Drinking Bourbon at 10:30am

10:30am and I’m already drinking a bourbon and coke.

Two sips in and I’m already considering a second, maybe even a third.

Bourbon usually comes at the end of the evening for me when I am in full fledged party mode and my senses have been lost.

Never the first drink , and never so early in the morning.

drinking bourbon on a flight

My cup of courage

I’m 30,000 feet above the earth flying to Bangkok, going through some of the worst turbulence I’ve ever experienced.

The only other time I’ve let drink become an antidote for fear was when I was kidnapped on a motorcycle in Indonesia. I returned home safely after spending hours thinking that death was to be my new home and immediately threw down a couple of straight vodkas.

I’ve written extensively before on my fear of flying. Taking off on this flight, I was much calmer than usual and thought I may have been venturing into the world where I don’t think twice about flying.

Just like I do when I get behind the wheel of the more dangerous car.

A little way into the flight my semi-calm state disappeared when we began to shake, rattle and drop, like the scariest roller coaster ride ever, but no matter how hard I tried I could not convince myself to throw my arms up on the air and squeal with delight.

My hands gripped my arm rest, my stomach sat up around my chest, my legs weakened with the hollow feeling of terror eating away at my strength.

The hostess arrived beside me with the drink cart and without thinking, I blurted “Bourbon and coke.”

Yes to the ice.

The man beside me ordered the same. So did the man in front.

Heavy drinkers or cowering in fear like I was?

I turned off Moneyball. Even Brad Pitt could not put me in a happy place.

Moneyball on Thai airways

Not even Brad can sedate me

Usually turbulence eases up for awhile. But for 15 minutes it relentlessly pursued our plane.

I groaned outward and willed myself not to stand up like a woman possessed and shout,

“Why the fuck do you not have the seat belt lights on? Why all the rattle and rolling? It’s a fine day. There’s no storms, no equators, no volcanic activity? DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING?

And then the ding dong of the seat belt light and the Captain’s announcement:

“We are entering into turbulence zone and have to suspend all service.”

What? Just entering it NOW!

The suffocating air swarmed around me.

“Breathe, breathe.”

Craig’s voice echoed in my head, just like it did when he was rubbing my back helping me to overcome my pain hysteria bringing Savannah into the world.

Just remember to breathe.

Long and steady.

A wave of calm entered my body.

Long and steady

It’s just a bumpy car ride, that is all.

Long and steady.

A plane can’t fall out of the sky from turbulence.

Long and steady.


The shaking soon stopped, my legs became solid again and the seat belt light came on.

What on earth am I doing still drinking bourbon at 11am?

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  • Marina

    Oh Caz – it really proves your love for travel is SO much bigger than your fear of flying – talk about facing your fears . . . .
    I don’t get to fly much, in fact my teenage daughter has had more flights than me!
    When she was about to embark on a flight to Sydney at age 11, with flight attendant supervision – I began to prepare her for anything she might encounter.
    What to do with tickets, How to get us if my mum wasn’t here to meet her, Weird people on the plane, she was flying Virgin so had some cash to buy something (and armed with what to say ya da ya da) – my main concern was if she hit turbulence. I wouldn’t be there to reassure her.
    So she was drilled with ‘oh turbulence is just going through bumpy clouds, like going on the dirt road in the Troopie, which can really throw you about. Just look out at the clouds – your not bumping into anything – you are OK’
    Well she hit turbulence, she ended up reassuring the two kids who were also travelling on their own – the flight attendant asked if she’d travelled before as she was so calm and confident lol! Now if there’s any mention of her flying – she approaches it with the anticipation of going on a school bus run!
    If I hit turbulence, I hope I have her next to me so she can laugh at how white my face has gone!
    Hope your next trip is smoother Caz and no need for bourbon at 10am – though there is something to be said for shaking up a routine!


    • Caz

      I need to fly with your daughter from now on!! I am much braver when the girls are with me, because I have to be. My next flight is an afternoon one so a more acceptable time for bourbon 🙂


  • Nate

    Hi Caz, not sure how I stumbled across this site, but hey, here I am!

    My GF is absolutely terrified of flying. As in, really, really scared. She has taken hundreds of flights, all around the world with me, and she was just as scared on the most recent flight, as on the first. Maybe even more scared.

    Your description of what you go through on the flight, is EXACTLY what I see in her.


    The funny thing is, her drink of choice, as fast as the flight attendant can deliver it?

    Bourbon and Coke.

    Preferably, two.

    I wish I knew of a solution to fear of flying, it makes life terribly uncomfortable for travellers!


    • Caz

      Hey! Glad you stumbled upon here Nate and that I am not the only one drinking bourbons to cover my fear. It is ridiculous. I can’t believe how I never feel that sort of angst when I get in any other vehicle, including sitting in the back of a dodgy pick up in Africa- not that should account for me skulling bourbon but it doesn’t seem to faze me.
      We’ve got a flight on Saturday, the knot is already in my stomach. I am just really glad we are catching a bus from LA to San Diego as to fly would mean going to the 20th most dangerous airport in the world. Now that would account for me having bourbon without the coke


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