Not about books: my travel routine

I travel a lot for work (and a little for fun), and in the two years I’ve been a #businesslady I’ve developed a pretty solid routine:

  1. Post a killer photo of the city on Instagram and see what random likes I get from local users and people who follow business travelers
  2. Come prepared every time with my superawesome necessities


While I’m certainly not the person to give hot tips on how to post on Instagram, I’m pretty proud of the “travel necessities” list I’ve cultivated.

All the yum yums: I get hungry a LOT. I’m a grazer and tend to eat a lot of small meals throughout the day, so needless to say I carry food with me at almost all times. I’ve started going to Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods before I travel so I can stock up on healthy snacks pre-airport, instead of relying on plane snacks and Hudson News bags of chips. My favorite plane snack/meal on long flights consists of cheese, grapes, meat (usually beef jerky, or prosciutto if I’m feeling fancy) and dark chocolate covered almonds.

Most importantly, I need to eat really soon after I wake up. While I can usually splash out on a nice work-sponsored breakfast, one usually has to look generally presentable for that, and I’m not about to put in my contacts any sooner than 30 minutes after waking up. So, on my last trip I finally hacked the best Breakfast #1 plan. In a strategy so simple I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before, I brought bags of oatmeal with me! Every hotel has a coffeemaker that makes hot water, and I just make the oatmeal in a coffee cup or mug and bring a spoon with me from home. If I’m feeling  very  ambitious I whip up a pro greens powder drink, which mixes a veggie probiotic powder with water and basically tastes like drinking grass, but you get to be smug for the rest of the day about it so that’s nice.

If I’m very lucky, I’m in DC and can eat my favorite-in-the-world avocado toast with whipped goat cheese. *drools*



Sleep Musts: One that is still evolving, but I’m slowly discovering how to sleep better in hotels. I tend to have some mild sleep anxiety, even at home, and do some failsafe tricks to sleep in strange beds:

  • Be a princess with the room request. It helps that I have status (#platinumlife baaaaby) but I’m VERY explicit when I check in and request a room as quiet as possible to hotel and street noise, throwing in I’m okay if the view is of a brick wall. My favorite is when I stay in a hotel enough times that I can say, “Give me any of the -14 rooms.” It makes me look super cool.
  • Noise machine! My boyfriend gifted me his noise machine and it’s been amazing. Yes, I know phones have the app, but I like that the noise machine can get really noisy. I use it at home, too, and it’s nice to have consistency. It’s also nice to be able to drown out rogue hallway noises. (My home is under a flight path to the airport, so I know that if this noise machine can cover the sound of a 747 directly overhead, it can handle hotel noises.)


Waltzing my way through security with too many bags: My final crucial tip revolves around how to brazen your way through airport security when you have the personality that tends to crumble before authority. My dirty secret is that sometimes (most of the time) I sneak three pieces of luggage to carry on to the plane: my overhead carry-on bag, a snazzy professional backpack, and a very thin purse. Blasphemy! You’re only meant to have two!

In my defense, the purse is really no bigger than a wallet and I carry it separately simply so I can access my phone and money more quickly than ripping my backpack off. But, it does give me a little thrill whenever authority figures let my rule-breaking slide.

And yes, a few times it hasn’t worked, and I’ve either gotten a stink-eye from a flight attendant or been stopped by TSA to put the purse into the backpack (all the while internally rolling my eyes and externally apologizing profusely to them). You know what does work, though? Casually draping a coat over the rogue third personal item. Works like a charm, every time. And you’re talking to the gal who once snuck two large fountain drinks into a movie theater under a very large fleece. Pure pro over here. You’re welcome for this, world.



2017 and 29

I’ve had some incredibly exciting starts to the past several years: In January 2009, I moved to London to study abroad; in January 2010, I was shaking myself alive from a NYE Times Square reverie and prepping for my final year of college; in January 2011 and January 2012, I traveled to Turkey; in January 2013, I jumped on a plane to Bangkok to spend the spring in Asia; and in January 2014, I met my gentleman caller (we just celebrated three years!).


