The following is a collection of travel shenanigans, snippets of stories and lessons learnt through trial and error. This is also me playing catch up because I’m really bad at keeping this little travel bloglette endeavour up to date. So let’s begins with-
Lessons and Tips:
1. Packing! You know how they say pack your bag and then half it? You know how you kinda shuffle through that pile of clothing which is over flowing from your case- weighing this long sleeve top for that one- removing that fourth pair of pants and that one spare jacket- and you sit back and marvel at how daring you’re being for packing so lightly?
Just half it.
Goddammit- for the love of all things light and easy to zip- just half it– you’ll just end up wearing the same four outfits in different combinations, abusing that one skirt, and then buying a new favourite shirt.
My next trip will be different.
2. You know those stupid half circle pillows? The silly ones that look ridiculous and that I always roll my eyes at. I mean I have a jacket and scarf- I can Macgyver myself a pillow just fine thankyouverymuch.
They’re suddenly not so silly when you’re surrounded by peacefully sleeping dudes and dudettes rocking the travel pillow on a 12 hour flight.
Just bite the bullet and buy one of the stupid things. Swallow your pride and put away the scrunched up jacket.
3. Airport bathroom stalls and luggage. Your giant suitcase WILL fit into those tiny fucking stalls. It’s getting them out that’s the problem- but keep kicking and shoving and opening and closing the door and eventually someone will take pity on you and offer to pull from the other side.
4. Keep some spare clothes in your carry on! You never know when your bags are going to go walkabout or when you’re going to spill something all down your favourite top- and if you go on a flight that gives you one of those little toothpastes and brush kits? Keep it! Hoard those little useful tidbits like they’re gold because you will relish and praise your hoarding tendencies when you can look after yourself and feel human and freshen up when left with nothing but the bag on your back in a foreign city. Experience talking here- also pack a washer!
5. Swiss Army knife.
6. Walmart sells everything.
Except for guns, they don’t sell those anymore but for everything else you are golden!
I was sitting there thinking that to get a SIM card I was going to have to find a Horizon or AT&T outlet- maybe an apple store at a stretch but NOPE! Walmart! Seriously- 40 bucks for 30 days- unlimited texts, calls and data.
No but seriously- they sell everything. If you wanted too you’d never have to leave.
Make a note for future Zombie Apocalypse escape plans- might make a great home base.
7. Check your pockets before doing a load of laundry. Check. your .pockets. And while you’re at it check everyone else’s too if you’re sharing a load.
On the day my luggage went on its own trip, I found a stain on my new favourite captain America shirt and my heart broke a little bit as I sat there wracking my brain for what it could have been. It was something oily, dark and evil; that I was sure of. And then it struck me- I saw my friend going through the dry washing basket in my head- fishing out that little tube of chap stick- opening the lid and finding it empty and we both shrugged and kept sorting through the clothes and… And yeah, my poor clothes 😦 my poor favourite dress that I’ve had for six or seven years, my poor favourite skirt, my poor new horribly gloriously ugly supernatural shirt I bought in Vancouver. My poor poor core wardrobe items…)
Yeah so I’m heading to a dry cleaners as soon as I get to Vagas and hoping for a miracle.
… Can chap stick be removed?
Ah fuckit, lesson learnt.
Check your fucking pockets
8. And on a brighter note; backpacks are your friends.
You’d think I’d be saying this about wheely bags, but I promise you- when it comes to carry on luggage- go with a backpack and a purse/handbag combo.
Not only will you look traveler sheik, you’ll also get onto your packed plane sooner. Every time I’m boarding a flight, I’ve been one of the first on the plane after the VIPs/first class wankers (I only say that because I’m jealous) because I have a carry on that fits beneath the seat in front of me. Attendants make the call and I jump the line no matter if I’m seating at the front or the back of the plane.
It’s happened again and again here ( and BOY have I seen a bunch of planes this month!), my flights been completely booked, and those suitcases take up room and- lemme remind you- their really ain’t much room on a plane.
I’ve been watching people flight and race to find space for their cases in the overhead lockers every flight- and every flight the flight attendants have been asking people if they can check those bags instead- because surprise surprise- the can never fit them all- so!
Go with a soft bag that you can shove under the seat in front of you! You’ll be above to get all all your crap easily- and you generally get to sit down and set up before the madding crowd. It’s rad.
Backpacks are cool.
1. Let me take you back. All the way back to the last week of August. I was in Vancouver, the convention had finished, I’d left the Sheraton (where I’d been staying during the con) and had just spent one night at the 2400 motel with the crew of friends that I had roomed with in the Sheraton. They were leaving earlier then I was, so I had organised to stay with a second crew of friends that had also booked a room at the 2400, so on the second day I transferred rooms ( all the way across the parking lot- isn’t life hard?) and for a few hours I had a key to each room.
You can tell this is an import factoid can’t you?
I move my stuff- I head back to my first group of friends- say goodbye and thankyou, return their key and head back to my new room.
I put the key in the lock- twist- and it snaps completely in half.
