I love to fly – sort of

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I leave for Oregon to go do Hood to Coast in just a few hours and the excitement and anticipation is building. Not for the race per se, but rather for the flight itself. While I admit to being an avid traveler, going anywhere I can whenever I can, I sometimes encounter a bit of struggle when it comes to flying.

Claustrophobia – fear of being in narrow or enclosed spaces. Hmmm, a plane is narrow, enclosed – a perfect storm for a claustrophobe such as myself. But as long as I can have air flowing on my face, I’m fine! Really, I am…along with a valium or some type of sleeping pill. 🙂

I am determined to get past this insanity because there are just too many places in the world I want to go and I won’t allow it to limit me in any way, shape, or form. I’d rather not be drug induced so I’ve learned other helpful techniques:

  • Have a book to read or Sudoku to concentrate on
  • Ipod plugged into my ears and on a soothing or happy song
  • Air turned on full blast on my face (my seat mates don’t like this but I don’t think they would like a panicky passenger either)
  • Seat by the window – I know, weird right? Most people think I would want to sit in the aisle where I have more room but I’d rather be able to look out the window and “pretend” I can feel the wind on my face 🙂
  • Water bottle – just in case I need to take a pill or two to calm my nerves

I also will strike up a conversation with my neighbor if I need to just distract myself from the rising sense of panic. Some people laugh at this, they think it’s not real or silly and that I should just be able to “fix it”. Listen hear all ye naysayers, if you have never experienced the type of uncontrollable panic that exists when a bout of claustrophobia (or any other phobia, I bet) kicks in, you have no idea what you are talking about.

It’s like you just took crazy pills and your heart starts to race a million beats per second, you start to shake and sweat, and your chest starts to heave because the panic is mounting and building inside of you so fast. It takes concerted effort to try and overcome that situation, because your immediate response is flight or flight. It’s terrifying and I hope most people never experience it.

But I figure if I can surive 4 1/2 hours on a plan being sat on by a fat man (from Montreal to SLC), I can survive on anything. Just give me my iPod please.

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