Laura Rennie

notes on traveling

Laura R.1 Comment
Number one: talk to strangers. Maybe you’ll wind up sitting next to a middle-aged woman who is on her way to Berkeley to film a cooking show. She looks and talks just like Catherine Keener, but she’s not Catherine Keener. She’ll tell you about her fiancé, who she knew in college and eventually reunited with after both of their first marriages ended. “He proposed on our second date,” she’ll say, laughing. You’ll talk about food and cooking shows and the Virgin Islands (because of course, her fiancé lives on a private island in the VI) and eventually you’ll stammer out that you just lost a baby and are on your would-be babymoon.

Maybe she’ll say, “We had one of those, too…a babymoon after losing a baby. We went to London.”
Maybe she’ll say, “It never stops hurting.”

And maybe, just maybe, when you turn back to your book or movie or whatever you were doing before, you’ll feel a bit goosebump-y, and you’ll think, we were meant to meet. 

bus stop snuggles
On a lighter note, two: treat yo self. I smiled over my new bag dozens of times during our flight to/from San Francisco, and right now anything that makes me smile is a winner. Extra points if your splurge can hold two books (this and this), a wallet, a makeup bag, a sweater, a BOX of tissues, a bottle of water, multiple receipts and random pieces of paper, several tea bags, a bag of nuts, a bag of chocolates and a full-size bag of white cheddar popcorn.

Three: do something relaxing and preferably non-tourist-y. I can’t recommend this one enough! Even doing something that you would normally do at home can be a refreshing change of pace, especially if you’re in a place that is often crowded with visitors. We've played mini-golf in Chicago, shopped at a farmers market in Waimea, Hawaii and taken in a movie at an independent theater in San Francisco. Some friends of ours say their favorite thing to do when they travel is to simply sit in a coffee shop and relish having alone time. (Can you tell they have kids?)

Four: set aside small amounts of time to be on your phone/laptop. Andy and I only took our phones out a few times each day during our trip in San Francisco, and we’d do so at the same time. We would spend anywhere from five to twenty minutes editing pics, scrolling through Twitter, checking emails, etc. I used my phone a lot for taking pictures and checking GPS, but I’d put it right back in my purse when I was done. We never made an agreement beforehand to do this…it just happened! It was brilliant, though. We both appreciated that the majority of our trip was spent giving one another our full attention.

Five: if you’re into lots of coffee and snacks, maybe stick to only two big meals a day. This has worked well for us both in Chicago and San Francisco. Otherwise, you won’t be hungry enough to enjoy multiple scoops of ice cream that you waited half an hour in line for, or a ginormous hot dog smothered in relish and hot peppers that called your name from a stand outside of a museum! And if you’re lucky, all the walking you do on your trip will make up for the constant eating. :)

For five MORE traveling tips, check out the guest post I wrote for my friend Amber’s blog back in April ’12. Apparently I cared just as much about relaxing back then as I do now!