Confession: I'm a nervous flyer. But nervous or not, I'm bound for Mexico this morning, so I thought it would be a good time to share some of the steps I'm taking (and have taken) to conquer this fear:
1. Just. Do. It. I've had some awesome road adventures, but I've put off and turned down travel because I was scared to fly. Besides, I can't reasonably drive to Mexico. (I seriously considered it, but Google Maps says it's 56 hours...) In other situations, facing my fear head on (like with public speaking) worked. In the wise words of Will Smith, "God placed the best things in life on the other side of terror." Alrighty then. But I won't be trying sky diving anytime soon.
2. Educate thyself. Did you know that many people who have flight anxiety probably weren't always afraid to fly? Flight Anxiety tends to kick in at about age 27 or so. (SO true, at least for me!) I think the thing that makes me most nervous about flying is turbulence. So I followed the advice of several online forums and tried to learn everything I could about it--what it is, how it works, and how it's not dangerous.
3. Try to get a comfortable seat. Business and first classes are undoubtedly comfy places to sit on a plane, but for me a comfortable seat is going to be over or near the wings, or more towards the front as turbulence isn't as bad there. We used to always sit in the back of the plane--that's like riding in the back of a school bus--you feel all the bumps. No thanks!
4. Have an in-flight strategy. On the last few flights I was on, I brought stuff to distract myself from the flight, but I found that it was hard for me to concentrate on reading, or knitting, or really anything for too long. This time, I'm diversifying: I've brought four different activities: a video game, crossword puzzles, a coloring book, and a writing project. Every fifteen minutes I'll switch up the activity (or keep going with it if I can sustain my concentration). This serves a double purpose: It keeps me busy, and when I'm finished a round, I'll know that I only have so much more time to go before we land.
5. Work some magic. I've come to see spiritual work as an extension of mundane work (and vise-versa; each supports the other). Here is my little travelling meditation mantra that I chant to myself to add a layer of protection to my travel plans...
I visualize the plane surrounded by a protective blue light, then say the mantra over and over to myself, especially during turbulence and take off (I can deal with landings, go figure!). Feel free to print this image (Those are sea hearts, which are excellent travel talismans. Read about them HERE.) Carry it in your pocket or purse (or tuck it into your shoe!).