Travel can be exciting and fun on a good day and travel can be an absolute soul sucking endeavor on a bad one. I am blessed to be able to travel when I want which is a game changer. I am not told which city I must trek to on what days, grrr, that must get very old! But even with the best mindset intentions, I have been witness to my other personality wanting to kidnap that little four year old sitting behind me...the one yelling at his sibling and using his tray (the back of my seat) as a jungle gym...and take him into the bathroom to duck tape him to the toilet seat. Yes, that happened from Brisbane to Perth, a quick little five hour flight. No, I unfortunately did not have any duct tape handy. TRAVEL CAN S-U-C-K.
However, along the way I have learned quite a few little tips that have absolutely saved my sanity, saved my wardrobe, and in the end, saved my marriage.
1) I am a pillow snob: I have spent too many sleepless nights with a foam pillow touching the ceiling, killing my neck and wrecking havoc on my beauty sleep. Therefore, I always bring my pillow. It is down, it is smashable, and it feels like home no matter where I am. It has been to Australia, New Zealand, Israel and India to name a few. I bring it everywhere, like Linus and his blankie. I should apply for frequent flier miles for my pillow.
2) Black is best: I like being prepared and the only way I can do it is if all of the pieces of my wardrobe can mix and match. Black, white, beige and denim. Not exciting but it works. You can bring a few fun and colorful scarves to brighten things up.
3) Cashmere is king: Cashmere is light weight, extremely warm and very snuggly. I bring a...wait for it...yes, black cashmere wrap everywhere, even in the summer. Air conditioning in hotel rooms and restaurants can be like an arctic blast and with a cashmere wrap I am never cold and shivering!
4) I should buy stock in tissue paper: My Grandmother Swaim taught me how to pack everything with tissue paper so that you avoid creases and wrinkles. It works and I go through a boat load of tissue paper through the year. Place the garment flat on the bed, face down, place a piece of tissue paper on top and then fold as usual. I use tissue to separate different topics of clothing (workout stuff from the dresses etc.). And always finish with a piece on top before strapping everything down.
5) BYOH: Bring your own hangers. There are NEVER ENOUGH BLOODY HANGERS in hotel rooms. Especially if there are two of you traveling. I get to a room and I unpack, everything. Hang up everything right away and you will never have wrinkle issues. Then when I leave, I ditch the wire dry cleaning hangers so that I don't have to cart them home, sorry house cleaning maids.
6) I breeze through security: Apply for TSA precheck, if you're not a "I don't want the government all up in my bizness" sort of person. It will save you tons of time and headaches. You can leave your shoes on, sweaters on, not have to take everything out of your bags...it is WORTH it. Go on line, apply and set an appointment.
7) Just in case: I carry extra zip lock bags, lavender and peppermint essential oils (I spent a month in India using peppermint essential oil to brush my teeth because the travel size toothpaste that I had never tried gave me canker sores!), band aids, tampons, a nail file, and miscellaneous over the counter stuff like cold medicine, advil, and advil pm. Just in case. I once got a migraine in Mexico and thought I would die, that was 28 years ago...never been without advil since...it is peace of mind if nothing else. In addition I have a little baggie of bobby pins, safety pins and collar stays. Tom always needs a collar stay. I once had to swipe one off of a shirt in Target because they didn't sell any...shh, between you and me!
8) Final tip: Lay everything out on the bed, if you are going on vacation then you can really edit down because you can always buy something if need be. If it is a convention, wedding or combination of events, try to be prepared. Shoes are the trickiest...they weight the most but I hate not having the right shoe. If I am packing for a big event then I will literally try every outfit on, with the correct undergarments, shoes and pick out jewelry and write it down so that I can just refer to the notes on the specific day.
9) Wear a smile: Even when you have that little screamer behind you, the TSA agent who is yelling in your ear, or the hotel agent who can't find your reservation...put on a smile and grin your way through it. Because when your head hits YOUR pillow after you've dabbed a little lavender on the soles of your feet...you will know that tomorrow is another day and your smile got you through today. And you've got a big, wide world that is awaiting your exploration!
I too have found myself in tears sitting on the bathroom floor. Full disclosure…it is a heated floor in my current home. But nevertheless, just like in “Eat Pray Love,” I think we all can relate to those moments when you wonder “how in the world can I get through this?” AND “why me???”
I recently was having a spirit fatigued day, feeling broken and small and I thought ”why me?” But then after sitting with it for some time I got to “why not me?” We all have challenges. Some small and some so flippin’ big you feel like your heart might simply break open. But like the poster above, I realized that over my almost 49 years, my track record of getting through challenges is pretty good. Be it divorce, death of friends and family, disabling health challenges where I barely left the house for a year, addiction and continuing recovery of friends and family, and financial struggles including having a car repo’d and living on grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup…a buffet of full-on CRAPPY days that sometimes lasted months.
And almost every time the mantra I muttered was “THIS TOO SHALL PASS.” It was the only thing that I could hold on to, to hope for. And it was true. Every time.
The beauty of living this full spectrum of life is that we get to experience ALL of it. We don’t get to choose just happy and easy, positive attitude aside. Noah Levine, a Buddhist practitioner says "Life is an internal journey of taking full responsibility for our own happiness and finding fulfillment through wise actions and compassionate engagement with the world as it is.” The three most important words in that statement are: AS IT IS. We get to choose AS IT IS or we can suffer. Boom. After choosing it, then we can figure out how to move through it.
We all have BLESSONS. My spell check is screaming at me! But no, that’s not a typo. A BLESSON is what happens when you see the blessing in the lesson that challenges you! So the next time you are suffering on the bathroom floor remember these three things:
This too shall pass.
What is the BLESSON in this?
What is my track record?
let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray. -Rumi
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