Flying? Yes, hypnosis works!

So anyone who’s friends with me on Facebook will know that I survived the flight and am now in Sydney.  That sentence amazes me – Sydney!!  More about that in my next post, but today I thought I’d just extol the virtues of self-hypnosis.

One of the key challenges of this trip (apart from raising the money to get here) was getting on the plane – two planes, actually.  About a week before I was due to fly, I started listening to a lovely self-hypnosis app, handily titled ‘Fear of flying’, every night when I went to bed.  People were asking me what was on it, but I have no idea, as I seemed to fall asleep within the first couple of minutes of putting the soothing voice into my brain.  I say soothing, but probably I mean hypnotic, obviously.  I did hear ‘3,2,1 and awake’ a couple of times, but that was pretty much it apart from the very beginning where I was encouraged to relax, relax, relax…

On Wednesday, I made my way (very early in the morning) to Manchester airport, and noticed that I didn’t feel exactly terrified – at least, not to my normal level of pre-flight panic.  After a fabulous amount of queuing and waiting, I finally made it onto the plane, and found myself with a window seat, just beside the wing.  Normally, this would have been a terrible thing – seeing a plane wing and an engine is not the best way to induce calm in someone terrified of all the things that might go wrong!  But this time, I felt okay about it.  Take off was good (always happy to find that even big planes can make it into the air) and then it was drink/lunch time (at about 11am, for goodness’ sake – my poor body clock!).  I managed not to keep one eye trained on the cabin crew, as I normally would, and I even watched some films!  And I was taking pictures of the mountains somewhere over Iran/Iraq without any sense that I really shouldn’t be looking down there.  Then it was feeding time again, followed by a landing in Abu Dhabi.  Under usual circumstances, I’d be really, really hacked off at the thought of having to go in another plane, but again I was fine.  Most amazingly, on the second part of the journey I managed to go to sleep!!  By now, I was realising the amazing brilliance of that hypnosis app – honestly, ask anyone who’s had to endure a flight with me before, I was like a new woman this time.  At the end of it all, as we made our exciting landing in Sydney, I even had the bizarre thought that I’d quite enjoyed the experience!

Happily, I’ll have time to listen to the app plenty more before I have to get on another plane.  For now, it’s Sydney, and then the exciting train journey up to Byron Bay – no hypnosis app required for that one!

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Getting there…

Crocheted squares

The ever growing pile of blanket squares!

What a busy time I’ve been having – I’ll need a little sit down after all this.  Oh, hang on, I guess that’s what the immensely long plane journey will achieve…

Anyway – the generosity of friends has enabled me to complete my plans for this epic trip of planes, trains and conferences.  I feel like I’ve blogged, baked and crocheted my way to Australia.  Baking has proved a fantastic way of raising money, but in all honesty I don’t want to see another cake tin for a very long time!

So to crocheting: my final fundraising venture has been to get friends to sponsor me to complete 100 baby blanket squares before I leave the country next week.  At the conference, there will be a ‘yarning table‘ (love that play on words), where delegates can bring the squares they’ve knitted or crocheted and we’ll sew them all together to make baby blankets that will subsequently be sent to Papua New Guinea.  I loved the idea that I’m sitting in Newark-on-Trent making squares, and they’ll end up literally on the other side of the world!  Several of my friends have pointed out that my suitcase will look a little odd should anyone in customs happen to open it, but I think it will make a great story.

Happily, I love crocheting, and I’ve discovered that you can do it ANYWHERE!  I’ve crocheted on the train to work, while having coffee with friends, in my lunch break in the Tower of Doom, in the car (while being a passenger, obvs)… I’m currently on square number 76, so I feel very optimistic that I’ll get to my target.  And I’m enjoying crochet so much, maybe I’ll try and use it as means of remaining calm and collected on the plane.  Better than alcohol, really.  Perhaps I’ll produce a little photo album of places in Australia where I’ve crocheted – I might look like a crazy lady, but at least I’ll be producing something useful along the way.

Just eight days until I fly, and I’m getting a teeny bit excited now.  I’m able to envisage being in Australia, so it’s just the small matter of getting on the plane.  Self-hypnosis app is ready and waiting…

On generosity and kindness

cakes for sale

…and there was more!

Yesterday was the big cake sale day.  I made meringues, lemon cakes, fruit cakes, victoria sponges, fairy cakes, honeycomb boulders, white chocolate tiny cakes, and cheesy biscuits (well, there had to be one little bit of savoury among the devilish sugar overdose!)

I simply can’t believe how many people came to eat and buy my cakes!  I had an idea that there would be a steady trickle of friends during the day, and I was imagining the mountain of cake that might be left over at the end.  But in reality, there was an absolute deluge of visitors pretty much on the dot of 11:30, and in two hours they managed to eat and take away almost everything I’d baked.  And in their generosity, they gave me almost £250!!!

It really was one of the loveliest days of my life: what could be better than old friends and new coming to my house, drinking tea and eating cake?  I’m incredibly touched by the fact that people made the effort, and by how generous they were.  I feel like this trip is supported by so many brilliant people, and it will be all the more special for that.

So it’s now just 22 days until I fly, and I feel like my plans are all coming together.  I’m starting in Sydney, then travelling by train (yes, 13 hours!  I love trains!) to Byron Bay for a few days, and then I’ll be moving on to Gold Coast for the conference itself.  I still can’t believe it’s real, and my fear of flying has not abated.  I’ll be getting that self-hypnosis app back on in the near future…

In the meantime, I’m doing a little cake sale at work tomorrow – I have to bake again tonight, as there was so little left from yesterday’s extravaganza.  And I have a little sponsored thing underway – more about that later in the week!  For today, I’m just enjoying the glow of having successfully fed huge amounts of sugar to such a lovely group of people…