The End Goal – Trip from London to Phoenix, US
On Sunday the 17th February 2018, I shall be boarding a British Airways 747 from London Heathrow, flying all the way to Phoenix Arizona. This is for a work conference, which I attend many annually as part of my day to day role. 5,255 miles of flying in a piece of metal at over 550mph. Who wouldn’t be terrified?
My Flying Experience
I have now completed many flights in the past. My first ever flight was from Manchester to Rhodes in Greece, and I don’t remember feeling scared at all on the flight. I was much younger back then, 15 maybe, and you don’t really feel nerves at that age. My next flight was to Portugal from Manchester at the age of 20 or 21, and I stupidly watched the first ever Final Destination the night before. I do remember not being too nervous prior to the flight, but on landing in Faro, we hit an air pocket, and I grabbed an old ladies leg that was sat next to me whilst shouting “OH S**T”. Again, flight back no issues, but not something I was wanting to do in a rush.
Fast Forward 13 years…
I started my current job in March 2011 working on the UK side of the business, and was eventually offered a position on the International side of the business, working on the US and Indian operations.
I was told by my family at the time that travel would probably be needed at some point, but accepted the new role anyway, thinking it wouldn’t be too soon. Literally within a few months, plans for a trip to the US were underway, to grow our US operation.
The flights were booked for May 2014. It really was 13 years since I had flown. From around November 2013, time flew, pardon the pun, and before I knew it I was on my way to London for a night in an airport hotel at Heathrow, ready for a flight to Los Angeles the following day. That night I had literally no sleep at all, and was so nervous that I had been to the Doctors to be prescribed Diazepam (Valium) to calm my nerves. I took these every 4 hours before the flight for two solid days, and was still extremely nervous.
I have now conducted numerous business trips and even spent a month long span in the US to see if it was a place that I could live. My transatlantic count of flights has now reached 32, with some European flights, and a holiday in Turkey too. Not to mention the internal flights within the USA. Sadly for me, no flight ever gets easier though. The fear of flying is still there. I still need the Valium to get onto a plane, and I’m not afraid to say, I’m far from ashamed. If that’s what it takes, then so be it!
Purpose of this post?
So you may ask what the purpose of this post is. I just want people to know that they are far from being alone, and that you really can do it if you put your mind to it. It doesn’t matter what you do in life, or how often you travel, its whats at the end of the flight you should look forward too. The build up isn’t nice for people like me though, and this is why I’m writing this post. I want readers to relate to what I go through, so as they can see an end product of the flight, and hopefully make that step in boarding a plane again, or for the first time.
The issue with this trip as many of my other trips is a pretty simple one really. I have an immense fear of flying. When I say immense, I don’t just mean the actual day before, getting a few butterflies in my stomach. I mean 2-3 weeks before, I start to worry about getting on the plane. The fear of flying just takes over. As a company VP, it is difficult for many to understand how I wouldn’t want to get on the plane. When you have a deep seated anxiety about something though, I can tell you, it just isn’t that easy. The nerves just start so far ahead, that by the day of travel, I am literally a nervous wreck.
Where are we today?
So today is Tuesday February 5th, 2018 and we are just 12 days from flying. Slight fear is setting in, and I see my day to day routine being affected slightly. Work isn’t being affected, but I find myself getting more tired in the evenings. I also want to stay in bed in the mornings. Then comes the thinking about the trip more and more. Needing to pack, do I have the correct paperwork, is my life insurance in order etc. May seem silly, but these things are all going round in my head.
What I want to do is give a day by day account of what goes on in my head, if anything at all that is. Some days maybe easier than others, but I shall let you know on a daily basis.
Join me in my countdown to the flight!