Saturday, 29 December 2012

The girl who didn't like to travel

Once upon a time there was a girl called Sarah (surprise!).

Sarah lived in a cosy house on the outskirts of Cambridge, England with her bearded technology-loving boyfriend. Sarah led a simple life, she thought about and changed her hair many times, discovered a love of working with metal and her days mostly played out with a balance of day job, hobbies, friends, family and her boy. Plus a lot of unglamorous stuff they don't include in fairy tales normally like (groan) washing dishes, cutting the unvanquishable front hedge and cleaning everything repetitively ad nauseum.

Towards the end of one summer Sarah's boy arranged a surprise birthday trip to one of her favourite places in the world - a magical, beautiful, contemplative and unusual place - Cley Windmill.

This made Sarah very happy indeed and she promptly set to grinning away like a mad woman high on the joy of life. Despite this crazy demeanour, and as in all good fairy tales, the boy led her into the grounds just before dinner, dropped to one knee and... the rest is history (it was a yes!).

They wed in summer the following year and though that was jolly hard work, all went swimmingly, with the couple alongside their fabulous friends and family enjoying a beautiful ceremony, feast and celebration in a barn :)

As with all true fairy tales there was a dark sadness too, for the bride was truly a'fear'd! Not for her loss of independence nor for the years of marriage stretching out before her (tee hee). No! Her dark and terrible secret was thus - a fear of travel. 

Lest you think I'm making light of this, I'm jumping back into first person (thank God I hear you cry!). 

I had got myself to the point where the whole prospect of going away was scary - leaving our home unguarded, being on a plane for several hours, vaccinations (not good with needles either), potential communication difficulties, disease, natural disaster... etc etc, you name it I could use it as an excuse!

We mini-mooned in Wales at a place called The Pant! Heh heh heh. Simple amusements
This year I decided that the wimpy-ness had to stop. It's no way for a modern day fairy tale metalsmith to behave after all. It wasn't quick and easy, but as it was all in my mind it wasn't the mammoth challenge I thought it would be either. 

My first step was a general approach as I went on a life coaching retreat in April this year within which I faced up to various issues, including flying. This gave me the initial boost needed to head me in the right direction - seeing travel as a positive opportunity and being able to start to identify what was actually bothering me about it.

When I next flew for work I took a step back from myself, kept as calm as possible and established that it wasn't a fear of heights (as I happily took a window seat regularly and love looking out and down!), wasn't really a fear of the experience, but I was super sensitive to the motion and constantly on edge in case of the slightest hint of the dread turbulence. Luckily both flights went well and I had identified my next move...

I went for just one session related to my anxiety about flying and turbulence in particular. The therapist explained the process, stressing that I would be doing the work and she wanted the words used to be my own so that I could focus my mind on how I wanted to be when flying - calm, positive and relaxed. Oh my god - most blissed out I have ever been. It was a lovely experience in itself and I walked away thinking that it really didn't matter whether or not it was effective, because I had been so completely relaxed, warm and comfortable (in early November in the UK - no small feat).

I truly think that it made a difference! 

On a practical note one of the most useful things that I took away from that appointment was the importance of actively making the best of a situation and thinking positively. I know it sounds blindingly obvious in the abstract, but when I used to think (obsessively) about turbulence and bad things happening every sound and bump (inevitable with any travel) were magnified. Instead when I focused on the good things - the bright colours of the Thai Airways plane, watching lots of movies, going on an adventure with my boy, it was like I'd put the 'travel' bit on mute! Hooray.

And so, our heroine had 4 vaccinations, went on 2 long distance and 4 shorter flights within the space of 3 weeks, had the time of her life and didn't take any diazepam (oh, yes - that was the other thing - great to have a safety net!).

The Happy Happy Happy End

ps. Whew! Long one. More pictures and exciting details from henceforth, promise! x
pps. If anyone wants to know even more about my experience with life coaching/ hypnotherapy please do shout!

1 comment:

  1. This was definitely the year for conquering travel-related fears! Here's to more far-flung travelling adventures in the not-too-distant future:) Xx