I probably am one of the most frequent flyers around but every-time I step on to a plane, I get reminded of my fear of flying. Yes, I fear flying. I am scared of heights and that includes sitting inside an aircraft that is flying 30000 ft above the ground. I have been scared of high altitude since my childhood. Like many others I get dizzy and the fear of falling down at every turbulence is always there. Yet, my travels would be highly improbable without flying across places. These are a few ways how I cope with it.
1. Select/Request a window seat – Yeah, that quite the opposite of what I should be doing because as people say “Don’t look down if you are scared of heights”.It is similar to how I watch horror movies knowing that I’ll possibly get nightmares. I always request for a window seat because maybe I am a nutcase when it comes to flying. But honestly, I like looking out of the window especially during takeoffs and landings. It gives me a sense of security to actually see what happens outside and also it makes me feel that maybe there is not much to be scared of. Besides, the views outside are on most occasions – Amazing, which brings me to the next point.
2. Look outside(if I get a window seat) – When flying so high up, more often than not our eyes will be treated to view that would range from Amazing to Breathtaking. Flying over the ocean, mountains, jungles, beaches and cities makes for some delightful visual treat. I once kept enjoying the distant views of the snow-capped Himalayas when our flight was circling for almost 40 minutes before landing at the foggy Delhi airport in December. With views like these, the scary thoughts flow out of my mind.
3. Sleep – That hardly ever works for me unless I am seriously sleep depraved before boarding the flight. Even the slightest of turbulence wakes me up. I know I have scared some of my co-passengers during my travels while waking up due to turbulence and provided some laughs too.
4. Read a book, Listen to music, chat up with a co-passenger. While I was always on for listening to music, the most significant lifestyle change traveling has brought on is Reading books. I used to hate reading books(Tintin comics excluded), but traveling on flights made me succumb to this habit. Even though my reads are mostly on travel and places, I now read. Also, it helps when you get a chatty co-passenger in a non-intrusive way. Meeting new people starts while being on the journey. With so much stuff going on, where is the consciousness to get scared of turbulence??
5. Pray – I am not a very religious guy nor do I like the idea of “God will solve all our problems”. Yet, as all of us do in times of distress, I say those words “Please God Help me!!”.. I do that when it gets a bit rough in the skies and that time God must be saying with a smirk “Alright, I’ll save you but first, let me have some fun with this turbulence and shake you up a bit more”.
As I see it, my fear of flying and high altitudes is not an aberration at all. The feeling of fear, like all other human emotions, add to the fun and zest of my travels. Everyone will always have their own fears, but it depends on us how to integrate that fear and give it a positive spin.