If travel has thought me something, it is that things are not going to happen as we want. Do you allow travel to take away the power to control?
I have mentioned before how nervous I get every time I have to fly on a plane. Actually, I don’t feel that bad because I have noticed how this is a common malady among travelers and members of the blogging community.
There is no mystery about this. I admit I am a chicken for certain things and I just go with the flow. I just bite fear on the head and get into the plane. It may be the most torturous time of a trip but everything is forgotten once I arrive at my destination.
The other day I found an interesting alternative view of the flying “problem”. A friend of mine does not fly, not because he is scared of planes or heights, it is because he doesn’t want to get into a situation he cannot control. And, this is something I have never heard of before.
In some way, he is right. I have always thought about flying as one of the biggest acts of faith out there. When you get into the plane, you have to trust the pilots, the staff, the air controllers, the guys in charge of maintenance, and the other 500 folks flying with you (assuming you are on one of those jumbo jets).
Oh, and I forgot to mention, you have to believe the actual mechanical bird is in optimal condition. So there you have it. Hardcore travelers need to have trust in tons of strangers. Because there are professionals in charge of making sure we make it to the other end but in reality, a safe flight depends on all of us contributing a grain of salt. Mind-blowing, if you carefully think about it!!
But no, I am not here to scare you with my crazy thoughts. The point is that it is almost impossible to have control in a situation like that. As a matter of fact, a lot of the aspects related to travel are beyond our obsessive controlling impulses.
If travel has thought me something, it is that things are not going to happen as we want (no matter how much we plan them). The weather may not cooperate. The hotel room may not look like the photo posted on the booking site. You get lost. A tour company can cancel an excursion. Things are more expensive than expected. And so and so and so. This is just a small sample of all the things that can go wrong.
This is why travel and control do not go together. If you want to always have total control over daily situations a) you are going to exclude travel and new adventures from your life or b) you are not fully enjoying the exposure to new experiences or c) you are complaining about why this or that happened.
I have a humble recommendation if you believe you are a control freak. Life is not going to shatter into pieces if you let go a little bit. Go with the flow and believe everything is going to be alright. Start by loosening the reins little by little. Try to be more expontaneous. Enjoy the moment.
But please, do me a favor. Don’t deny yourself worthwhile experiences because you know things are not going to be as you want. Don’t subject your loved ones to your control-oriented decisions.
Because there is nothing more delicious than going on a trip and being excited about how everything is going to turn out. And this is something with implications in all aspects of life if you look at it from the correct angle.
We talk a lot about how fear stops us from doing what we want. However, the desire to control is another of those obnoxious behaviors that keep popping in the middle of the road.
How do you deal with the necessity of having control? Do you think control is fear seen from another perspective? Let me know in the comments section below. Would love to hear your thoughts on this one.
Jeremy Branham says
I think it’s a delicate balance. Not having control is scary. However, do we ever really have control of anything? Not being in control when traveling can be a curse and a blessing. Sometimes things don’t go the way we want. However, some of those moments are the best travel experiences of our lives.
That is true. I don’t know if there is something we can have full control of. I mean we may think we have control of some situations in our lives but the truth is that an abrupt change can come at any moment. I have learned a lot about that lately. That is why we have to enjoy each day and try not to worry about the future.
I agree, the need to control is the other side of fear. And as I am totally fearles…. Having said that, the only thing I’m obsessed about controlling are my finances and I think that is well justified.
I will pass that obsession you have with controling your finances. I guess I can learn something with you since I am a pretty bad budgeter.
Michael Figueiredo says
To me, part of the fun of traveling is not being in total control. Although I always want to have the most enjoyable time possible, it’s great to face the unknown. (I also love flying, except when there’s no legroom!)
Wish I can say I love flying!!!
Scott - Quirky Travel Guy says
I’m mildly unnerved when I fly, but I try to use logic by reminding myself that it’s way safer than driving. Once I’m seated on the plane, there’s no use worrying about what I can’t control. I usually tell myself before we take off, “Ok, if we’re destined to crash, there’s nothing I can do about it now. Might as well sit back and enjoy the ride,” and then I dive into a magazine and forget about it.
I try to take the same strategy with other travel-related activities where I don’t have total control. It’s more fun to be adventurous and not live in fear!
Totally agree with you. It is fun to be adventurous and see what experiences each day is going to bring.
Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista says
If you live a life never giving up control then I would think you’d never leave the house but then someone else built the house and someone else made the windows etc etc. Life is not about controlling everything around us but about experiencing it. I am not afraid to fly in an airplane of any size. I’m safe there than driving in my own car!
Good to now you can put things in the correct perspective.
Unfortunately, I know people who haven’t seen family in years, let go important events and don’t go out of the country because they don’t want to fly. Like I mentioned in the article, it is not about fear but it is mostly a control issue. I have suggested to read flying related statistics but that is not helping. There may be something more deep behing. Wish we can easily convince people to experience more.
Christy @ Technosyncratic says
I’m a control freak AND I’m scared of flying… I never considered how those two might be connected. 🙂 But I think a lot of my fear with flying is that airplane crashes are almost always fatal, plus there’s time on the way down to realize you’re about to die and wonder what exactly it is (the impact? fire?) that’ll kill you. Okay, so I’m morbid, too. =P
Yes, a little morbid. Another blogger who is scared of flying. We should start a club.