Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My Crazy Flying Rituals

With my trip to San Diego quickly approaching, let's talk about what it takes for me to prepare for long distance traveling. It's a process. If you've been around my blog for a while, you probably know that I love to travel and do so as often as possible. Traveling long distances by myself should probably just so on my resume because that's how experienced I am. 

I actually even love traveling alone. [Gosh, I am such an introvert.]

What I do not love, however, is flying. I'm sure I've mentioned this before but my anxiety during take-off especially has progressively gotten worse throughout all my years of flying. Here's a little glimpse into my life:

+Start panicking before flight is even booked. Everything starts spinning
and a knot forms in stomach.
+Study flights for two-three weeks.
+Finally book a flight and heart rate immediately heightens upon confirmation.
+Spend the following weeks planning what outfits to pack and what songs to download.
+Wait until the night before to actually pack.
+Get 0-.5 hours of sleep the night before.
+Dizzy all the way to the airport, repeatedly say, "I hate this, I hate this" and take necessary medication to calm the heck down.
+Medicine never works. Proceed to panic.


Then the rituals begin.
+Go to the bathroom... at least once.
+Sit or usually stand at gate until my "Zone" is called [aka Zone A because I always fly Southwest and always check in early]
+Constantly check surroundings. [Survey the passengers. Any children?
Start to remember faces.]
+The walk down the long, dark, freezing cold, hollow tunnel to the jet is the worst. Especially that little gap between where the tunnel and jet connect. You know what I'm talking about. And the overwhelming smell of fuel.


The rituals continue.
+Walk onto jet and make eye contact with and say "hello" to every crew member I can.
I have to be able to trust them, okay?
+Immediately start scoping out the seats. I am very particular about where
I'll sit on a plane. It has to be at the wing. Preferably right behind the
Emergency Exit.
+Get out my iPod/iPhone/book, place them in the seat back pocket, store my purse and laptop below the seat in front of me [because, uh, hello - I always check my luggage! Packing light? What's that?]
+Begin to pray as I continue to survey who sits where.
+I do not enjoy when the plane is half empty and no one else sits in my entire row. Is there something I don't know?
+I welcome children to sit in front or behind me. Because if they're laughing or giggling then that means everything is okay, right?
+More praying. Same prayer. Over and over... and over.
+Prepare for take-off. This is where I hyperventilate and almost pass out. It's pretty cool to watch.

This continues until either A) The flight attendants are given the okay to walk around and take drink orders or B) The captain comes on and tells us we can use all approved electronics. 

So, who wants to fly with me? :)

Note from the above picture: Chelsea and "prop" planes? We don't get along.


Michelle said...

I love traveling! And I love flying also :)

Cassandra said...

Ah! Flying is always a dramatic process for me too. I laughed at how similar our rituals are.

Melissa Beare said...

I can empathize. I used to be exactly the same way about flying but am much better now (though I do still pray right before takeoff).

Here's a tip that helped me. It's important to remember that this is an irrational fear. You are so much more likely to be struck by lightning than to die in a plane crash so for me, it helped doing things that made me acknowledge I was being irrational.

What I used to do (and still do on occasion if feeling anxious) is get the in-flight magazine from the back seat pocket and flip to the back which usually has a map of the U.S. or the world and is "all the places we fly" for that airline. Then, start looking at places, the weirder and more exotic the better, and think about how right then, at that moment, a plane is either taking off or landing there and that it is just fine. In fact, planes are taking off and landing everywhere on that map, that are just fine. Including your plane. I just keep going over the map, studying it, and listing cities and places in my head until we're in the air and you get the a-okay ding.

That always calms me down. You might try it and see if it works for you.

KatyK said...

You poor thing! I have no fear of flying at all, but this just sounds awful. I'll pray for you when you're headed to CA. I have a really irrational fear of boats though. I watched the Poseidon Adventure one night and realized that my daughter doesn't really know how to hold her breath, at least not for longer than 10 seconds. There are several scenes in that movie that required looooooong holding of breath. So now I'm super paranoid about going on any sort of boat with her until we get that sorted. I've had sweating nightmares about it.

julia rose. said...

I have only flown once, by myself, and I am NOT a fan haha. This gave me anxiety just reading it. I would have to have a few very large, stiff, drinksies to help me out!

Jeannette H said...

I don't dislike flying - I dislike the airport drama and I HATE little "puddle jumper" planes that look like they can rip in half. If it bounces I jump a little.

Courtney M said...

I fly a TON for work- like upwards of 7 flights in one 5 day span and I still get anxious waiting in that little spot where the hallway connects to the plane... creeps me out everytime!!

elizalouise.bell said...

This sounds a lot like my rituals! I actually bring a teddy bear with because I am THAT terrified to fly! I squeeze the living stuffing out of it!

i couldn't help but wonder...

Holly said...

Oh my goodness, woman! I will pray for you - hearing about your anxiety gives me anxiety. And I LOVE to fly. It's the super power I've always wanted :) And I always pray that no one will sit in my row. I love having it all to myself and not sitting so close to some stranger. Safe travels, sweets! Shoot me an email with updates! Love you tons! xoxo

Lauren said...

My mom is the same exact way. Her meds are so strong though that she acts like a drunk person... who still thinks she's going to die. It's AWESOME (not).

A Girl In Beta said...

Dead serious, you should get a Valium prescription for flying if you're that terrified of it.

I had major flight anxiety for a while, and it was the only thing that worked.

But it's hard to say that without sounding like some type of an addict.

Janee' said...

Aww you poor thing! I love take off and ecen the landing (sometimes). I;ve never been to San Diego and am dying to go. I hope you have a blast and safe, peaceful travels!!!

Laura said...

This was awesome!! I'm so glad that I am not the only person that doesn't like half full flights. My hubby thinks I'm crazy, but I totally get it. Flying is no fun!!

Kristen said...

awww you poor thing! my sissy gets uneasy on flights too. i'm so sorry!

Mathew Bliss said...

This makes me laugh because it is so different than what I experience when I fly. I love flying. The takeoff is the best! I'm like a little kid when I fly. I have to sit at a window because if I'm not I will be looking over other people to see out the window the whole time. I think flights are the best way to start a fun vacation.