Anyone who knows me knows this---I hate to fly. I love to travel and would never let my fear stop me from taking a trip, but the sweaty palms, restless sleep, and thoughts of doom cripple me, and that's before I even step on the plane. But I get on anyway. The idea of seeing new place, meeting new people, tasting new food the only antidote for my anxiety. Well that and a Xanax. Of course I get lots of advice. "You know it's safer than driving right?" is the common response to my declaration. Yes, I know. "You know you are more likely to get killed by a donkey kick than die in a plane crash right?" Actually no, I didn't know that, but thanks. I'll avoid donkeys from now on. I've always heard that if you face your fears, they will will disappear. But that's not true, at least not for me. My fear of flying has never gone away, despite the hundreds of thousands of flying miles I've logged during my life. But neither has my desire to discover and wander. I find that by letting the two rent space inside me, I can step aboard each time, and keep myself in the locked and upright position.
On a recent trip, we pulled up to a spot surrounded by fields of what looked like miles of and miles of grain. I was told we'd be taking a spin in a helicopter, something I'd never done before. I was also told it would be the best way to see the landscape and topography not visible from the car. Sweat, fear, quick check of jeans pockets for Xanax. In the end, like always, I stepped on. I even asked the pilot to remove the door (double and triple checked my seatbelt) so I could take photos. I didn't love it. I was uneasy and keenly aware of every shift of wind, and pushed away thoughts every few minutes of a flaming spiral toward earth . But the views were spectacular.