Sunday, June 28, 2015

Planes

I just returned from a business trip, my first in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I can also say this is my last travel for the first half of 2015. From January to June of this year, I traveled a total of 45,032 miles to four countries (South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia).



But despite of the frequent travels I have, I am still afraid of flying. Yes, even with the fact that I have tried paragliding and skydiving. Long trips scare me. And let us not talk about air turbulence because it’s making my palms sweat. 

During my flight back to Japan, we experienced a lots of turbulence and I was really having a hard time sleeping. Many things are rushing on my mind, most of them are negative thoughts, especially with the recent air-related accidents. I am quickly comforted by the fact that air transportation is the safest way of traveling compared to land and sea. 

Every time I fly, I remember one of my college friends who studied aeronautics. It was one of his dreams to fly an airplane. However, some dreams are not meant to be. I am sharing the poem I wrote after hearing the news. 

Paper Planes 

Carelessly, you climbed 
the rusty roofs, held tightly 
to the weary limbs of a guava tree. 

Like a five-year-old, you wouldn't stay put 
folding the newspapers 
into lop-sided gliders. 

You challenged the airplanes 
disappearing in the clouds, 
let go of artificial ZOOMMMMs! 
and tried to touch the sky. 

One day, you took control 
of a real plane, held tightly 
to the yoke, observed the altimeter. 
Danced with sunrises and sunsets. 

But it wasn't like flying papers, 
you were nearer to the skies 
a dream realized at twenty-five. 

Were you playing 
when you zoom through the blues 
and the emotionless clouds? 

You found it a hard landing. 

/totomai 
(my friend was flying a small plane during one of their drills at school when he lost control...)

I think I will never get rid of the fear I usually have during flights. There are times that sleeping pills are not effective at all. But I don't have any choice, as I have another business trip this July. 

totomai 
2015/06/28

68 comments:

  1. The fright of flying is very real. Many have the fear. And being the safest of travels still is not a consolation! Wonderful write totomai!

    Hank

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    1. Absolutely true Hank. Anything can happen. Of course, all of us wanted to land safely.

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  2. It is one thing to fly paper planes, quite another to hear the plane's door slam shut and realize you no longer have control of your life. The only thing to do is switch off, try to take your mind off flying and look forward to landing, reminding yourself that every bump you feel is normal!

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    1. I always do Robin but I can't control my palms getting sweaty haha

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  3. I like how you've brought in the paper planes into this poem.. flying is largely safe I suppose, despite the tragic disasters we hear of, still turbulence can be a challenge to deal with.

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    1. Very challenging, Thot. I am not sure how I survive turbulence each time.

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  4. It's a wonderful poem. I love the detail and the restraint. Sad about your friend! And I am sorry you fear flying, particularly as it is necessary for your work. I love it myself, and have done far too little of it. Ironic, isn't it? I hope that the destinations and the photography compensate you. (And the successfully concluded business, I suppose.)

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    1. I love it as a passenger, I should add. I have no hankering to take the controls. :-)

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    2. Yes, photography can be the only consolation. 2-3 hours flight is okay but not the 10 hr-flights. haha. Thanks Rosemary.

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  5. remember the cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man in outer space yet he had to die in a plane crash...what to do, one has to fly these days forgetting about negative thoughts...a nice poem...

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    1. Thanks Sumana - well, even the biggest ship sank...

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  6. It is a very surreal experience, flying.

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  7. 'Danced with sunrises and sunsets' - such a beautiful line..perhaps you have to retain that childlike wonder in order not to feel terrified of the thought that you are responsible for so many people flying through the clouds..i always find if you think too much about how it works and why your feet are on a floor which isn't on the ground you start to panic...sleeping pills all round! Enjoy your time on terrafirma

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    1. Thanks Jae - flying is like being in a dream actually. I believe that the pilots are doing their best to land the plane safely - well except the last time, France incident :(

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  8. I can relate to the fear of flying.. as I too.. feel the same when experiencing turbulence during a flight.. we were on our way back home when we experienced CAT II turbulence.. it was horrible.. for we all thought that we wouldn't make it.. fortunately it passed.. and we landed safely.. it was three years ago.

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    1. But feels like yesterday, right? I am trying to be brave but once the plane takes off - haha it's a different story lol

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  9. Very dramatic post and poem - well done. Let me just say, as someone who teaches safety, including to the airline industry - and at Saudi Arabian Airlines that yes, flying is relatively safe, but the flying industry tricks you with figures, stating for example an accident rate of about 1 for every 1,000,000 miles (1,600,000 km) flown. This figure is largely meaningless, as it never depends on kilometres flown, but flights made -a short flight is by and large as accident-prorne as a long flight, and in fact by statistics more so. There are many factors that influence plane crashes, and airline company culture is a mainreason. The recent German Wings crash WILL be indicative of a flawed company culture that may well be under the process of being corrected. The same can be said for ALL recent crashes, including Malaysian Airlines' tragic flight over the war zone in Ukraine.

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    1. Yes Forest, despite of the statistics, anything can happen and it's really scary. I remember the time about the Malaysia Airlines accidents - it was the only I requested my company not to fly with the said airline. Thanks for sharing your knowledge regarding aviation safety.

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  10. When we realize our dreams, they are not always what we expected them to be. It is one thing to make planes, it is another to fly - to kiss the sky. To know that life is in your hands, and one hard landing means to never fly again.

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    1. Or never see the skies forever. Sometimes dreams are very risky.

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  11. Strangely enough I have never had any fear of flying... Maybe I enter a fatalistic mode, leaving myself to a destiny where I cannot do anything except letting time pass. There is a sense of boredom I rarely have the time to enjoy except on very long flights..

