I’ve been a digital nomad for nearly three years, and have lived in 8 different countries for anywhere between one and six months, working from my laptop. The lifestyle is sometimes vaunted as being the ultimate in exploratory freedom, and there is, indeed, a lot about constant travel that I love. However, I have one great problem: I’m terrified of flying.
2014 has been an awful year in aviation: over 760 people are dead in commercial airline crashes as of the 28th December, not counting the breaking news story on Flight QZ8501, the AirAsia Airbus 320-200 which has just gone missing on its flight between Indonesia and Singapore. I am following the news and Twitter in the same state of suspended, obsessive horror that I followed the MH370 crash with. Even though deaths on commercial airlines are rare – 900-ish people in planes in 2014 vs 1.24 million car-related fatalities every year – there is a special sort of horror associated with airliner crashes. I cannot begin to really imagine what those people went through.
And of course, I travel tomorrow morning: catching a flight from Seattle to LA, then another from LA to Melbourne, Australia. I’m going back to Australia to look for a part time real-people job so that I can work on getting my books finished and published without worrying about digging around for freelance work. And I’m terrified. Terrified of flying, terrified of what I’m going to find (or not find), terrified of leaving my girlfriend in America, of the change, and of the uncertainty.
However, I have roamed the world for 3 years now, and taken every flight that I’ve needed to take. I sit there shaking in my seat, wondering if this will be the one where I end up dying, and try to work through the anxiety. Because that’s what fear is, I think: something to be worked through.
Flying scares me. Submitting to agents scares me. Fear of failure and fear of success are real things… but I think we have to overcome our fears.
My thoughts are with those who have likely perished on Flight QZ 8501, and their friends and families.