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I’m a travel journalist and I used to be a problem flyer – now I’m a problem drinker

Simon Calder’s Travel

It never occurred to me that my fear of flying and my alcohol consumption might be related until I was asked to write this article.

Indeed, if I cast my mind back to my earliest days of reckless alcohol consumption (chugging Smirnoff Ice in the park after GCSE exams doesn’t count because everyone was doing that), it was wine from a plastic cup on planes that started it all, my teenaged attempt to alleviate my terror of turbulence.

I’m not saying it’s good advice, but it did work. I don’t have ‘aviophobia’ anymore. Better still – and this is handy, given I’m a travel journalist and therefore spend a lot of time in the air – I would go as far as to say I get a thrill these days when the cabin shakes. Probably because I’m always drunk (it is still my rule, at the age of 36, to never, ever fly sober, not even on a 7am intercontinental hop) and booze, for me at least, makes things that are usually serious or scary, feel funny and interesting.

Annabel Fenwick Elliott finds she enjoys flying, as long as booze is involved

(Annabel Fenwick Elliott)

Over the years, I assumed that I’d naturally outgrow my once intense fear of dying in a plane crash. It was only fairly recently when I was forced to fly dry for the first time as an adult (and only because I was pregnant) that I noticed my palms had broken into a sweat at the first ‘bing bong’ of the fasten seatbelts sign. The body remembers. I was en-route to Australia with my husband when the panic set in, and much to his concern for the wellbeing of our unborn child, my first instinct was to order a glass of fizz (the bubbles make it hit faster). Calm down everyone, I only had one.

Now that I’m a mother, I no longer have the luxury of being a problem drinker. I’ve had therapy to better cope with my various demons, take medication to control my ADHD, and beta blockers if I have to do any public speaking. I never drink at home alone; only in social settings – which are rare, given I have a toddler. But at 35,000 feet? I doubt I will ever kick that habit.

Annabel says that her aim when drinking on board is to be left calm and sleepy

(Annabel Fenwick Elliott)

Ridiculous problems call for equally silly solutions. Sensible fears (of commitment, boredom or giving speeches, for example) are rooted in logic or past trauma and are best tackled with professional help. Lizard…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at The Independent Travel…