The 2 Chicks have been on the road a lot this summer. So much joy, so much adventure, the occasional stress.
I’ve shared my favorite tips for experiencing local flavors and activities. Here’s another quick tip for life on the go that has saved me stress this summer.
And so, without further ado, here’s my fab tip:
Have a separate set of toiletries. And not just travel sizes.
Extra skin care, hair stuff, deodorant, makeup, brush, toothbrush, sunscreen…All. Of. It.
I actually discovered this hack during last school year. With all the stress and shuffling of schedules, I often went straight from the gym to work. My gym bag grew from just having a very basic set of skin care to the full assembly over time. All summer long, I’ve either taken my gym bag (with toiletries and my gym clothes / shoes packed), or grabbed the toiletries to put in a larger packed bag.
There’s nothing really magical about it, I guess. Still, it has saved me so much time in remembering all the odds and ends I need on every excursion and adventure this summer. If you don’t have any spares to start with, be on the lookout for coupons and deals. (Some might happen shortly when college students head back to school.) I also stockpile stuff from Clinique free gift offers.
Once you’ve got your set, you’re good to go!
Hope this helps at least some of you with that inevitable travel stress (or the pain of forgetting your toothbrush!)
I’m fortunate to have quite a few road excursions this summer. When I am out of town, I try my best to find and support local people and places. When I visit, these are some of the things I like to do that help me get to know a place.
1.) Start your day the local way
I’ve written about this before. Find a local coffee shop! Many have interesting traditions and can give you the “feel” of a particular community. If you prefer donuts for breakfast, hit the donut or bagel place, or have a full breakfast if you’re up for it. Yelp is my favorite app to use for local spots. I’m told google searches are more popular, but I’ve had better luck finding unusual and wonderful places with yelp.)
2.) Find a farmer’s market and / or grocery store
As a farmer myself, I love seeing what is in season. Maybe there are local specialties. On a recent trip to New York and Pennsylvania, I had my choice of both permanent farm stands with a variety of local products as well as an “every Thursday afternoon” market. I loved that I got to enjoy local strawberries in Pennsylvania, especially since the growing season for strawberries at home was already over. I also found locally made whoopie pies, pretzels, maple syrup, and other treats. Regional grocery stores can also give an interesting glimpse into different foods and traditions.
3.) Eat the local specialty
When my family took long road trips in my youth, my dad would hand me a book called Road Food, Good Food. Before google, yelp and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Jan and Michael Stern looked for local joints serving regional specialties. I was in charge of using the book, organized by state, and the atlas to find places that were at least sort of on the way to the destination. (But we have been known to drive hours out of the way for special types of pie, barbecue and more.) They now have a website that is still organized by state and will tell you the special dishes a place is known for and give you some small, independent spots to give that dish a try. This website is challenging to use, and reminds me of juggling the index of the atlas, map coordinates, and so on. But, it’s usually spot on with great little places and special foods.
Asking a local is another great way to find things. My aunt and uncle steered us to pink stripe cookies and Bison brand French onion dip in Western New York. Both were top notch!
Whatever you do, break out of the chains of chain restaurants and predictable average while you’re on the road! Experience new places in different ways.
“It’s okay to live a life others don’t understand.” -Jenna Woginrich
The older I get, the more that quote rings true. Today’s example: Time away from home. Vacation, business trip, whatever it is. Many use this as a break from their regular exercise routine. Not this girl.
With fitness, consistency is the name of my game. I rarely go a day without intentional exercise. Some might scoff at this. But, I know I am happiest when I get it done, first thing in the morning if possible. It improves my stress level and mental outlook immensely. Those things need to be on point whether I am home or not…(even vacation travel is stressful!)
How do I make this happen? First, I pack exercise shoes. For a recent road trip, I packed CrossFit shoes, running shoes, and hiking shoes. Second, plan for some equipment if possible. On this stretch, I knew I had several nights in hotels with fitness centers. I packed a 25# dumbbell for other days. That’s about all I needed. The rest could be improvised.
Fast forward to my first night on the road. Reliable Hampton Inn. Saturday morning. Up early for coffee and a quick sweat before my daughter’s lacrosse games.
Walk to the hotel fitness center only to find it is closed for COVID. But the sign on the door says we can get in to the LA Fitness next door. Score, since I have my swimsuit and need to train for a triathlon anyway. Until….LA Fitness doesn’t open until 8:00 am on Saturday and we need to leave for the field by 7:30. What to do…go back to bed? Pout? Nope. Open up the Compass trunk and grab a dumbbell, start a timer, and away I go.
