Travelling through Pandemic

FEAR “Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise…” unknown writer

Mental Health Foundation describes fear as one of the most powerful emotions; it has a strong effect on the mind and the body. 

On a day-to-day basis we are faced with various levels or types of fear; unfortunately, we cannot be a fugitive of our fears as there is no escape – it will continue to haunt you.  There is a quote from Eric Thomas which reminds us of that “At some point in life You have to face Your fears.”

It was the month of June 2020 here I am behind closed doors – locked-down, and in the company of my four-year-old gazing at the television screen.  At that same time, I am chatting on the phone with a friend.  She says to me, “The first plane flying out to my home country – I am on it! I am going home to see my family!” 

Huh? Are you crazy? How can you think of boarding a plane in a middle of a pandemic?  That was my thought; it was a feeling of fear.  Family is extremely important (top of the list) but at that point fear had taken over my emotions.  I was not willing to take this risk. 

Helen Keller once said, “Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold”

I carried this fear with me daily for a long time but one blessed day during the month of August, I woke up with that same feeling just like my friend.  By week two in the month of September – in the middle of the pandemic – I was on a plane with my four-year-old daughter on our way to our family.

To get ready for that first pandemic trip I prepared a list of items I needed to purchase including masks, hand sanitizers, antibacterial wipes to wipe the tray tables on the plane, dried snacks and thereafter, I researched the travel protocols.  At that time the covid19 vaccine was not yet available hence vaccination was not on the ‘to do’ list.   The second task was to prepare my four-year-old for this trip and get her in the right mindset so that she understands that it is not our normal fun and frolic trip – don’t be touching the railings or countertops and your face; sanitize regularly – keep your mask on all the time.  Bathroom trips would be restricted – Yes, I may have been paranoid, but preparation was key.

In all this excitement we forgot to complete the travel questionnaire.  The airline representatives reminded us that the online form must be completed 24 hours prior to travel- Oh My God!! With all this excitement I missed this important item and here I was almost in tears thinking that our trip is ruined and maybe it was not meant to be.  Thankfully my husband intervened and made a few calls and eventually we got through. 

On arrival a rapid antigen test was administered for us, and we were allowed to go home to be with our family. 

Since then, we have made two additional trips and ready for the next one.

I overcame my fear by treating it like a problem-solving challenge and identifying the risks associated with that fear.  Thereafter, I developed some mitigants and set out a detailed plan which brought me to a level of comfort.    

Fear comes in different forms.  Fear of getting an unknown illness, fear of losing someone you care deeply about, fear in our professional life – be it job loss, stagnation, incompetency or even fear of failure. 

Fear can lead to anxiety and depression, but we can replace that fear with hope and faith knowing we will have a better future.

Dr. Karl Albrecht, author of over 20 books on professional achievement, organizational performance, and business strategy outlines five Types of Fears:

  • Fear of Extinction that is the fear of ceasing to exist.
  • Mutilation or Bodily Invasion – a fear of loosing body parts or any fear where we feel physically unsafe or under attack.
  • Loss of Autonomy which involves fear of being restricted, confined, or trapped.
  • Fear of Separation, Abandonment or Rejection – as humans we have a strong need to belong.
  • Fear of Humiliation, Shame or Worthlessness – We all need to feel lovable, worthy of love and of value in the world order to have healthy relationships with others – and with ourselves.

Read more here:

Many of us can relate to Dr Karl’s analysis of fear be it in or professional or personal life. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “He who is not every day conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.”

The fear of bodily invasion triggered by anxiety of catching a deadly germ delayed my decision to get on that plane.  The feeling of I can’t do it too often overcomes our path to greatness, our path of success; our path of enjoying life as quoted by Ralph. 

What is your fear? Discover your fears and tackle them like a brave warrior.  Michelle Obama reminded us, “Don’t ever make decisions based on fear. Make decisions based on hope and possibility. Make decisions based on what should happen, not what shouldn’t”.