When Jackie, (one of my third cousins I connected with doing a family history search), first talked about me visiting her in England, it was just that, talk (for me anyway).
Yes, I very much would have loved to meet her but taking a trip to England was something I never thought I would ever really, actually do and when she started talking to me about going, I told her it would probably never happen.
For one thing, I was terrified of flying…..I really don’t like the idea of having so much space between me and the ground! Simple as that! To have to fly for such a long time? I thought, “no way, not me!”
Then there was, where was I going to get the money to take a trip like that? I’m not independently wealthy or anything like that. I virtually, like most people, work pretty much paycheck to paycheck and it seemed an impossible mission for me.
Then there was the idea that it wasn’t me who had been particularly interested in taking a trip to England. It was my daughter Katie who might have loved it but that was no longer possible for her. However, the thought had been planted and every time Jackie mentioned it, I started thinking more about it.
Thought is a funny thing though once one has been planted. It’s like a flower or vegetable seed planted in the garden. Given the right elements, it just seems to grow and grow and becomes what it is supposed to be and that’s kind of what happened with the thought of going to England.
Every time I talked to Jackie on the phone, at least a very small part of it became conversation about me going to England.
Sometimes even without planning it, your body starts to make the motions that take you in a certain direction when you really had not planned for that to happen. You just kind of do the next action which is required next when the thought pops into your head.
Just for the hell of it, I opened a new savings account and had money deposited directly into it so that I wouldn’t even see it to be tempted by….you can’t miss what you don’t see, right? and then I just kind of forgot about it for a while.
And, every once in a while, I would check out airlines on the web and see what flights to England were going for. I would see that it was a lot of money and would go back to not thinking about that for a while.
Then came the day that in our conversation about going to England, I said,”ok” I committed myself to making the trip.
Almost immediately I thought about backing out of it because I was so afraid of the flying. All I thought was, “how the hell am I going to do this?”
My bank account grew and I started to feel more and more like a trip to England might be possible for me, that is if I decided that I wanted to fly all those hours it was going to take to actually get there. (Trust me, I did actually look into taking a boat).
What finally made me make up my mind to go to England was the fact that Katie would have loved going and she couldn’t. I made going for her more important than going for myself and I would take her, in spirit, with me.
Jackie in our conversations up until the time I was to leave, was always talking to me about not thinking of the actual flight. She kept telling me to think about where I was going instead of the how I was going to get there part of it.
Eventually I stopped focussing on how much space was between me and the ground and started to think about what I was going to do to get through the five hour flight from Boston to Iceland and then another couple of hours to England. How on earth do you sit in one spot for five hours and then get onto another flight for two more hours?
Just think about how fast your ass falls asleep or starts to feel the littlest of uncomfortable when you’re sitting anywhere for any length of time. And here you are on a plane, over the Atlantic Ocean? How does one manage that?
That’s when I had the idea of listening to books. I started seeing commercials for a new audio book service that could be downloaded to your phone and I thought that would be the perfect way to spend my time in the air, crossing the Atlantic Ocean…..have someone reading to me.
Unfortunately for me, my phone told me I didn’t have enough memory to hold the books. Eventually, I had to buy another device and some cds of the books, download them to my computer and onto my device from there. I know, a lot of work but I thought it would be worth it in the long run so that I could be distracted from the actual flying.
So, there, it was decided….I was going to England. Now to decide on when to go was the next issue. But because the date hadn’t yet been fixed and the ticket not purchased, I still had the idea in the back of my mind that I could, should I want to, could still back out of it if my fear of flying took over me.
And that is pretty much how it went for me over the course of more than a year. That’s right. It was well over a year, almost two from the time Jackie and I first started talking about me going until I actually flew to England.
In the meantime, I let my savings balance grow, periodically checked prices of tickets with different airlines and also looked for the flights with the least amount of stops. The less upping and downing there was of the plane, the better I liked it.
Then Jackie and I had the dreaded for so long, (by me), conversation about planning and picking the actual date and time that I would be making my trip to England. There could be no more beating about the bush for me, humming and hahing, I had to commit, one way or the other, so I did. I was indeed going to England.
Jackie and I settled on a date and from then on, everything I did was to prepare for my trip to England. I kept checking airlines and prices and when the price finally dropped below $1,000.00, I bought my ticket. I knew that was the best deal I was ever going to get.
My trip to England was an awesome experience. The flights were fine and I didn’t feel afraid and except for seeing that my suitcase zipper didn’t hold up when I saw it on the conveyer belt in England and an overnight stay in the bus station in Boston when I arrived back in the States, I wouldn’t have changed anything about my trip.
There was even a way to view those two things as positives as well. As for my suitcase, I wrapped two of my bungie cords around it before I left home, anticipating that I might need them coming home if I bought stuff and needed to keep two cases together. And in the bus station in Boston, I met another lady traveler who lived in Connecticut and had just arrived from South Africa where she had been visiting her son for about a month, we looked after one another for the night.
Never in a million years would I ever have expected that I would take a trip to England and I did. It’s okay to feel afraid, but you can’t let your fear stop you from doing something that is otherwise a wonderful thing to do.