A few years back I went on the longest flight of my life – a 24 hour journey from Washington, D.C. to Chiang Mai, Thailand. The first leg of the flight was over 13 hours, something I was dreading. While it has taken me almost 4 years to be willing to even entertain the idea of another long-haul, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had originally imagined.
This January a very good friend and his husband went on a crazy long honeymoon, with a flight from San Francisco to Bangkok via Turkey. I put together a small long-haul survival kit for them with all things that have helped me in the past.
Wet Ones Wipes: Sanitize you body and seat area, especially tray tables (one of the germiest spots on the plane)
Emergen-C: Help your immune system fight off everyone else’s germs
Melatonin: Help your body rest and adapt to different time zones, take one tablet 15-20 minutes prior to sleep. Take it a few days at your destination an hour before bedtime.
Nuun Electrolyte Tablets: Your body also loses electrolytes in the air, replenish by popping one of these in a glass of water. (Also great when traveling a super hot locale like Thailand)
Benadryl: My go-to to help bring on some zzzzz.
Evian Facial Spray: Give your face some TLC.
Hand Lotion: More needed moisture
Lip Balm: Don’t forget your lips!
Colgate Wisp Toothbrushes: No toothpaste needed. Very handy for airplane bathrooms.
Shout Wipe & Go: In case of spills
Pen: Because you can never find one when you need it.
Pick up a big bottle of water once you’ve gone through security (hydration is key to help with jetlag) and don’t forget to pack some entertainment, an e-book reader, tablet, books, or maybe some cards to play with your traveling companion.
‘Experts’ say to change your watch to your destination’s time when boarding the plane and immediately adapt to that schedule. It’s good advice, but in reality, it doesn’t work for me. Maybe you’ll have better luck.
2016 was another terrific travel year, discovering four new states and two countries. Most of the year’s vacations were long weekends, visiting Charleston for a girls’ weekend, Chicago for a ballgame, Philly, Montreal, and a bitter cold weekend in the mountains of Maryland “Becoming and Outdoors Woman” in an unheated drafty cabin. The big trip of the year was France, where I found the people, despite the reputation, to be lovely. I fell in love with Paris and will be back for sure.
Fabulous lunch in Arles
Street cleaner, Arles
Brrrr! BOW weekend lodging
Eastern State Pen
Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, Montreal
Johnson Wax HQ
Saint Remy Market
Graffiti in Arles
In the heat of primary season
Charleston isn’t just for walking dogs.
Oh, well, okay, maybe a little bit, just a tiny bit.
I bought airline tickets to France two days before the attacks in Paris. My trip is less than a month way and the attacks on Brussels occur. My heart stopped a beat when I turned on the TV that morning. Are we nuts to go? Is this a much riskier trip? Is this an omen?
As the day went on I listened and read about the situation in Brussels; 4 days earlier the suspect in the Paris attacks was arrested, I read why Brussels is a hotbed for terrorism, how they don’t have the resources needed to track down the suspects. Brussels is not Paris. It’s not France. I learned a great deal and I ignored (or tried to ignore) the hateful talk coming out of the Presidential candidates.
I don’t believe building a wall around the U.S. will stop these attacks; I don’t believe changing what we call the terrorists will make a difference. Isolating a portion of the population will only serve to play into their hands. And, staying in my little cocoon in a safe town in rural Maryland isn’t going to stop them.
Living close to D.C. puts me in a target anytime I go, or when I visit my sister who lives a stone’s throw from the Pentagon. I don’t give it a second thought, and I doubt any of my friends and family would either. No one would blink an eye if I took a trip to New York City – the site of a massive terrorist attack.
So, I’m going. I’m not afraid. I’m concerned. I’m smart. If my time to go is when I’m sitting in a Parisian cafe drinking wine and eating fine cheese with good bread, that’s okay with me.
I will keep on traveling.
What is the opposite of a Bucket List? A “Hell, No” List?
There are not too many places I wouldn’t venture out to, given the funds and the right traveling companion. Scrolling through my twitter feed every morning I see photos and posts of lots of faraway, exotic locales, some/most elicit a positive reaction, others not so much, and then there are the oh, hell no locations.
Take the Mount Hua in China. It’s the world’s most dangerous hiking trail leading to a Tea House. Parts of the trail are simply planks of wood somehow attached to the side of the mountain with chains to hold on to – and it’s a two way path. What happens if you are halfway across and you become paralyzed in fear? It’s mindboggling. I really don’t like tea that much.*
Luckily the world is huge and there are plenty of safe, less adventurous places.
* I must admit I had to watch more than one YouTube video of hikers on the trail. It’s like a train wreck.
2015 was a good travel year, taking me through 14 states and one foreign country. Discovering things near and far, embracing the great outdoors, tasting many fine, and many not so fine, wines and exploring brew-pubs throughout the U.S (the big trend seems to be IPAs – not my fave). There were cultural experiences, such as the National Portrait Gallery, which I can’t believe I had never visited before, and on the opposite spectrum – South of the Border. I ate local delicacies, stone crab legs in Florida, BBQ in North Carolina, blue crabs in Maryland, and tried whale, puffin and reindeer in Iceland. I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings.
Evening bike tour in DC
South of the Border
Lebowski Bar, Reykjavik – sounds cheesy, but it’s not. If you are a fan of the movie, you must stop there.
At the harbor in Reykjavik
When in Florida, one must by citrus, lots and lots of citrus.
Naples Botanical Gardens
Wineries in the Finger Lakes
Geezers in Iceland
Snowflake Alley, Annapolis, MD
10,000 Islands Sea Shell tour
View of the Bay Bridge from Angel Island