Can You Travel With Fear of Flying, Vertigo, Claustrophobia and Agoraphobia?
August 12, 2012
Are you a scaredy cat adventurer or a fool who rushes in where angels fear to tread? I think I am a bit of both. Can you travel the world if you have vertigo, claustrophobia, agoraphobia and are afraid to fly? YES and I am living proof! (The cute photo by the way, is of our kitten at our old home in the redwoods.)
"Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it. " - Bill Cosby
Recently, I put this quote by Bill Cosby up on our Soultravelers3 Facebook Page, and I realized I hadn't posted an article yet on this blog, specifically about fear and travel . I have confessed some of these fears with travel in posts like:
One long time reader said: " It surprises me that you have fear. It seems like you're a brave and fearless explorer. Thanks for the encouragement you provide."
I think we all deal with some level of fear and that will come up more when one goes into the unknown and out of comfort zones as travel tends to do. I use to fly with TWA long ago, but, surprisingly, a fear of flying is not that uncommon amongst airline crew at points in their careers. I certainly, am not always a brave and fearless explorer.
My makeup is very emotionally sensitive and I have had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from various trauma from my life ( from a rape, many severe physical traumas, to being near ground zero of a 7.2 earthquake etc. ) so I deal much more with phobias and fears than my beloved husband or child.
"Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of it's dream." Paulo Coelho
I was quite fearless as a child and roamed the world ( many neighborhoods) on my bike at 10 ( often worrying my mother as I had no sense of time and rarely made it back before dark as I was suppose to), climbed impossibly high towers with bragging rights even at six, (for going far higher than my much bigger brothers), plus went camping, snow skiing, hiking, water skiing, swimming, skating and diving off high dives etc without any fears or phobias. I loved roller coasters and even tried hang gliding and wind surfing.
Some how by 20, I had picked up some severe fear of flying and even a fear of using elevators. When I lived in married housing at Harvard University at that time, on a very high floor in a tower along the Charles River, I always used the stairs. I did fly when I had to, but I avoided it if at all possible and it was quite terrifying for me when I had to.
Veritgo, claustrophobia and agoraphobia came later, but I also found many tools to deal with them including daily meditation ( for the last 35 years). I believe in that acronym for fear..."false evidence appearing real." Yet, even though I know it is false, I still feel it deeply at times. I tend to sometimes be a worrier and use a lot of energy being proactive to dectect any possible danger ( probably due to my PTSD). My husband once teased that I could worry about a building falling on us in the Sahara, which made me laugh.
Here are the things that have helped me:
MIND OVER MATTER
MAKING THE GOAL BIGGER THAN THE FEAR
MY CHILD ( NOT WANTING TO PASS ON FEARS)
DISTRACTIONS LIKE READING, MUSIC OR PHOTOGRAPHY
POSITIVE VISUALIZATION AND THOUGHTS
LOGICAL THINKING ABOUT CALCULATED ODDS
STAYING PRESENT IN THE MOMENT
KEEPING MY EYES/FOCUS ON THE GOOD
NURTURING INNER SELF TALK
Yes, we all must deal with fear and some of us more than others, but it doesn't have to stop one from doing what ever we want in life. I've been at my wall many times on this world tour, and even DaVinci has faced some fears like when we have been on some of the world's scariest roads with our old motorhome, but we endure just like anyone does, because there is often no choice in life, but to walk through things. I am sure Mozart had fear at her first day at her Spanish school at 6 or her Mandarin school at 10. Can there ever be a life with no fear?
I think one must feel the fear ( if it is present) and do it any way. We try to make smart choices and take calculated risks, but life happens, so one has to deal with what shows up.
"Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold." Helen Keller
"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do." Eleanor Roosevelt
I think this journey has actually helped me with my fears. I still don't like to fly and hate scary mountain roads, but I've done so much in the last 7 years and thrived, that I have more confidence now in what I can do. I've built greater trust in myself, my God and in my universe.
Don't ever let fear or phobias stop you. What do you do to manage your fears?