Airports are places of high anxiety. My mother has never had good experiences with airplanes, ergo neither have I. The majority of my mother’s side of the family lives on the west coast, in Washington state. Since I was very young we have been making the trek out to the coast to visit my grandparents and aunt and uncle, but it wasn’t always by airplane.
Traveling has been a large part of my life, but it hasn’t always been easy. When I was 3 years old my mother (in her attempt to avoid airplanes) decided that taking my sister and I across the country would be easier by train.
I don’t have any memory of the train trip, but my mother can describe it rather vividly. Which means it wasn’t the best experience.
She told me the compartments were cramped, and that there wasn’t anything for my sister and I to do, so my sister, Katie, would run up and down the train hallways. She said it wasn’t any place for children, and that she’ll never take the trip again.
Next, my mother attempted to take us across the country by car. I can remember being shaken awake at two in the morning just to be thrown in the car to take the long trip. My brother got his comfortable car seat, and my sister spread herself across the back seat, while I slept on the car floor.
It must not have been that bad, because I fell asleep anyway.
The majority of the three-day trip consisted of my brother insisting we watch Thomas the Train on repeat, even though we had a maximum of three episodes.
While trying to avoid traffic across the Rocky Mountains, we took a mountain pass, which just happened to be the most dangerous part of the trip.
The passage was narrow, and obviously less traveled than any regular pass. My mom most likely was on the edge of her seat the entire time, but I wouldn’t remember. I fell asleep somewhere between one side of the mountain and the other.
When I woke up, my brother supposedly realized along the way that he didn’t like heights, and had decided to regurgitate his lunch on the car floor.
We don’t take trips like that anymore, thankfully.
I remember the first time my brother rode on an airplane. We were taking a trip to Florida for a family vacation to Disney World.
My brother developed the same overwhelming fear of flying that my mother had, and was absolutely terrified of airplanes. So we told him it wasn’t an airplane.
We told him it was a magic bus.
Somewhere in the back of my brother’s mind, he probably imagined The Magic School Bus and Mrs. Frizzle, but in reality this bus was much more packed than he originally thought.
When my brother finally waddled onto the plane ahead of the rest of us, he decided to talk to the first person he encountered, who just happened to be a kind, older lady already seated in the first row.
He asked, “Is this is a magic bus?” And in good intent the woman answered truthfully, not knowing the extent of what she was doing.
“No silly! This is an airplane!”
He cried the majority of the trip into Florida, holding onto my dad’s hand so hard, I bet my dad regretted lying to him.
Both of my siblings have developed this fear of airplanes, but I think they are actually quite relaxing. With how often I seem to ride on them, I really can’t complain.
But airports are the worst.