(This arti­cle may or may not con­tain affil­i­ate links. What does that mean?)

When I was in col­lege, I read an assigned book in my wom­en’s psy­chol­o­gy class,  writ­ten by Eri­ca Jong, called Fear of Fly­ing.

total­ly not about flying

She used fly­ing as a metaphor for the lim­i­ta­tions we put on our­selves. I’m not say­ing I don’t do that any­more but I do it a lot less than I used to at the age when I read it.

I’m not sure if I can alter the metaphor and pro­claim that I love to fly but why not? It’s my essay. I do love to fly, lit­er­al­ly, and some­times, dur­ing those jour­neys, from that expe­ri­ence, and the ones that fol­low, I get to fly metaphor­i­cal­ly too.

view from an airplane

a new view

The best thing about fly­ing is that I get to see new places, that I get to meet new peo­ple, that I get to see them liv­ing in a way that’s dif­fer­ent from what I’m used to. I get to explore parts of the world that are com­plete­ly unfa­mil­iar, yet, I find, are still con­nect­ed to me, the very exis­tence of our lives mirac­u­lous and finite and a com­plete mys­tery, even though we think we know.

our wait­er in Estonia

Israeli Shuk

Lead­ing up to that moment is excit­ing too. I don’t love to pack because the mood I’m in when I fill my bag won’t be the mood or cir­cum­stances I will find when I arrive at my des­ti­na­tion. I do the best I can between the fight­ing kids and my domes­tic oblig­a­tions and know if I for­get some­thing, I can always buy it wher­ev­er I am.

for­got your bra? no prob­lem!!!! there’s a store for that and more.…

As long as I’m stick­ing to a nice pace time wise, even the dri­ve to the air­port is a treat because it brings me that much clos­er to the excite­ment already build­ing in my middle.

The air­port, usu­al­ly hec­tic, maybe a lit­tle con­fus­ing, between all the lines and which is the short­est or mov­ing the fastest and will get me through secu­ri­ty that much quick­er and will they be in a good mood and let me keep mov­ing or will they detain me and make them­selves feel pow­er­ful for that moment. And yet, you hear about the threats they’ve actu­al­ly stopped and you feel grate­ful, even though you know you’re not one of them.

The world inside an air­port is it’s own lit­tle world, not quite here but not there either. Calo­ries obvi­ous­ly don’t count because you’re flow­ing in the land in between and calo­ries can’t find you. Or so you tell your­self as you munch your extra crispy French fries fol­lowed lat­er by a vis­it to the Cof­fee Bean for foamed sug­ar to top the gluten-full hot sug­ar before you get on your plane.

does­n’t count.…new math

Walk­ing down the hall­way onto the ramp that extends to the fuse­lage of the plane, you know you’re almost there: the ves­sel that is your con­duit to lands beyond. You arrive to the seat meant just for you, to take you on your adven­ture and you try to cram all the things you brought to dis­tract your­self from the long flight into an area meant for a tod­dler but you make do and clean around your new home and rearrange a bit of the fur­ni­ture as you set­tle in and hope that your new neigh­bor won’t be an actu­al toddler.

Final­ly, the push-off. This is the last time you’ll see your city and that’s ok. You know it’ll be there when you’re ready to return. If you decide to return.

The wheels slow­ly turn down the run­way jock­ey­ing for posi­tion in the line-up. Final­ly, the ding over­head sounds and flight atten­dants are warned to strap in and the plane starts hurtling for­ward, but you don’t see where it’s going, only the things that are pass­ing by and that’s ok as the force of grav­i­ty push­es your low­er back into your chair and the ground beneath gets bumpi­er and the roar of the engine push­es every oth­er sound out of the cab­in and sud­den­ly the ride is smooth and now it’s your butt that is being cra­dled as the met­al trans­port tube pulls your body away from the ground and into the air, into the unknown, into the awe and won­der of dis­cov­ery where there is no fear.

fear of flying