Written by Matt Cripps
This is my first blog post ever! It is also about my first real experience traveling and I am still wrought with excitement. Originally, I had intended to write about traveling while being overweight and in my case, well let’s just say that buffet owners cringe in fear when I walk in the door. However, over the last couple months since I have been back – oh, I went to Oahu by the way – I have realized that it was fear I had to get over, not being fat.
You see, over the years as my body swelled and the ground trembled in strain beneath my feet, I saw those “Too Fat to Fly” media broadcasts, articles and general internet hype. Coincidently, I had been so afraid to fly in years past that I skipped going places all together because I was too afraid of being “too fat.” In my mind, I had only two possible outcomes when flying; on the one hand I was going to be asked to buy a second seat – which in my head translated to a tiny voice booming, “YOU BARELY AFFORDED ONE SEAT LET ALONE TWO. BETTER NOT EVEN TRY!” Or, even worse, I was going to get on the plane, have the stewardess take one look at me, wag a finger and escort me off the plane in front of the sexy Australian swimsuit model who happened to be vacationing in Hawaii between modeling gigs. Either way, in my mind, I was out of luck.
Conversely, my experience flying to Hawaii was a total breeze – I would be tempted to use the word dreamboat, but alas. Not only was every single flight attendant kind, some were downright generous. On the main flight from Dulles to Honolulu, the attendant brought me a seat belt extender without me even asking, nothing exchanged except, “Here ya go hun! Enjoy your flight.” In an effort to be comfortable I generally avoided trying to use my seat belt – the fact that I saw that airlines kick out the blobs that can’t fit without the extender caused me great anguish going into the adventure. So much so that I hid the seatbelt, I made it look like it was on when it wasn’t! Also I did the one thing I loathe, I lied; “Of course, yes ma’am and yes, thank you,” were all staples on my in-flight experience.
Once I reached Hawaii my fear didn’t stop there, it spilled over into my vacation. Overall I was sick of sitting around, after all it is a 13 hours of travel time one way, and as such generally kept busy. My favorite part was the North Shore and my least favorite, but most important part were the hikes. I say the hikes are most important because during them I conquered my fears, especially Diamond Head. Near the summit of Diamond Head and countless stairs later I suffered a break down completed with yelling, sweating, huffing and puffing. My legs were quitting on me, my lungs were red-hot, and worst of all my mind was screaming, “you can’t do it!” Looking back on the experience I can be certain that I was afraid. I wasn’t afraid of falling off or my lungs bursting, I was afraid of the effort it would take to reach the top. I was afraid of the looks people would give me, mocking me, laughing at this overly heavy man crawling his way up the side of this mountain. Yet none of it happened. I rested for a spell, drank the last of my precious water and ascended triumphantly with no mocking and no unsettling laughter. Strangely enough I got nothing except smiles from everyone, subtle encouragements.
If I can say one thing about my trip to Hawaii it is this: fear isn’t real, it’s all in your head. The worst part about fear is realizing that your own mind is sabotaging you. My fear almost held me back from taking an incredible adventure filled with prized memories that my sister and I can share for a lifetime – she is my travel buddy. There is so much for me to say on this subject, as well as my entire trip to Hawaii and writing this, it is all pouring out of my head, however garbled. If there is one thing I hope most people take away from this scrambled mess of memories it is this: fear isn’t real. Applying that to traveling: don’t let fear make decisions for you on what you want to do, where you want to go, what you want to eat, how you want to get there. Take that trip to Hawaii, snorkel in Hanauma Bay, eat Poi, and finally, take that long flight. I promise that if you know that is what you want to do, your heart will dispel and fear your doubts can conjure.
P.S. I flew United and it was a dream.
P.S.S. I’m pretty sure I fell in love with two girls on Hawaii, I didn’t ask them out and I should have. Fear wins sometimes!