Real Life On Hold - these are the adventures of California native Travis Emmel, as he takes time off from the rat race to travel and see the world.

Journal Entries

San Francisco

Friday, April 27, 2007

I’m finally on my way to San Francisco, albeit not as originally planned. This trip is more along the lines of a vacation as opposed to truly living in the city. I’d all but decided to move the trip to San Francisco to follow my European adventure when Dave got in touch with me and let me know he’d be up in the Bay Area for a couple weeks. Coupled with the repeated pleas from my sister to make the trek up, I decided I would at least go up for a short visit.

I remember being younger, probably around seven or eight years old and there had been a recent plane crash in the news. Perhaps it was my extreme impressionability at the time but I was soon overcome with an immense fear of flying. Admittedly, this wasn’t much of an issue at the time as my family rarely did a lot of vacations that involved flying; however, it quickly become a topic of concern when it was announced that we’d all be going to the East Coast to visit relatives a couple of months later. In that time preceding the trip, I became consumed by the [irrational] fear that the plane was going to disintegrate somewhere over the Midwest and lead to my very untimely death. By the time the trip was upon us, I was begging my family to leave me behind, reasoning that I could stay with my grandparents and keep them company while everyone else was across the county.

My parents would have none of it and I was dragged to the airport, figuratively kicking and screaming (and perhaps literally) every step of the way. As I lugged it through the airport, I felt like the only thing I’d packed in my suitcase was dread. We boarded the plane and as I sat in my seat I was overcome with fear; my palms dripped with sweat as I clutched the free end of the fastened seatbelt making sure it rode low and extremely tightly across my hips. I released my death grip on the seatbelt long enough to memorize every bit of information from the safety card that resided in the seat pocket in front of me and was probably the only person on board the flight who gave my complete and undivided attention to the flight attendants as they went over the safety features of the aircraft.

The moment of truth finally made itself known as the plane taxied out to the runway. On the verge of passing out, I read myself my last rites in my head, closed my eyes and prepared for the eminent death that awaited me. The engines roared to life as the plane thrust forward, pinning each of us to our seats and, within moments, that big, silver bird lost contact with the tarmac below. As we rose into the air, all of my fears seemed to erode, as though they’d been left behind on the runway. Suddenly, flying was exciting again! The curiosity of watching the world shrink away from the window replaced the stress caused by my morbid thoughts.

On the return leg, I was able to enjoy the entire flight from takeoff to landing and have not had any issues with flying since. When I tell people that I’m taking off to Europe by myself for a few months, a lot of people ask if I’m scared or tell me that I’m brave for doing it. I think the above account is a perfect metaphor to answer those people: it’s only scary if you make it that way. When the time comes, just sit back and enjoy the ride.


  • At 6:23 PM, Blogger *britt* said…

    it may be an easy ride for you to sit back and enjoy, but there's a reason air traffic controllers have twice as many ulcers, ridiculous amounts of stress, more coronaries, and a higher level of mental health illnesses...

    i'm just sayin'...

  • At 8:45 AM, Anonymous GT said…

    You can almost say the same thing about computer system administrators. If users only knew what goes on behind the scenes. SysAdmins are like the Men in Black.

    j/k...LOL :D

  • At 8:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    -The PoPo

  • At 8:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    How long will you be in SF? I will be up to visit.

    -The PoPo

  • At 10:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm with the PoPo on "RealExcitingStuffOnHold". I'd like the last 4 minutes of my life back,please.

    ~Just Po-Ling

  • At 12:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Uh WTF ever happened to the Vegas blog?

    -The PoPo


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