Guess what? Travel can be scary. It can be exhausting. It can fall apart in the blink of an eye and leave you standing alone and confused. This last weekend, on my flight home from Florida, I had one of those experiences. I am not particularly an experienced flyer, my background is in road tripping. I enjoy the open road and seeing all of the weird roadside attractions along the way. But for this trip, since I was traveling without my family, I decided to fly. It is always good to grow as a traveler right?
My flight to Florida was easy and even a bit fun. That weird feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when taking off and landing was starting to grow on me. I started to feel like I was getting the hang of going through security, packing for a flight and finding my gates. Even though this was only my seventh or eight flight ever (like in my entire life) I felt like I was quickly becoming a pro. As I flew on my short 2.5 hour flight into Florida, I sat calmly in my seat dreaming about taking longer flights, maybe to Australia this winter. The entire world was opening up for me and my wanderlust gene was kicking into overdrive.
I spent an amazing four days in Florida and then began my 2.5 hour flight home on Sunday. I was confident. The fears that I had before on my first flight were gone. I was a pro now remember? Well, sometimes it is funny how life works. I suppose the universe wanted to keep me a little bit scared because I had the worst plane ride home ever! The plane cab jolted back and forth for 2.5 straight hours. At times we dropped elevation, we bumped up and down and side to side. The fun feeling I had in my stomach was quickly becoming a queasy feeling as my stomach turned and couldn’t settle. Apparently our plane was flying over strong storms and as hard as the pilots tried, they couldn’t break loose from the winds. I tried to remain calm, but I will admit that for a few minutes of that 2.5 hour flight I panicked. Worry began to overcome me and my once confident wanderlust gene was hiding in the dark and vowing to never come out again. Did this mean that I wasn’t a true traveler? I didn’t want others to see my fear. It embarrassed me. Travelers are supposed to be fearless wanderers, right? Wrong. Everyone has fears. Everything is new to someone at least once in their lives. It is how we respond to our fears that either makes us a true traveler or not.
It’s true that travel doesn’t always go as planned and sometimes just as you get comfortable, things happen to keep you on your toes. It happens to everyone, just in different forms. While on this horrible flight my wanderlust gene may have gone into hiding, but it was only for a few minutes. The funny thing about the wanderlust gene is that it is persistent. Even though my flight tried to scare me from ever flying again, it actually had to opposite effect. When we landed and I realized that I had made it through that trial, I felt more confident. I thought “If I can make it through that flight, I can make it through other flights.” because bad flights are the exception not the standard, right?
Sometimes in travel and in life we go through experiences that scare us. These experiences can be used to mold and shape us or we can allow them to keep us in hiding. Even after that horrible experience flying home, I am still dreaming about my flight into Australia. Yes, I am scared about the extra long flights it takes to get there but am I going to let that stop me? Not a chance. I plan to keep flying because each flight is a conquered fear, a movement closer towards my fulfilled life and another first step into a new land.
The only difference between a traveler and everyone else is that a traveler keeps on moving forward.
Remind me of this when I am gearing myself up to book my next flight, ok?
Have you recently overcome a fear? How did it make you feel? Tell me about it in the comments.