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    1. Everytime I sit on the plane, I usually to myself okay this is gonna be fine but once it starts to take off, I wish I was sleeping :)

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  12. Your poem is well expressed. So sad to read how your friend was in the process of fulfilling his dream when it all came to an end that way. Your poem is a reminder of the unpredictability and fragility of life. I am another who is not a fan of flying. Turbulence is a frightening thing; and I have taken a number of long flights as well that seemed an eternity! Hope to see some Saudia Arabian pictures sometime soon!

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    1. Yes Mary - life is unpredictable in so many ways. So true about long flights, I wish there's an express button to destination. I have a few photos of Saudi Arabia..

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    1. and sometimes it is not on our side

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  14. I too am afraid of flying for long periods of time...but the beauty of the sky, touching and dancing with sun keeps me interested in travelling ~ I am sorry to read about the loss of your friend ~ Your words are beautiful testament to your friendship ~

    Grace

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    1. thanks kabayan, perhaps he is there dancing with the clouds. or sunsets. or sunrises.

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  15. I was flying practically before I could talk and have no fear of it....just awe and wonder that it is even possible....."Danced with sunrises and sunsets"---I love this line. Beautiful :-)

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    1. thanks CC. i tried to fly to but with a teammate. I cannot do it all by myself

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  16. A wonderful tribute yo your friend. I'm aghast that you travel so many miles even with your fear of flying.
    Thanks for dropping in at my Sunday Lime

    Much love...

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    1. I have no choice Gillena as I am married to this company haha

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  17. So sad about your friend. You wrote a poem that captures his dream. I can relate to you about fear of flying. But it must be hard, when your work requires so much travel. May you always be safe.

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    1. Sleeping pills to the rescue, Myrna. Not effective always though

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  18. Totomai, first, your banner photo is wonderful, as is the photo of that blurry plane viewed through the branch of an old gnarled tree. You have such talent! So many air miles traveled.......with safe landings, thankfully. When you next fly, allow your mind to only hold positive thoughts: I am safe. I fly safely. I will land safely. Dont let any fear or negative energy in. That will keep you safely aloft and will accompany your safe landing. Your poem about your friend is beautiful and sad. He achieved his dream of flight. It is so sad the worst nightmare came true with his crash landing. Lots to think about with this post. A meaningful visit here this morning.

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    1. I will remember your suggestion Sherry. Yeah, at least he was able to fly despite of the ending. I knew he was able to savor the moment of flying.

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  19. What a wonderful post from picture to poem....I too have to use pills when I fly as the turbulence is too much....amazing you can fly so much....but I love Sherry's thoughts for a calmer flight.

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    1. Yes Donna - i liked Sherry's suggestions too. Even in business or first class you are not exempted to turbulence. haha

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  20. Loved the paper planes in this. So many things that children take such joy in, terrify and torment them when they are grown ... planes, soldiers, guns ......... Wonderful writing!

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    1. Agree Wendy, it takes time to realize that some dreams are beyond our reach.

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  21. First of all a comment on your photographs which beautifully share exquisite vistas. Now your poem: the image of the innocence of paper planes and the death of your friend is so beautiful that I find it hard to articulate an appropriate response and so I shall simply applaud out here behind the screen Bravo!

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    1. I really appreciate your kind words Pearl.

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  22. That is sad about the friend who wanted to fly. Sometimes dreams come with risk. The fear of flying is very real and difficult when traveling is part of your job. You have captured many beautiful moments with that lens and it would not have been possible without flying. Thank you for sharing your art with us.

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    1. But we will never know what's in store for us if we don't try. My pleasure to share :)

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    2. Sometime dreams should remain dra

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  23. I don't blame you for your fear of flying, totomai. I share the same fear. I've only flown twice though. Your poem was very beautiful. I'm sorry to hear of your friend. It's nice to know though that he got to do what he dreamed. Thanks for sharing such thoughts :)

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  24. A wonderful tribute. The image of a child throwing planes then going on to pilot them really made the poem.

    Also, fear is normal and okay, as you know.

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    1. Thanks for reminding me that Im normal :)

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  25. Dancing with the sun is a beautiful image.

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  26. My daughter always notices planes. They make a perfect poetic theme. I dig your pic as well - it too is a poem.

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    1. Thanks Ollie - photography is poetry without words

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  27. What wonderful places you have visited. Planes can be quite scary especially during turbulence. Really nice poem, and tribute.

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    1. Thanks blogoratti :) Yes, turbulence is scary haha

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  28. totomai,

    Congratulations on having completed so many miles as an airline passenger, in spite of your fears of flying.
    My first long distance flight was eleven years years ago, when I travelled with my husband to Seattle from London. Part way through the long flight, there was extremely severe turbulence; not a great experience, but it prepared me well for all subsequent flights. I find music is my best escape, especially on overnight flights..Love the tribute to flying, via the paper planes! Good luck with your next adventure,
    Eileen

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    1. Thanks Eileen. I once traveled from Houston to London and also experienced turbulence. Maybe next time, alcohol could help :)

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  29. Ah, Totomai, the fear of flying will be gone if you accept that you're not in control of your life....esp. when you have a passion for your job, for seeing different countries, doing photos and writing poems...
    I'd say as long as you have a passion doing what you do, it's okay to fly. Thanks for sharing! You are unique, you're empowering us, who read you :)x

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    1. Thanks humbird - you inspire to continue writing.

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  30. I really like the way you have referenced childhood memories and brought these to bear on the adult fears.

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    1. Some fear can't disappear overnight.

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  31. Reminded me of my first flight... The picture is awesome!

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    1. Thanks. It always feels like the first time.

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  32. That is an awesome shot - I love how the limb takes the forground

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any thoughts to distill?

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