I stand there for a few seconds looking at the stub of metal in my palm and have a moment of realisation- this was was the wrong key- this was also potentially a very expensive fuck up- and it was completely my fault. The length of the key is completely flush with the lock mechanism, I’d be impressed with how neatly this thing had broken if I wasn’t thinking about how much a new lock was going to cost me.
So with a deep breath, a calming uttered oath, I knock on the door and my roommates (thankfully inside and not locked outside with me) open to the door and I get too it. This is the part where I utilise and demonstrate the necessity of ‘Lesson 5’.
I love my swiss army knife to a likely unhealthy degree.
Also I can Macgyver myself out any situation.
These things might not be mutually exclusive.
So I crouch down- fire up the torch app on my phone, bite the corner of my phones rubber case so my phone is dangling in front of me, a makeshift miners light- and using a pair of tweezers and my trusty, fathifthul, amazing, stylish and beautiful Swiss farmy knife, I pry the broken remnants of what was once a key from the lock.
I fall back on my haunches, possibly shaking a slightly- mentally deleting the potential three digit fuck up fee from my head, and take a round of victory photos.
Now all I had to do was tell the motel clerk that I broke their key, and with a perfect rendition of ‘ I just dropped it- I don’t even know how it happened sir! I’m so sorry!’ I get off scot fee.
Yep. Refer and live by ‘Lesson 5’.
Catchup, stories, and snippets.
1. I’ve been drinking my tea black for the past month. This was partly because of necessity ( seriously what is wrong with NORMAL milk? This half and half shit is- in fact- shit, and I want none of it), and partially because on the few occasions I had access to normal, real, tasty milk, it just wasn’t the same or what I wanted and I ended up craving it black and strong and hot.
Not sure how I feel about this development.
2. Also there was a puppy on my flight ( I think between Boston and Dallas?)- I didn’t know that was allowed but ther ya go! I could hear this squeaking and I was so confused, it was just constant and I was looking around for the squeaky wheeled suitcase but Nope! It’s a puppy in a bag. Go figure.
3. My Graduation was on the 30th of August. The ceremony was in Brisbane and… Well, I was in Chicago.
In my defence we finished uni in JUNE. And i’d booked this trip A YEAR AGO- but anywho.
It was kind of bitter sweet, I witnessed the event gratuitously through text messages and snippets of video and photos. Seeing my mates in their robes and ridiculously pink slashes and silly hats, I felt a strange mixture of sadness, humour and relief because I do NOT wear hot pink.
But I sat in my room on the other sided of the world, and watched videos of my classmates running around in their robes, of them throwing their hats in the air, of them saying hello to me and being goofballs. I saw photos of how bored they were during the dress rehearsal, I smiled at how they had added my name to their copies of the graduating student list, and it was lovely and strange and I’m sorry I missed it.
And then my class went out and got drunk, because HELLO- graduation.
And amid bouts of radio silence and drunk texts:
And the next day my lectuerer confirmed it and- wow- awkward… When I asked what as said when I wasn’t there to get the award (and again- wow what.)– I was told that I was announced as currently texting a uni mate and ‘somewhere between Vancouver and Chicago’.
I still don’t know what to do with this fact.
4. Another uni/degree/career related thing happened while I was in Chicago! First some context- one of our last assignments was a live brief for a radio station. We had to come up with and pitch a poster campaign for a subscribe-a-thon.
Mine ended up being chosen. My illustration is currently on posters, postcards, radio time guides and newsletters for the station around Brisbane and it’s pretty cool. But what is even cooler is that another radio station saw my stuff, liked it, contacted the original station, got my details, and asked me to illustrate a cover for their station magazine.
So serendipitously, I had access to a cinque Wacom tablet, programs and internet thanks to the lovely mrs Ammo, and so I was able to draw this cover while abroad. Over the next week I tweaked it using my iPad and then my second tumblr pal- Jukeboxheads computer and the fact they came to ME with paid word was kinda fantastically awesomely rad.
Still a little bit chuffed.
5. I bought leather cowboy boots in Texas. This fact needs to be shared with everyone because BOOTS.
6. It came to my attention that I have a leather problem, because I also bought a proper leather jacket while in Vagas. This fact also Ned’s to be shared with everyone because LEATHER JACKET.
And number 7! I have two more posts in the works, one of which is for my trip in Baltimore- which chronologically I should have posted two posts ago after this list is published. I’m currently waiting for my second last flight while in the states- once I get to LA I’m jumping on a jumbo back to AUS- so my travel blogging endeavour’s timeline just turned red, and is currently flashing that me angrily because I’m- as always– a little be slack and a lot behind. So I’m posting this first because it’s completed and I enjoyed writing it- and hopefully over the 5 hour layover in LA, the one hour flight too LA, and my 14 hour flight back to Brisbane, I should be able to finish up this little mission, this TYOTC challenge, and tell you about my time in Baltimore and Las vagas and finally my thoughts on this whole trip- so I post this hoping I’ll be posting again soon- wish me luck! Send good vibes to my luggage!
They’re calling my flight!
So it begins!