advice from a weary road warrior

TSA baggage inspection
I absolutely love to travel. I come from a family of travelers. I’ve had the pleasure of cruising all around the country for almost 20 years. If I’m not out of town every 6 weeks or so, I get restless. Two months and I’m pacing.

II’d like to share with you some of what I’ve learned with you. I enjoy a very casual, relaxed traveling style that may not be your cup of tea. I’m not a tour, cruise ship, Vegas package plan kinda guy. I tend to wander, flaneur as they say.

I’m not a Big Chain Hotel fan. I’m not looking for some spa experience with room service and a big ass bed. In fact, I don’t leave town to stay in a hotel. I’m sleeping in a hotel because I’m not at home. In my bed.

I think travel is as much a state of mind as it is what state you’re in (double entendre intended).Good travel is more than expensive luggage and a ticket to a faraway place. You can have both and still have a miserable time. Many do.

To me a good trek is a qualitative experience. It’s about being a new place elegantly with a sense of joy and wonder. It isn’t about chalking up miles or bragging about the latest hotspot you frequented. At least not for me. What neighborhood did I discover and why did it appeal to me? What physical characteristic do I now associate with a place I’v been? Or maybe it was the weather or the landscaping or the signs I see. What do the locals eat? Farmer’s market, local microbreweries, city idiosyncracies?

la mordida: Always, always have small bills, ones and fives, handy. Call them tips, call them bribes, call it social lubrication. Relatively small amounts of cold hard cash have gotten me a ride in the rental car I just returned instead of waiting for the shuttle in order to make my plane. On another occasion cash got me the same car I owned, the same car the person at the desk told me was unavailable.

Never trust the time on a hotel room’s clock. Check and adjust it yourself. Pack a stamp in an enevelope; you may need to mail a letter on the road. Stores like Whole Foods are wonderful pitstops as are old school full-service delis. Somewhere between between picnicing and gourmet grazing.

Being relaxed before I even leave home has made for more relaxing travel. Not that I haven’t sprinted for planes before. Even missed a few. But a calm attitude when dealing with flight crews, front desk staff, and waitrons has gotten me further than a harried, late demeanor. YMMV

When done right, travel is magic.

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