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Issues with airplanes

Posted: April 23, 2013 11:17 a.m.
Updated: April 24, 2013 5:00 a.m.

This weekend, I will be traveling via airplane for the first time alone. Needless to say, I’m pretty nervous about the whole ordeal. For starters, I’m terrified of heights. I’m talking, if I see a photo of someone skydiving or one of those “cool” pictures in National Geographic where a person is scaling a cliff, my heart rate automatically speeds up and I feel nauseous, bordering on a panic attack, and have to turn the page as quickly as possible. I get nervous looking out the window of a third-story building window. If I ever went to Paris, there’s no way I’d be comfortable taking in the views from the top of the Eiffel Tower. I’m perfectly content with the view from the ground. I mean, I still get nervous having to drive over bridges. When I visit friends in Charleston, I make sure that one of them is driving when we cross the Cooper River Bridge. That way, I can safely cover my eyes and pretend it’s not happening. Basically what I’m trying to say is, stemming from my fear of heights, I’m obviously going to being extremely nervous while traveling in something that is so high above the ground I don’t even want to know the exact number of feet.

There’s also this thing about airplanes: I just don’t understand them. They in no way, shape or form make sense to me. How can something weighing that much on top of the weight from all the people, luggage and pets inside be able to stay in the air? Whatever happened to gravity? That’s still a thing, right? I actually would rather not know the exact mechanisms of airplanes. I have a sneaking suspicion that would probably freak me out even more so about them.

I also have to be honest right now and say that I have mastered the knack of forgetting things. I’m more than a little worried that I’m going to get to the airport and not have my ticket or luggage or something important like that. Every other time I’ve traveled using the airway system, I’ve had someone more … well … responsible handling these issues for me. Now I’m on my own.

Maybe this is an important event for me in my quest for becoming a grownup. I’m flying to a place that I’ve only been once before on a field trip in the eighth grade, so pretty much unfamiliar territory, and I’m going at it completely solo. Well, until I reach my destination. Then I have a friend (tour guide) to show me the ropes. But until I’m safely in her all-knowing company, I’m riding solo. Who knows, maybe I’ll conquer my fear of heights and become a responsible and completely independent grownup on this trip. Or maybe I’m putting way too much emphasis on a meager one hour and 15 minute flight. Regardless, I could use a few tips. So, any well-seasoned travelers: contact me. Words of encouragement, tips on conquering fears, information on how exactly airplanes work (maybe not though, depends on if it would make me more nervous) and of course probably the most important thing: does traveling alone make you a grownup?

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