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The Ironic Career Choice

“Lift,” “thrust,” “drag,” “pull…” I seem to recall a speech at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum that these are the four scientific properties governing flight. They are quantifiable and easily applied to aircraft design and operation by those in the know, yet I remain mystified by the whole process. To me, aerospace science must surely be a close relative to alchemy. I just don’t get it.

Hence, the ultimate irony… I am a travel advisor with a tremendous fear of flying. (For your sakes, I will not delineate the physical and psychological manifestations of my anxiety). Believe it or not, I am not unique. I am just more open about it.

So, that begs two obvious questions: Why do I continue to expose myself to the flight anxiety and what steps do I take to mitigate the severity of the symptoms. Travel is my addiction of choice. It separates me from the mundane minutiae of everyday life. No “staycations “ for me. I need to physically remove myself from my usual surroundings in order to change my behavior patterns. Overcoming the slight discomfort of going someplace new, charges my batteries. The novel people, panoramas, food, hotels, etc. not only widen my perspective about the ways other cultures operate, they make me appreciate all my blessings at home. It is a win, win.

Hypnosis and yoga have probably helped my coping skills. However, nothing takes the edge off like pharmaceuticals and the passage of time. A little Ativan goes a long way. When combined with a glass of champagne, a dish of ice cream and a lie flat seat in business class (as I was lucky enough to experience twice), the flight is almost fun. And, like childbirth, any pain is quickly forgotten, having been replaced by marvelous memories from the most recent trek.

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