Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Keep Those Doggies Rollin'

During the first five days of my book tour (in the next installment of Traveling Laughs, I'll report on leg two---oh BOY!) I logged five book tour presentations (I usually talk for about an hour, then sign books); 1266 miles on both my car's odometer and my aching backside; four different hotels (the first night was a local event, after which I slept in my own bed); two rounds of cold leftover chili for breakfast (but I LIKE it!); three skipped meals; a teensy slice of the best pecan pie I've ever tasted (thank you, Mt. Zion Road Baptist Church in Centralia!); gallons of iced tea (eyes OPEN!); dozens of glorious moments; two gasping near-miss auto accidents; and countless other graces and irritations.

I also logged a Terribly Helpful Hint: do not, in an attempt to relax, take the back roads when you're in Farm Country, it's harvest season and the price of corn is high. (Can you say, TRUCKS FULL OF CORN BARRELING 110 MILES PER HOUR STRAIGHT AT YOU AND BEHIND YOU! (?)

At the end of my first 1266 miles, at 9 PM I pulled into my garage, turned off my travelmobile and uttered a prayer of thanksgiving that I'd made it home after driving five straight too-tired hours. But the simultaneous rub: Instantly—as in while I was sending up a Thank You--I realized that journeying home just to sleep in my own bed for a single night was a mistake.

Here's the thing about road warrioring: When you're out there, and, to your sublime satisfaction, you discover you're traveling with everything you need, that's the time to just keep going. No more double and quadruple checking to see if you remembered to stick your full itinerary back in the bag. No stopping to, once again, have to buy a teensy toothpaste (if you're flying), a sassy missing blush (if you're a woman), or phone the office for the info you left on your desk. No, miracle of miracles, you've got it ALL, so press on until you can stop.

I realize this "keep on keepin' on" strategy might not apply to those of you still raising munchkins since, well, sometimes you've just got to give them a hug or take in their latest theatrical adventure or sporting event. And I'm sure my "stay away from home" theory will ring dumb if you're inclined to homesickness. But as for this travelin' Grannie B, my kids are long gone and my retired husband does a great job holding down the fort and relaying messages, so trust me on this: we're BOTH better off when I can keep my stress levels at a minimum, so when I'm in the midst of a traveling roll, that is where I need to stay until it's over.


*Once you carry anything into your house, such as a suitcase, giant handbag or briefcase, you'll quickly pick it apart and therefore will no longer know if you still have everything you need.

*When you first leave your home, if you're like me, you're running late, so you'll also leave a wad of chaos behind. Dipping into that chaos for a night will feel depressing, which is what you don't want to feel since you still have so many more miles to go.

*Stockpiled phone messages and mail -- especially those luring travel accessory catalogs that promise to organize your every shirt and undershorts -- will distract you from the task at hand, which is SLEEP.

*Odds are that nearly all hotel beds are just as comfortable, if not more so, than your own bed, so why not just stay at that last place with all the fluffy pillows and cloud-soft comforters another night and spare yourself an extra dose of dragging your stuff on and off, in and out of cars and airplanes?

*If you're traveling on your own dime (and even if you're not), it's likely cheaper to stay an extra night, then go straight to your next stop, rather than to travel home and fly or drive out again.

*It's dumb to drive when you're too tired, and flying when you're worn out often incites the desire to smack the snot out of anyone who gets in your face.

In conclusion, this all sounds wonderful in theory. In reality, thinking you can actually get a good night's sleep in a hotel room (DING! BUZZ! SLAM!) is often delusional.

Therefore, in a new conclusion, I herewith suggest to you that the only way to survive extra long trips is to get Real Delusional with yourself and stay that way.


Anonymous said...

"In reality, thinking you can actually get a good night's sleep in a hotel room (DING! BUZZ! SLAM!) is often delusional."

Oh so true - how this industry survives in beyond me when every room door self-slams with such might that the walls shake within a 6 room radius. Why, why, why?

Charlene Ann Baumbich said...

I once inquired about that (Why, why, why?) right here in a previous blog post, but no responses. I just don't get it either. Fire codes, maybe? Security? I'd like to at least understand (HA!) why they intentionally set them up that way. Any hoteliers out there? HELP US LOVE YOU!

As for fellow travelers, why do YOU let them slam? Should we chalk the behavior up under "Those Who Don't Know Better?!"

I'll admit, even *I* occasionally and quite accidentally cause one to slam when it careens off a suitcase, but other than that, for this very reason I try to be gentle during entries and exits, even during mid day, since lots of times, we're trying to catch an hour of sleep anytime/where we can.