Pulled up a “travel” workout from Street Parking that I hadn’t done before. Pushups on pavement or overgrown grass were a no go. So, elevated pushups against a light post would do. Goblet squats with the dumbbell and some taps against the curb. Got sweaty. Got my heart rate up. Did something. Forty-five minutes later, I am good. The next morning, another parking lot workout with hang power snatches and some air squats. Is it perfect? Nope. But I moved and made myself a priority. Mission accomplished.
The rest of the week was a hodge podge. 5 bike miles to a local coffee shop, then back. Kayaking, running, and a couple of actual hotel workouts with pretty nice equipment to boot. Moved every day and felt much better than I would have otherwise.
Would this work for everyone? Surely not. But making my health a daily priority through movement is one of the ways I honor and love myself. Although some in the hotel lobby or parking lot might raise an eyebrow when they see me, perhaps there are others who feel inspired or encouraged to do what others may not. No matter what, I’m doing what feels best in my own skin.
There are 24 hours in a day. We all get to use those 24 hours as we wish. Or depending on your age you may have some limitations.
What can you do in 24? How much fun can you pack into those hours? How much could you complete of anything? How much stress would you have? How much food? How much heartache? How many memories?
Each 24 hours is different for sure. Sometimes when I put my head down to rest at night I think did I really just do all that in 24 hours? Sometimes I even surprise myself. That’s the beauty of my life. Every day is a challenge. It’s up to me to overcome obstacles and make strides. Then rise again for the next 24 hour episode.
The current 24 hours is road tripping, rest, work, eat, plan, tennis, parent, grocery shopping, and a bunch of other mundane tasks. Some I like more than others but I’m going to add my twists and personal touches to the day to make it exciting. I will also have some first-time memories tucked in the hours.
My last 24 hours were memorable. Time with the mini. Time with friends. New sights. New adventures. New places to eat. So many memories. What I reflect on is that I changed my normal. I changed my scenery. I let go of the have tos and did the want tos.
I’m looking ahead to a week of work and have tos and saying I’m going to get all this done and more because at the end of the week I have a new 24-hour time with a different group of people. A different destination. A different kind of adventure. I already know there will be memories made. I already know it will be fun or I wouldn’t have said yes.
As I look back to think about 24 hours the week before I can truly say I had yet another experience in a different location with different people doing different activities and being equally happy. There is a common theme surfacing.
Take 24 hours a week and make them momentous. Change the scenery some way some how. Engage in activities that are fresh and new or repackaged for a different outcome. Visit with others. Some may have you giggle one way while others make your belly hurt you laugh so hard.
Take the walk with a friend. Whisper to your confidant. Jot down the memories in a journal. Smile a lot. Tell somebody how much they are valued and/or loved. Cherish the memories today as they may not be available tomorrow.
Life is precious. Time matters. You are important. Living my best life while avoiding anything and everything (including people) who want to snatch the life out of you. My 24 hours of happy time has no room for sour attitudes.
A quick trip to the beach was on the radar for this girl. Not a long stay by any means, but an escape. A quick change of scenery.
A little salt in the air. Sunshine on the skin and sand in the toes. There is no better medicine. From the sound of the ocean to smell of the air to the beach vibe of the people. It all equates to relaxation.
In order to feel beachy, you need great accommodations. We found just the right place. This trip featured a cute little 2 bedroom house found on Airbnb. Definitely old fashioned by the exterior look and the bathroom’s dated tile but a lipstick renovation had been recently completed mixing the new with the old. It was perfect for our little stay.
Some of my favorite features were visible instantly. The location to the beach. The simple and quiet street. The two beach bikes sitting on the porch screaming ride me! The screened porch with comfy furnishings. These favorites will be memory makers without question.
I mean as soon as we pulled up two travelers eyed the bikes and went for a ride. I could hear the giggles as they navigated their way down the street in the night with a cellular flash light.
Then there were the bedtime giggles. These started after the claiming of beds, of course. The trouble makers were clearly together instigating giggles. The giggles and snorts went on and on. Then they stopped. Then they started again. The silence of the night crept in after the sounds of excitement. Finally. I believe everyone realized tomorrow will bring new adventures. Rest those weary eyes I said to myself.
Rest now. Play later. Now I will go dream about living my best beach life while I’m visiting this beautiful area with family and friends.
It’s always a peaceful place. The sounds, the imagery, the smells. The beach can easily be a reset button for the toughest of weeks or days prior.