodramatic, but I need serious help. My growing fears are beginning to threaten my desires to travel. I’m strongly considering taking the boat to Scotland for our UK trip in June.

Are there any other aerophobics out there? Has anyone successfully conquered this fear? As happy as it would make me to throw in the towel and pursue only land and sea transportation henceforth, I’m afraid that may not be a practical solution. The world is really big. I can already feel the anxiety building. Touchdown in Madrid could not come soon enough…

If you have already overcome your fear of flying, learn the best way to book flights!


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