A story about conquering fear and finding joy … A girl from country Queensland who found a way to see (and report on) trauma and horror, while still holding on to joy.
Lisa Millar has spent her whole life showing up, getting things done and making things happen. As a child growing up in country Queensland, she dreamed of a big life. Working as a foreign correspondent gave her that, but it also meant confronting the worst that humanity can bring. Three decades as a journalist witnessing tragedy had a cost. And an ever-escalating fear of flying threatened to rob her of her ability to work at all.
For that young girl from small-town Kilkivan, who had to push herself to keep going, push herself to conquer fear, push herself to tell important stories, finally came the realisation that sometimes all we really need is what we already have. And she shows us that we are all stronger and more resilient than we give ourselves credit for if we just dare to let ourselves fly.
Daring to Fly opens with a bang … literally. Right from the get-go we’re introduced to Millar’s family and their love of flying. ‘We spoke two languages in our family – English and aviation.’ For Millar, flying was the most natural way to get around, until 1993 when, as an ABC reporter, she was on a six-seater charter plane and one motor died, coinciding with a drop in altitude that left her with a fear of flying. After that she became ‘the Rain Man of plane crashes.’
Daring to Fly isn’t only about her fear of flying, but her search for joy. It is a fascinating read, charting Millar’s early life growing up in Queensland and her career in Australia and overseas. Central to the read is her exploration of fear and trauma and how it impacted her career as a journalist. Fear stalked her for years, not only from the incident on the plane, but from the many traumatic events she covered as a journalist. Particularly poignant was when she was sent to cover the execution of Australian drug trafficker Van Nguyen in Singapore. I, like many Australians, felt deep despair over his death. Reading about Millar’s experience bearing witness as a journalist, as well as the impact it had on her for years to come, is powerful indeed.
They say the pen is mightier than the sword and that’s certainly true in Daring to Fly. Lisa Millar has taken on some mighty demons to deliver an absorbing and inspiring read.