We were somewhere over Nigeria with more than 7.5 hours left on our flight to South Africa when turbulence started. At first it was minimal but soon progressed to one of the worst experiences of my life. I know what you’re likely thinking – it’s just turbulence. It’s not life threatening. And generally, the logical side of me would agree with you but this was different. For a total of 3 hours – yes THREE – we experienced constant, never-ending jolting and drops that truly made me question whether we would make it to our destination. The experience to me – someone who notoriously hates to fly, gets anxious and sick to my stomach – hit an all-time low.
As I sat in my seat buckled in with zero control over what was happening, I couldn’t help but question what the hell I was doing. Why I was traveling so damn far? Why was I seemingly putting myself at risk when I have a baby at home waiting for me? What if something went tragically wrong? Yes, these thoughts may be illogical but when you’re terrified, nauseous beyond belief and overtired, you can’t help but think about worst case scenario. And all of these horrible feelings – and for what? An exciting travel experience? It made me wonder.. how do you decide if what you’re doing is worth the risks you’re taking?
I have always been of those people who just “does it” even when what I’m facing may be hard. I hate more than anything to have regrets and instead want to embrace these experiences that I’m fortunate enough to have. Since I was a kid and competitive gymnast, I was taught that there wasn’t anything you couldn’t do. No matter how scared you were or how seemingly impossible, there was a way of getting there. I use this mentality today but often question my motivation and whether or not these adventures / decisions are worth the crippling anxiety and fears I have.
My anxiety has always been bad but certain triggers like flying, heights and even leaving my normal life at home are difficult for me. I like predictability and routine but then again, I also love to travel and sightsee, experience new cultures and cuisine – kind of a catch 20/20, you know? I’ve had trouble (a lot of trouble actually) determining what I “should” do and what I “want” to do. Sometimes they’re one in the same.
I write this as we conclude our 24 hour journey to get to South Africa where Bill and I are beyond fortunate to go on this trip. Touring Cape Town, the South African wine country, and adventuring into a safari are items that have been on our bucket list for years. This should be the most incredible trip of our lives. But even though I want this so bad (and planned every single step of our journey), I struggle a lot with being away from Chloe, from our home and family, and my regular routine. But, I made the decision to go – just like I always do – because I don’t want to live my life in fear. I don’t want to hold back and have regrets. I want to embrace these opportunities and see the world. I hope that it teaches Chloe that you should push yourself (within reason, of course), take chances, go on many adventures. And we are lucky enough to have family that allow us to do just that and care for our girl while we away.
As we are about to land, I’m finally feeling relief and excitement for the upcoming trip ahead… Stay tuned!