I always loved to travel. My parents studied sport and tourism. They (and also my grandmother) were leading trips in the 80’s so I’ve been to Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and half of the former Yugoslavia by the time I was 3. Of course I cannot remember anything, but I believe these adventures shaped my DNA quite a lot. I was lucky enough to be able to travel my whole life and everything went well until I experienced a series of unpleasant flights:
- Dublin – Hamburg: It must have been 2005 or 2006. The first plane was broken, so we had to wait for over 5 hours at the airport for another one. This one turned out to be broken as well, which we’ve found out already in the sky. After going in circles for what felt like forever, we’ve finally landed back. The 3rd machine was fine.
- Dublin – Poznan: We didn’t know that during the trip, but something must have been really bad. We’ve landed late at the evening, the airport was completely cleaned of everything and there were at least 10 fire trucks and ambulances waiting for us on the ground. The stewardess told me that it was actually an emergency landing and there was something wrong with the engine.
- Warsaw – Zurich: Bad weather, crazy winds. We were circling through the clouds for 45 minutes which was of course very turbulent and the engines were making wild noises. Even my then-boyfriend told me that he was afraid, even though one of his biggest dreams was to become a pilot.
- London – Gdansk: To be honest, I was wondering why are we even allowed to land in this kind of weather conditions. Still wondering.
Actually my fear of flying was growing very slowly at first, but at some point I realized that I wasn’t able to talk with people during the take off and landing and was close to uncontrolled panic attacks. That was the point when I decided to do something about it.
And maaan I tried everything. I basically studied aviation! I read books, forums and scientific research. I talked to a friend of mine who was a steward on a regular basis. I tried to understand every bit of the process, because I believed that this knowledge will help me rationalize my fear. I have to admit that for w while it made it even worse. Indeed, I knew that my fears were irrational, but at the same time I also knew what could really go wrong… I tried to fly a lot to get used to it. I tried relaxing techniques, meditation and psychological support. I tried music, being busy on the plane and of course alcohol, which turned out to be helpful, but let’s put it this way: drinking at 6 o’clock in the morning is not a sustainable solution.
In 2019 I posted this instastory from the airport.