Riding My Way Through It

18.June 2009

Peru

Mt. Tzouhalem Mountain Biking

I have a confession to make. I hate flying. Yep…I, know…around the world…gonna have to fly.

The idea of this trip was to do something unusual. To experience new cultures, hear new languages, see new things…step out out of our comfort zone. ‘One Giant Step’ refers to that leap of faith required to step out and make ourselves uncomfortable. Flying makes me uncomfortable so mark one check mark in that box.

I have thought a lot about how I am going to handle it. I know it’s all in my head. I know all about the statistics and how ‘safe’ flying is. I know about the physics and how planes stay in the air. Intellectually, I have it all covered. Emotionally, I’m usually a mess.

I tried hypnosis. Nope…didn’t work. I had high hopes for it and still think that it could work – the subconscious is a powerful place, but apparently my conscious being is more powerful and would not let it happen.

I had a back up plan…pharmaceuticals.

We were flying from Toronto to New York then onward to Lima on an overnight flight. Having some time to kill at the airport, we did what comes naturally and headed to the bar for a drink – that always helps smooth things out.  We boarded the flight in Toronto and I popped an ativan to relieve the anxiety. We then proceeded to wait on the tarmac for 4 hours (damn, wasted an ativan!). It wasn’t too bad though – the plane was new, they turned on the entertainment system and the very nice staff served us free beer. I’m in a plane, but it’s not in the air, so I’m happy. The residual effects of the ativan and the beer easily get me through the barely one hour flight to New York.

The late take off meant that we no longer had any significant layover in New York so we had to scrap our plans for the fastest NYC tour and instead headed to the bar to have another beer. You’re not surprised…are you?

The New York/Lima flight was an overnight flight. My plan was to pop a sleeping pill and wake up as we landed in Lima. No such luck – although I’m exhausted I just can’t drop off to sleep as any little bump in the air has me waking up.

And so the final plan evolves…

Put my favorite song on eternal repeat on the iPod (currently ‘The Mission’ by Puscifer), get as comfy as I can, tap my foot and move my head in time with the music (this masks the movement of the plane) and imagine myself on my bike riding down CBC on the North Shore. It doesn’t get any better than this.

And that’s how I find myself riding my way through it all the way to Lima.

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9 Responses to “Riding My Way Through It”

  1. Dirk Says:

    Drugs are the answer to a surprising number of questions, plus you threw rock and roll on top of it all. It’s like peanut butter and jelly. Made for each other. Good luck with your flights.

  2. Glenda Says:

    You go girl… congrats on making it through the first few. We’re rootin’ for you…

  3. Lisa Says:

    Good girl, I had recommended that you stay hydrated. And beer does contain water, so there you go.

    …Bought a hot shot gat from a north end guinea……Dwayne loves that song but he sings this line as ‘Bought a hot shot gun from a north bay kitty’
    :-))

  4. Anil Says:

    It does get easier – the more you fly the less intimidating it can be.

    Strangely enough though, since skydiving 2 years ago, I’m not nearly as anxious on planes.

    Beer…a lots of it helps too!

  5. Graham Says:

    I agree with Anil, it gets easier as you do it more and more. Find what works for you and keep doing it on every flight until it becomes automatic.

    I listen to music and read a book until I can’t keep my eyes open any longer. The combination of music drowning out the noise of the plane and other people, combined with focusing intently on a book, creates a mental barrier around me like I’m in my own little world. Works like a charm every time. And yes, beer helps too.

  6. Jock Says:

    Replaying rides, or parts of rides, has sustained me through many a trying time. Drugs work! Buen suerte!

  7. megan Says:

    Congratulations on getting to Lima! I can definitely sympathise with the flying thing – I was a great flyer until a particularly bad experience during the wet season in Southeast Asia – I find listening to Kate Bush and taking a drowsy motion sickness or anti histamine pill after the meal service works wonders. My personal record was sleeping all the way from Bangkok and waking up an hour before landing in Sydney :)

    Am looking forward to reading about your adventures!

  8. Pat Says:

    Congrats on getting to Lima!!!! I was hoping you would post your flight experience, and now I will be trying your technique on my next flight. As for beer, normally I don’t drink when I fly due to the Ativan…A beer chaser it is. Enjoy Lima, stay safe. Can’t wait to read more.

  9. Erin Says:

    I thought for sure the booze would work but maybe next time hit some hard stuff, just a few shots should do the drink:) That is what my folks did when I as a kid and couldn’t sleep… lol, I am from Newfoundland.