However, once I settled in Boston in July 2013 – and especially starting mid-2015, when I found a lovely apartment that I refuse to ever leave and a wonderful job that continues to challenge me – I started to fall into a, how do you say, a rut. Especially when I just look at my life history from 2009-2014. When reflecting on my 2016 a few weeks ago, I realized that for the first time in over a decade, 2016 was the first year in which I didn’t move and/or get a new job.


I don’t necessarily need the big life changes or exciting passport stamps to prove to myself that my year is worthwhile; sometimes, internal changes are just as important. I’ve always appreciated that my birthday is relatively close to the start of the New Year – it means that New Year resolutions nicely align with my “new age” resolutions (although, to be VERY clear, I hate when people give me combo presents. “This is for Christmas AND your birthday!” Okay, you wouldn’t pull that shit if my birthday were in July, buddy). Since I’ll be ringing in the last year of my 20s next week, I figure it’s now or never to make those internal realignments to my mind, spirit, and relationships.

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So, some of my personal resolutions?

  • Keep in touch with my friends: It’s so easy in the Facebook age to assume I’m up-to-date on my friends’ lives. I’ve also been lucky that my work travels have taken me to cities where I’m able to visit with old friends. But, I want to be intentional about checking back in with friends. I love sending snail mail for no reason, so my goal is to send a couple of random postcards a month just to say hello, and occasionally even (GASP) pick up the phone and call someone just to catch up. 
  • Focus on wellness: I ain’t gettin’ any younger (see: birthday next week). While my eating and exercise habits have been better this year than ever before, I still know I could be doing better. I’ve also gotten more colds and other minor illnesses than I feel comfortable with (likely because I travel so often, my body gets worn down and exposed to other people’s grossness). So, I want to talk to someone about overall nutrition and wellness and establish a good plan for myself – even and especially when I’m traveling.
  • Charity: More than ever I want to turn my attention this year to local, state, and national causes that are under attack by an out-of-touch, misogynistic, narcissistic despot of a President. I have a lot of privilege, and I want to use it to shout as loudly as I can for my rights and the rights of others. Still contemplating how to get this done, but I’m excited to kick it off – and, more importantly, keep it GOING – at the Women’s March in Boston on January 21.

I have a few more on the work and finances front, but I think that’s a pretty good place to start. Book resolutions to follow! I can tell you one thing: this year, I’ll be focusing less on reading a LOT and instead read more deeply.


When You Need Trash Over Treasure

It finally happened: One of the most hotly anticipated books of the fall made its way off the library holds list and into my hot little hands:  The Underground Railroadby Colson Whitehead.

Everything I’ve heard about this book could not be more positive. Oprah picked it as one of her book club reads, it has 10k+ ratings on Goodreads and a 4.07 average, and I’ve been excited to read it for a while.

And yet… back to the library it goes, before I get the chance to crack the cover. WHY?!

A confluence of events, my friends.

  1. Timing. Isn’t it always the case that you’re the 200th person on a library hold list, and the book somehow comes in right before you go on vacation? And said book is a 7-day borrow, with the return date falling squarely in the middle of my vacation… unless I sped through the book in the three days before I left, I knew I wouldn’t be able to return it without a fine.
  2. How I feel about speeding through this book. Normally, I’m a pretty fast reader – on average I can get through a book in about 2-3 days, maybe only 1 day if I’m feeling literary. But even though I had enough time to read it before leaving  for vacation, I just really wasn’t in the mood when it came down to it. I’ve been battling an outer ear infection in both ears this week, leaving me exhausted and in pain as I settle down for bed; far better to distract me with Netflix and a dumb book I’ve read before. So, Chasing Life (to remind me my medical ailment is not all that bad) and Something Blue (because I secretly really like that book) have been my elixirs of choice instead of this one.


Sorry, Underground Railroad. I promise I’ll get to you someday.