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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Travel and the fragility of life

I was devastated to read about the tragic news of the Madrid air crash, which killed 153 people. You can read about the tragedy here at BBC news and at the International Herald Tribune. I don't deal with bad news well at the best of times. And it should go without saying at the worst of times. I'm one of those people who cries when I watch TV and see somebody else crying, who feels the pain of another's injury or loss, especially the loss of a life. But it's not only the loss of life that moves me. But the loss of life when it's least expected. Like when people are going on holidays for godsake, when touching down on the runway should be one of the happiest times of their life, the start of an amazing trip, when they should be feeling a sense of anticipation. Not of dread. And of course I can't help but think of ourselves. I know there's a greater chance of being hit by a car crossing the road than there is dying in a plane accident, but it always sends a chill down my spine when I read about air crashes because we fly so often. We get on and off planes as most people do buses. I've lost count of the number of flights we've caught this year, let alone in the 2.5 years we've been on the road this last 'stint'. I hate to think. But let's just say we've flown a lot more planes than we've caught buses. Although I've been flying since I was four, I did go through a period when I got nervous flying. It was mainly the times I flew by myself. (I never get anxious when flying with Terry.) When I flew back to Australia when my Dad was dying of cancer and Terry had to stay in Dubai and work. And when I'd flown on my own to film festivals and conferences elsewhere in the Middle East and Europe. It only took a bit of turbulence and I'd be running a list through my head of all the things I hadn't done, the things I hadn't said, and how I hadn't prepared for... for... well... let's just say, for the fragility of life. Just as I imagine most of those people on the plane hadn't either.

8 comments:

Travel Muse said...

Elegantly said.

AngelaCorrias said...

I get nervous sometimes when on a plane and as an expat, I often fly home to see my family. Maybe I get nervous because I can't understand how a plane can fly or maybe just because when a plane has a problem there are always very few chances of a solution, while for a car it's easier to just stop and call for help. Even if car accidents are more frequent.
It's horrible to die in the plane that's taking you to your longed holiday destination, but I can't avoid thinking how astonished I was when I read about the British couple murdered during their honeymoon in Antigua, last July. Really, for God's sake.

Mark H said...

There is something about the reporting of plane accidents that makes people sit up and think. You describe it well in your entry.

laradunston said...

Thanks, Travel Muse.

Hi Angela, I agree. Bit hard to change the tyre. I can't resist watching those air crash movies either - to be understand how things work - but they frighten the hell out of me.

You're right, Mark, and I think it is because it's such a horrific death that's unavoidable - you either fall out of the sky or you burn to death as those poor people in Madrid did...

Jeff said...

Very nicely put. We humans love to feel in control. For most of us being 40,000 feet above the ground definitely takes away that FALSE sense of control.

laradunston said...

Hi Jeff

Thanks for the feedback - much appreciated. Very nicely said yourself.

PopandRock said...

Hey Lara,
As a fellow person who spends a lot of time on planes, I never cease to be completely disturbed by such terrible accidents. I hate flying but have to do it often and I actually find it fairly ironic that someone who loves to travel so much is terrified to get on a plane. It's nice to see your viewpoint put so eloquently on your blog. Talk to you soon.
Jennifer
www.betterlivingthroughtravel.com

holiday boy said...

I don't mind flying