If God wanted us to fly, he would’ve made it easier to get through security.
Ask anyone who refuses to travel by air, what their reason is and you’ll probably hear something like this: “I hate traveling, it’s not worth the hassle.”Not many people think of their travel anxiety as a fear of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). That’s because there’s no such thing as TSA anxiety.
Or is there?
Ask anyone who refuses to travel by air, what their reason is and you’ll probably hear something like this: “I hate traveling, it’s not worth the hassle.”
When pressed about the hassle, a common answer is: “I prefer not to be strip searched at the airport.” When I listen to these words, I hear two anxieties: worry and anger.
Anger about Loss of Personal Privacy
Just to be allowed to board the plane, you must first satisfy the Trolls. These uniformed trolls eye the innocent traveler then order: “Answer this riddle, and then ye shall pass. What am I thinking?”
Billy G. Gruff, the traveler answers, “I have no idea what your thinking, I’m just trying to catch a plane here.”
Troll: “Here is a clue. I shall reveal only one. Answer it wisely, and ye may pass. Answer it poorly, and I will gobble you up.” He pauses for dramatic effect here, then says, “Tis something ye may not carry on thy quest!”
This leads me to the second anxiety I hear when would-be travelers refuse to face the security trolls.
Worry About the Unknown
TSA rules seem to change daily. “What if I’m carrying something I’m not allowed to take with me? Then the security troll will have me at his mercy.”
Troll: “What is your name? What is your Quest…and is that a soda you’re carrying?
Trolls have a way of stirring our fears about mean, nasty creatures who impede us from reaching our destination. But just like Bilbo Baggins, and the Billy Goats Gruff we don’t have to let them stop our journey.
Here are some ways to beat your worry about the trolls:
Know the basics Here is a link to TSA’s prohibited items. It’s on their website which means if it changes, you should be able to see the updates. There are also some things you can do ahead of time to make travel easier like wearing slippers, flip flops, loafers–anything you can slip on/off without messing with strings, snaps,or zippers. Travel in comfortable clothing without belts or heavy metals.
Try traveling during off-peak hours
If you have enough flexibility, traveling when others are less likely to be crowding you, is the gift that keeps on giving. Standing in a line of 3 or 4 people makes waiting feel like a breeze and cuts down on frustration. Travel is lighter in the mornings on Tuesday-Thursday and Saturdays. Holidays are not your friend for traveling, and it may worsen your belief that traveling is not worth the hassle.
Stay in the moment and look for the positive
Just like any line, it tends to move faster if you stay in the moment instead of letting impatience determine your mood. Leave yourself plenty of time before your flight so the fear of missing your plane can dissolve along with your stress. Look at the people around you and watch what is happening.
Oh, Look! There’s a person taking out their keys and putting it in a tray. Do I still have my keys in my pocket?
Do you remember troll dolls when you were growing up? How about reading about them in children’s stories or modern day adventures like, Harry Potter? Trolls serve a function. They are creatures who guard bridges. They are not inherently bad. They may be rude, demanding, and impatient but if you imagine them as mythological characters, it may lighten your mood and help ease the tension when they step forward and demand to know your name and your quest. And speaking of that…
Consider your quest
Probably the best method I’ve used for pushing past TSA worries, is looking past the troll security and and imagining the great beauty or loved one I will see once I’m past the bridge. You can always find beauty–even on a business trip.
I hope these tips help you push past your own anxiety and follow through with your personal quest. Mine is to follow through on my bucket list, so I can live before I die. I hope you choose to do the same. May you travel happily ever after.