F.E.A.R for something you used to love
As I've said before I love seeing new places, meeting new people and learning about new cultures. But that requires moving from place A to place B, also known as traveling. And that I have learned to hate.
I say learned because it really was like that to me: too many big travel disasters in too short a time and I am forever traumatized. Having been stuck in separate airports in the UK because of the worst snow storm in Europe in decades, because of a volcano having a little stomach ache causing the European airspace to be closed down for a week, because of too many clouds in the sky (in England, REALLY?!?!?), and also having been present in the only occasion ever when a bus between Rauma and Turku broke down and caused me to be two hours late from work (just to name a few) actually is bloody ridiculous, funny even. Just not so much to me...
The experience of being stuck during the 2010 snow storm just before Christmas actually still brings tears to my eyes. It was the hardest experience of my life physically and especially mentally. I was all alone in one of the world's biggest airports freaking out because it seemed I would never get home, but trying with all my might to stay calm while running from one counter to the next trying to find just one flight out. I had altogether four hours of sleep in three days, so needless to say when I finally arrived in Helsinki-Vantaa airport I broke down completely. And the very next time I was supposed to fly home the same happened, except this time it was because of a sodding volcano.
For too long I had this unbelievably bad aura following me wherever, however I traveled. And still today, when the day when I'm supposed to travel approaches, I start to prepare myself mentally for any kind of disaster that I might encounter on the way. And it is hard, it is so bloody hard! It's not a laughing matter to me at all when for a week before traveling I print all kinds of papers that are definitely not necessary, but that might come into use in some absurd situation. I plan my packing so that I am able to run with all the stuff and I check my travel tickets multiple times a day, every day. I'm on a constant overload 24/7 because I am preparing myself for a disaster while the terrible memories from my past encounters loom at the back of my mind.
So, when one morning, last week, I came to work, opened my computer and the first headlines on the Internet were how a volcano in Iceland is erupting, I first swore like no truck driver in Finland ever has and then I went into panick mode. At that point all I know is I have to go home, no matter how many days it takes to travel by train, bus and boat and no matter how many thousands it will cost. I came up with four or five route options and was pretty much ready to book tickets to every single one of them, but thankfully there was no significant amount of ash detected in the atmosphere in Iceland so I was able to relax a bit. But the damage was done and from then on I've been worried like hell, my heart rate is waaaay too high all the time and I'm ready to jump into action AT ONCE when it looks like the airspace is threatend.
This is how it is for me. When I say I don't like flying or traveling, I really mean it. Even though I laugh about all these incidents with my friends and family thinking about it all actually makes me sick. I'm not writing this because I would want somebody to feel sorry for me, absolutely not! I just wanted to bring all this out in the open because nobody knows what goes on in my head every time before traveling. Well, now you do. Maybe writing this down will help me get over it. This also shows how much I am willing to give to live my life to the fullest: I'm willing to risk my mental health... who am I kidding, I never had any! Ok, I'm willing to endure panick and disorientation for days just to be happy. I guess it's a fair trade in the end :)