It’s May. But what the hell happened to April? Last month was such a wash. Hopping between cities week to week. Long drives outnumbering short flights. I’ve always loved travel. I’ve always striven to conquer traveling for work. (Not everyone gets to do it because not everyone can do it well.) But once you get out of the dream of traveling to and from tech in the Bay, entertainment in LA, whatever else in New York, and conferences in Vegas, the glamour of traveling for work ebbs a little. Nowadays I’m more impressed by people who bounce between non-hot spots than I am by people who drop in and out of metropolitan cities, what with their at-the-ready amenities and, you know, general presence of taxis.
You’re assigned to do a lot of unsexy traveling. You are aware of your own snobbery (Ask me about what I think when served butternut squash soup without crème fraîche.), but are determined to succeed whether surrounded by strip malls or farmland. What do you take with you?
I’ve figured out a great deal of it, my friends. Here’s the:
Day Trippin’ Survival Kit.
- Wheelie Bag – Every day my coworkers ask me “How was the flight?” when I “arrive” and wish me safe travels on the way out. I bought this wheelie bag because I resigned myself to the poor state of my back when I am stressed. Then in came the frequent short trips, and whaddya know? My Crumpler Dry No. 09 is perfect not only for my laptop and accessories, but also for my toiletry caddy, an extra pair of shoes, pajamas, and whatever else goes into an efficient overnight stay. It even serves as my footrest before boarding my flights, in which it fits perfectly underneath the seat in front of me. If I had to do it again, I’d instead get the Dry Red No. 3 – slightly smaller, less “I’m a nerd, kick me.”
- Beef Jerky – SNACKS. Traveling from non-food mecca to non-food mecca, I’ve never so heavily valued snacks. “What? You don’t have a juice bar in this town?* Just Odwalla? I DON’T CARE ABOUT THAT ’96 E.COLI OUTBREAK OR ALL THAT ADDED SUGAR, GIVE IT TO ME.” Trader Joe’s trail mixes are good (They even come in snack-sized bags.), but Perky Jerky guarantees true satisfaction. I recently tried the Sweet and Spicy mixes in both beef and turkey, straight from the folks at PJ. Highly recommend the beef. The kick of the spicy marinade wakes me up just a bit, which is great when I’m trying to stave off hunger while also trying to come off as pleasant and amenable with new business partners. Hangry no more! It’s an added perk (Hah.) that Perky Jerky’s formula uses no MSG, nitrites, or preservatives. Living in a household that tries desperately to run as far away from Monsanto as it possibly can, this just slightly relieves the guilt that I graze like a goat. Slightly.
- Mystery Novel – Doing a lot of field work takes a unique kind of motivation. You have to be hungry to go some place new and figure it out. Following Robert Galbraith/J. K. Rowlings’ Cormoran Strike and Marissa Peshl’s Scott McGrath around made me feel like, “Yeah! I’m a sleuth! Just gotta figure out who the movers and shakers are in this town, and I’m on track! But first! A soy chai latte since I’m not into downing pints of beer or glasses of whiskey!” Absorbing facts is fun. Pretending you’re a spy makes it funner.
*Full Disclosure: I’ve never done a juice cleanse, but for some reason, when I traveled in the past, I felt compelled to order pseudo-cleanse-y things, like green juices. And then I would just pray that I wouldn’t have one of those reactions on the plane.