Lately I’ve been traveling a little more. It was Eastern Europe a few months ago. Jamaica last week for a radio broadcast trip. Spain next week.
Don’t get me wrong, I feel very fortunate to have these opportunities, but the actual physical act of getting to these places isn’t exactly my idea of a good time.
Traveling is fun — when you’re already at your destination.
I’ll admit, there’s something exciting and exotic about taking a train from Vienna to Budapest, but there’s nothing exotic about a cramped Airbus from Amsterdam to JFK. And there’s certainly nothing exotic about waiting an hour to get through security, before rewarding yourself with a craptacular $8 turkey sub from a kiosk.
I suppose if you can fly first class, sail through security, enjoy priority boarding and maybe even get access to some sort of sky lounge, then things might be different. But I don’t wipe my bottom with 50-dollar bills. Well, except for that one time, but that was a mistake.
So being the observant type, I got to thinking: How can I ease the stress of traveling? How I can metaphorically trim the fat when journeying? What methods have I seen others using?
As always, I have ideas.
Cut down on luggage. Luggage transportation is a major catalyst of stress when it comes to traveling. You’re constantly dealing with a bulky contraption. You must be vigilant. You risk tearing a labrum every time you put it in overhead storage. You wait at a carousel like a flock of sheep waiting for the slaughter. It could get lost. So forget the luggage. Wear everything you own. Layer up. Or conversely, wear only one outfit from now on. It works for Homer Simpson. I recommend something airy — like a fly tracksuit. Think Tony Soprano.
Emulate your elders. If you watch older people in airports (or really anywhere), you’ll notice that they just sort of bumble their way to the front of lines. There’s no concept of a priority line, or partitions. They just walk up to the desk and start talking. They “didn’t see a line.” TSA checkpoint? To them, that’s just a suggestion. You’re boarding Zone 1 only? They didn’t see the huge Zone 3 on their boarding pass. I recommend you do the same. You’ll get some belligerent stares and hecklers, but you can’t see or hear them — literally.
Airplane bottles. Fairly self-explanatory. These are like the only things you’re even allowed to bring on a plane anymore, which seems odd. I feel like I’m much more dangerous with 12 minibottles of Smirnoff than I am sober with a box cutter. Why are hijackers always using box cutters? I don’t even know where to get a box cutter. I’m really screwed if I ever need to open a large number of sealed boxes.
Compassion. Patience. Empathy. These are the best things you can take when traveling. We’re all just fellow travelers on this little spinning rock. Learn to help your fellow man. Learn that you and I have the same problems. Instead of pushing her aside, help that old lady get her bag down. Take a deep breath and learn to enjoy the sound of a screaming child. Realize that you can’t control events, you can only react. Don’t be the boulder that the rapids crash into — be the rapids. Flow around things.
And most importantly, you have … wait, excuse me, sir, I’m sorry but you’re in my seat. 37A? Yeah, that’s my seat. Well, let’s look at our boarding passes. OK, as you can see, you’re 36A. Just need you to move up one, no big deal. Well you don’t have to give me attitude about it. This was clearly your mistake and like all mistakes, it can be rectified. Excuse me? I will not “blow it out my ass.” Say one more word to me. I dare you. I will open the damn exit-row door and throw you off this plane faster than you can say brain contusion. The in-flight movie today will be Legends of the random guy Falls to his grisly death. I’ll send your ass to that big Delta SkyMall in the sky, bitch.
Now what was I saying?
Right, compassion. Let’s be the change we want to see in the world. We can all do better. S
Jack Lauterback also is co-host of “Mornings with Melissa and Jack” on 103.7 Play weekdays from 6-9. Connect with him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at jackgoesforth.