Given the amount of travel related material I present here, it might come as a surprise to regular followers of this site, that for about ten years, from the late 80’s to the late 90’s I suffered from a suddenly acquired, debilitating fear of flying.
Debilitating for about the first seven or eight years, to be accurate, as I gradually cured myself of the affliction over the final two or three years with a combination of judiciously applied strong alcohol and the advent of budget airlines – specifically easyJet. But thanks to that magical cocktail of Jack Daniels blended with Stelios Haji-Ioannou’s heroically mundane approach to commercial air-travel (a story for another post perhaps) I thankfully managed to rediscover my inner Frank Sinatra. However, unluckily for us, the height of my phobia coincided with our move to southern Spain.
If the move had been the total success we had originally anticipated then my fear of flying wouldn’t have been thrown into such sharp relief, but because of constant need to migrate, firstly to northern France, and then later, back to the UK, things became tricky.
For a period of about three years we had to make the journey, firstly from Malaga to Boulogne and then from Malaga to London, between six and twelve times annually. And, while some of these journeys anyway necessitated the need for a car journey, most of them would have been quicker, cheaper and easier by plane. But, as there was no way I could fly, and short of Dido giving me the Mr “T” Novocaine treatment , this meant that for all of those dozens of trips, we had to drive.
More often than not, and especially towards the end of the period, when “getting there” had become the sole objective, we would stick to the main roads and cover the route in as little as two and a half days (our record was 18 hours – Malaga to London – 1400 miles – door-to-door), but on occasion we would make a small vacation out of a drive, and take some significant detours, in France and/or Spain.
The images presented here are from some of those early excursions compiled into one virtual tour. Their yellowed, grainy texture reflect golden memories of the beauty and the unsurpassed variety (in Europe at least) of the French landscape; in this case from the Pyrenees in the south, to the beaches on Normandy in the north, via Provence and the Auvergne. It’s amusing to consider now, that if it had not been for my fear of flying I might not have got to visit some of these extraordinary places…
3 thoughts on “FRENCH SCENERY – a fringe benefit of my fear of flying…”
Interesting. It’s not that i fear flying; now I hate flying. I wonder if someday I will be able to look back and say that what the airlines did to make flying a miserable experience led to “a great transatlantic cruise” or a “great road trip.” Perhaps I’ll not wait and think about it today.
I still get a tingle of anticipation and pleasure, when lucky enough to fly business of first, settling back into my seat at take off. But yes, the airport tedium getting to that point, and the airport tedium waiting at the other end does take the gloss off somewhat.
Adam and Dido, yes I guess this is quite interesting and not so unusual. Even for those of us who do not fear flying , the first few minutes while taxing down a runway just before take off and a few moments following actual take and lift off the ground the cabin remains noticeably silent as everyone feels some anticipation and tension until the plane reaches required safe flying altitude and starts to level off out of the bumpy turbulence of clouds and air pockets which can be unnerving even slightly sickening just about. So no worries there you were never alone I can assure you even for the most seasoned blase traveller.!! Love your photos which are breathtaking as usual and such interesting anicdotes….Many thanks for these shares and keep em posting ….Keep well and in great form….Blessxxx
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