Maybe travelling alone wasn't the best decision I had made in my twenty years. I have the most unnatural fear of flying out there. I am absolutely fascinated by planes and find them incredible. The benefits of this is the numerous documentaries I've watched about building and maintaining planes so I know they are probably the safest mode of transport out there, does my brain care about this? No. I am shit scared of aviation whilst being totally in love with it. It's like my childhood relationship with clowns, I thought they were hilarious but there's something about clowns that's just terrifying, you get what I mean?
Anyway, I was now sitting in my seat, near the back of the plane, I told you, I've watched documentaries, it almost doubles your survival chances in a crash. People may see this fear as irrational but I can't control it. Now that my epilepsy is affectively controlled by medication, I have become one of the 50% of epilepsy suffers who develop anxiety so instead of having seizures, I live in the constant fear of having them in problematic situations. A long flying tube that you can't escape from for 24 hours is one of those problematic situations. The one thing I have learned though is psyching myself out before the flight and a good dose of anxiety medication can help so my iPod sadly didn't have a music on, it had a random pilot talking me through deep breathing exercises via a podcast series I'd downloaded. Whilst listening to this, I felt my seat shake a bit and figured someone had sat down beside me. I'd read so many books and stories about people travelling on their own and suddenly finding themselves sat beside the most beautiful boy they'd laid eyes on, spend their whole holiday with them and there they have it, they've found their soul mate, was it a bit naive of me to think this would happen?
Yes, it was. I found myself not sitting beside Harry Styles who just wanted a peaceful family holiday or Zac Efron who happened to be filming a movie in Melbourne, I was sitting beside a middle age, Asian businessman who was smiling far too much for a person about to embark on a day long flight in economy class.
As the plane started taxiing, I started to feel my heart beating faster, I tried to remember my breathing exercise but as soon as the four giant engines of the Boeing 747 I was sitting in started rumbling and we powered down the runway I lost it. I felt and saw my legs shaking violently and I started to feel the tears building up in my eyes, I kept telling myself I was fine but my body just wouldn't co-operate. I felt a dropping sensation in my stomach when the wheels started lifting off the ground, like everything in my body was about to fall out via my feet and out of instinct I did what I usually do at take-off, I grabbed what would usually be my mum or a friend's arm.
“Oh my gosh, I am so so sorry,” I managed to gush out through my tears and staggered breathing. “I'm not a good flyer.”
“Clearly,” was the grunted response I got from the businessman beside me who was now rubbing his arm up and down where I had dug my nails in. Well shit, this is a great start to our 24 hours together... notice the intense amount of sarcasm.
- - -
Longest twenty-four hours of my life. This is coming from someone who has been wired up to a video telemetry machine in hospital for three days unable to leave bed. That flight was the worst experience of my life. My mum and gran told me the time would fly in, they lied. They forgot to mention that they both experienced their first flight when they were travelling to Australia, every flight is now a breeze to them. I'm used to flying a maximum of four hours for a family holiday to Greece and I even find that tedious. I honestly thought the boredom was going to kill me. It didn't help that the cabin was incredibly hot during night hours which lead businessman beside me to build up a nice stench of B.O for the last six hours of the flight, so charming. I'm tempted to not spend a penny on this trip, just so I can afford to upgrade to Business Class for the return journey. Or just not return home, people get away with staying on Tourist Visas, don't they? Until they get arrested... and deported... then banned from ever returning. Ok, maybe that idea's out the window.
The one thing that shocked me when I finally got the plane doors was the heat. Was it not supposed to be winter in Melbourne? We don't even get this kind of heat in the summer, I could so get used to this for the next few months. I swapped my standard glasses for my prescription sunglasses, yes, that's how pathetic my vision is, and headed off the plane to find my Uncle John. Last time I saw Uncle JJ was when he came over to visit us when I was eight. In my travel haze and twelve years since actually seeing his face, I was wary of ever finding him in this huge airport, it didn't help that I was already in a bad mood due to travel haze making me see my suitcase on the luggage belt just that little bit too late, leaving me to agonisingly watch it slowly make its way around the giant belt again wasting six more hours of my life, slight exaggeration but that's what it felt like.
Thankfully, Uncle JJ was smart enough to make himself known, maybe a little too much. You know how you see people holding signs at the airport. He was there holding a bed sheet. Yes, a freaking bed sheet with GEORGIA JONES spray painted across it in huge writing. Looks like I'm in for an interesting summer.
“Georgia! You haven't changed a bit! I remember you when you were this tall,” he said, gesturing his hand to the size of his hip. I don't understand why old relatives do this, I remember being that height too.
I didn't really respond to him, mainly because I was exhausted and he was a full scale ball of sunshine but I was nice enough to give him a hug.
“Wake yourself up girl, we're having a barbecue to celebrate your arrival and the neighbours are coming,” He explained. “You've a lot of people to meet.”
**A/N** I have both Epilepsy and Anxiety so any mentions of them in this story are from first hand experiences and aren't poorly researched fictional situations