In August, Travis Barker took a brave step by boarding his first flight since the deadly 2008 plane crash that left him severely burned. In a new interview with Nylon, the Blink-182 drummer opened up about the experience and credited his relationship with Kourtney Kardashian for giving him the courage to fly again.
“It’s still something very new to me, but having something that gives me the strength and hope to be able to overcome things that were so traumatic in my life, it just says a ton,” Barker said. “She’s definitely that for me. I’m invincible when I’m with her. It’s like I never dreamed, I never even considered flying again.”
Barker explained that his recent trip to Cabo with Kardashian was part of a pact he made with her. “I made a deal with her that she had just said to me, ‘I would love to do so much traveling with you. I want to go to Italy with you. I want to go to Cabo with you. I want to go to Paris with you. I want to go to Bora Bora with you,'” he recalled. “And I said, ‘Well, when the day comes you want to fly, I’m telling you I’ll do it with you. I would do anything with you. And just give me 24 hours’ notice.’ And that’s what she did.”
According to Nylon, Barker credited mindful breathing for helping him get comfortable during the night before the two-hour flight. The breathwork he actively practices allowed him to “go deeper” into his subconscious and relax.
The crash took place on September 19th, 2008 shortly after takeoff when the plane overran the runway and crashed into a fence. The plane’s two pilots and two of its four passengers were killed instantly. Only two people survived with critical injuries: DJ AM and Barker.
After suffering third and fourth degree burns on more than half of his body, Barker spent more than 11 weeks in a hospital. He underwent 26 surgeries and multiple skin grafts, eventually recovering from the physical injuries to return to playing music. However, he experienced PTSD from the crash for many years after.
“I was dark,” Barker told Men’s Health in May. “I couldn’t walk down the street. If I saw a plane [in the sky], I was determined it was going to crash, and I just didn’t want to see it.” He added that trying to grab his friends from the burning plane haunted him “for a long time.”
As a result, Barker chose to travel by bus to Blink-182’s touring engagements instead of flying in the decade plus afterward.
Finding love with Kardashian helped change all that. Five months after they started dating in late January, Barker tweeted about being open to flying again.
Six weeks later, he boarded his first flight to Mexico and he’s been spotted Italy and Paris since then.