Traveling Comforts

by Sonya Feher on March 23, 2011

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I’m learning how to give myself permission to want what I want. That means I’m teaching my son how to want what he wants too. I think often of a line from one of my favorite poems, “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver, in regards to this: “You only have to let the soft animal of your body/love what it loves.”

Last January, when we took a road trip to New Mexico, I acknowledged that taking a trip without my espresso machine made me kind of miserable. Every day at home, I have a latte. If I go on a trip without the machine, I have a caffeine headache, count the minutes (or hours) until I can get to a coffee shop to buy one, then spend $5 for a latte, another $2 for chocolate milk for Cavanaugh, and another $2 or so on a muffin, bagel, or pastry. By the time the trip is over, I could have paid for an extra bag or three with the money I’ve spent at coffee shops because I didn’t pack my espresso machine. Bad deal.

We usually fly on Southwest Airlines. Cavanaugh’s old enough that I’ve been buying him his own ticket for over three years. That means we get two bags each, plus SWA allows you to take the carseat for free. Why, exactly, have I been trying to pack so light?

So I don’t get teased about bringing everything but the kitchen sink? So I don’t inconvenience folks by asking them to come all the way into the airport to meet us at the baggage area rather than wait outside so they can drive up to the street? The people we’re going to visit aren’t likely to give me a hard time about what I packed. And so what if they do? Plus, they almost always come in to meet us even if I tell them we’ll make our own way outside.

As we were gathering things to pack for the trip, I remembered that last year I started taking my espresso machine on trips and felt such relief at the thought of packing it that I wondered what else would be really great to have with us.

  • My favorite pillow, a Tempur-Pedic, which gives me a great night’s sleep and means I don’t get the crick in my neck or other pain that sleeping in a strange bed often supplies.
  • My robe. Why hadn’t this ever occurred to me? It’s when I’m staying in other people’s houses that I feel uncomfortable going to breakfast in my pajamas without a bra on. Rather than needing to get dressed first thing, what if I just packed a robe?
  • A can of my favorite coffee to go with my espresso machine, plus Splenda packets (I know they’re probably carcinogens, but I like them, okay?) so I could make a latte without having to make a trip to the store our first day there.

And for Cavanaugh:

  • My favorite pillow happens to be his favorite too. I packed into into his carseat bag so it didn’t take up valuable suitcase space.
  • The stuffed animals he sleeps with. Okay, the three-foot long dolphin didn’t make the trip, but Pigeon, Shutterbug, and Courage are all world travelers now.
  • Enough LEGOs to build the way he would at home (his Atlantis book set so he can follow directions for a bunch of models and have enough pieces to build out of his imagination too), and Star Wars LEGOs, and his LEGO Club magazine to read on the plane.

You know what? One of our hosts came to meet us in baggage claim, helped to carry everything out, commented on how handy our carseat bag was, and everything fit into the car just fine. We’ve been here almost a week and we’re not missing home so much because we brought some of our favorite things with us.

What do you miss when you travel? What do give yourself permission to pack?

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Sonya Feher (28 Posts)

Sonya Fehér is mama to Cavanaugh True. She is the leader of the S. Austin chapter of API and is a professional organizer with spaceWise Organizing where she helps individuals and families create space for how they want to live.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Dena March 23, 2011 at 11:30 am

I have to travel for work and the only thing that I absolutely need to take with me is my 11 month old son. I wish I could always stay home with him, but for now, I need my job and that requires me to travel. So far, I have been able to take him on all my trips, but it’s hard on him and me.

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Jill March 24, 2011 at 5:02 am

My husband always states that we need a bigger car. We travel in the Ford Explorer. He packs 1 small bag and the kidds and I take up the rest of the car. I pack pillow pets, movies, blankets, a bag of toys, a blanket for me, my pillow, all the needed food items for my GF daughter. I am also very picky about what I put in my coffee so I bring my Coffee-Mate with me. We travel down to Arkansas a couple of times a month. All this along with the normal clothes, cloth diaper, laundry soap (incase we need to do washing), shoes, and anything else we might need for 2 or 3 days away from home….

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