Taking Flight | My Family Travels
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Six thirty a.m. Sitting in my seat, looking out the window, scared to death. The sun was just beginning to shine on the city of Wichita, Kansas. We weren’t moving yet and I was dreading the moment when we would. Then, I heard the roar of the engines starting up.

It was Saturday, April 24, 2010. I was fifteen years old, in my freshman year of high school. That year I was on my school’s LifeSmarts team and we had won the state championship, qualifying for Nationals in Miami Beach, Florida. I had never seen the ocean or been on an airplane before. Ever since we had won I’d been ecstatic about the trip. Except for one thing: the airplane flight.

After the jet engines warmed up for a few minutes we slowly began to pull away from the gate. Once we backed up far enough we started to taxi towards the runway. Our plane was small, only one seat on my side of the aisle and two on the other. I was terrified at the thought of being thousands of feet in the sky with nothing but the belly of the plane and a bunch of air between the ground and me. I’d seen hundreds of planes above me in my lifetime, mere specks in the sky, but I had never been the one up there. I started crying before we were even moving. Then before I knew it, we were on the runway, picking up speed, going faster and faster. I had never experienced such high speeds in my life. All at once, we began tilting upward and the wheels left the tarmac. We were in the air! I was flying! As we rose above Mid-Continent Airport I could see the city beneath me. My mom was sitting across from me, and I clutched her hand tightly. The plane climbed higher, and we were above the clouds. From my vantage point that day they looked like a soft, bumpy floor or a blanket of snow that stretched to the horizon, but near us you could see the city through patches of clear sky. My heart was pounding and I didn’t see how I could get through the next two hours suspended in the air.

Eventually, I got used to flying and was able to calm down and relax somewhat. We were scheduled to arrive at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston at 8:14 a.m. After flying over Texas, we slowly began our descent. The pressure inside the cabin increased and my ears began to hurt, needing to pop to equalize the air pressure. Houston was getting larger in my window. As we got closer I was able to pick out individual buildings and even saw a McDonald’s. Next we spotted the airport, then the runway rose up to meet us. Our wheels hit the ground and I breathed a sigh of relief. I was no longer in the air, but safely taxiing to the terminal.

Later that day we flew from Houston to Miami. It was then I experienced Florida’s muggy coastal air, caught a breathtaking view of the ocean, and walked on the beach with the sand between my toes for the first time ever. The worst part of the trip was over, the initial flight. I can tolerate flying now, but I still don’t enjoy it. Despite my dislike of being airborne, it was an amazing trip. I learned that when you are brave enough to face your fears, you are able to take part in many wonderful experiences that life has to offer.

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