****Winner of the 2016 Host Stories Contest. Please note, this story reflects the original user submission. The content has not been edited.****
I've met many people who were afraid of something, but only a handful who were prepared to understand and face their fear. My fear of flying was always there but I questioned whether the 'flying' part was just an excuse for a deeper fear of something else. I've always loved flying which I associated with awesome travel adventures.
Up until one day when my work colleague died in a well known plane crash in 2009. It was also the day when I was moving my life to Australia from the UK. I learnt the sad news when I woke up from a jetlag. Since then, my fear became much stronger and my anxiety was mounting quickly every time I was near the airport. I tried many things - watching educational programs about plane crashes a day before flying out (!), trying to relax muscles upon take off with alcohol and you know what? It helped my muscles but the fear was still in my head.
And then I joined the AirBnB community and decided to host. I've had previous hospitality experience working in five star hotels and I thought it would be awesome to show my famous small town to visitors. I worked on the listing and soon after I started to have enquiries. When I had my first booking, I felt ecstatic!
My very first guest Lim turned out to be a pilot! What a coincidence I thought. He was flying for work almost everyday during his two weeks stay. After sharing my poor flying experience with him, he said: "I have a spare seat on Thursday. Fly with me" he said. I was shaking all three days prior having an internal battle with myself. Thursday came and I stopped. I decided to do it. I drove to the airport, waited nervously while all maintenance checks were being done and finally got into a tiny seat next to the pilot.
Nothing could describe my feeling of 'elevation' I literally felt so in the air. The turbulence was really bad but it was normal. After few minutes my fear turned into curiosity about the air pressure, reasons for turbulence and all those buttons on the dashboard, rotating propeller and the views.... Great Ocean Road looked stunning and we were just buzzing about like kids.
And this was my first AirBnB experience. I still fear flying a bit, but it's not about flying anymore. It was about making that decision.