This week’s post is a quick interruption in the current series. We’ve been on the move so much that our writing time has been a struggle to find.
There are a number of things we do and carry with us when we travel to give us a sense of continuity, of familiarity, in what can often be strange. Travel is fun and exciting but even great experiences are stressful and (eventually) exhausting. If you only take a trip or two a year, this may be less obvious; we realistically are going somewhere (near or far) almost monthly.
Before we left the US, we picked up a couple of portable valet trays. They are reinforced fabric squares with snaps in each corner to convert them from flat to tray. When we’re home, one sits next to John’s side of the bed and the other out in our entryway. While traveling, we bring one and set it up in a central spot in our room. Home or away, it’s the spot for keys, change, and any small items that make their way into pockets for short periods of time.
We also have a couple of containers we use to corral the items we need over and over again. You know, charging cords, plug adapters, cables to play movies on the hotel TV from our laptops, our portable speaker . . . things like that. For us, this is a zippered folder to corral cords and adapters, a hard-sided case for slightly more delicate electronics, and a largish, zippered pouch for power cords. Using the same organizers with each trip saves us time and the frustration of “where did I put . . .?” They tuck easily into out backpacks or suitcases and take up very little space. Since we started using them, we don’t waste time rooting around in suitcase pockets looking for any of these things.
Did you wonder about the portable speaker? If we stay in a place for a long time, we love listening to music in the evening. More vitally, we play white noise to help us sleep. It’s not perfect, but serves to mask a lot of road noise, interruptions from neighbors, or even that bar down the street. Lisa actually bought one originally (we’re on our second one) for John just to use in the shower per his request; as we started to travel more, we realized that it was the perfectly sized solution.
Finally, we picked up a habit from a long-ago hotel housekeeper: we use one of the washcloths to anchor bathroom geegaws and use one of the room’s glasses to hold our toothbrushes and paste. (Lisa has no idea why toothbrush holders aren’t standard in hotel rooms.) All the things you use daily are laid out, tidily, and protected from any weird microbes on the counter itself. No need to keep everything in your toiletry organizer or cosmetics bag. (The hotel we’re staying at doesn’t offer mugs [Lisa’s preferred holder] and the glasses — seen in the back of the image — are very short. We improvised with the paper cups offered and they turned out to be quite stable.)
It doesn’t take much to make the continually new places feel a little more like home. When we take that time, we can offer ourselves a greater sense of ease and calm in the places we often spend a lot of time when we travel.
Since we’re always refining these ideas, we are well aware that we haven’t got “the perfect” answers. SOoooo… what are some of yours?