Ginger Ale, Outlets, and Crying: Our Travel Rituals in Roundtable Form

Kate, Contributing Editor

I am not exactly what you’d call a frequent traveler because I do not have the greenbacks for it. I have only been to two different places that required a plane — A-Camp and Ireland — and both times I was flying Air Klonopin, so I couldn’t tell you what ritualistic things I did besides pray for my life and throw up into a ziploc bag (which the passenger next to me gave to a flight attendant because I’d fallen asleep with it full on my lap). However, I consider myself to be the Crown Prince of Megabus & Bolt Bus, and I will tell you everything I know about traveling by bus between Philadelphia, New York, and Albany.

I have actually made the full conversion from Bolt to Megabus. I firmly believe that more genuinely irritating and rude people ride on the Bolt Bus because their website is more aesthetically pleasing. I think you are promised a better experience on a bus if the website looks like it was designed in 2002 and has a rotund glossy pegman as its mascot. It takes a nice 45 year old lady who will stay on her side of the seat and politely eat a bland snack at the very beginning of the ride to book with a site like that. Bolt Bus, on the contrary, seems to be for last minute college students who show up hungover and unwilling to move over slightly, forcing half of your body to exist in the aisle while some white boy from the Boston suburbs plays Mac Miller during his nap. I am 99% sure that there was one time I was the only non-Drexel student on a bus from Philly to New York, and it took everything in my little body not to murder someone. The buses aren’t in great shape, the stupid gigantic Bolt Bus sticker is covering the entire surface of the vehicle and thus making it impossible to look out the windows, and your seatmate is a guaranteed asshole.

Bolt Bus riders, I want you to internalize something once and for all: There is no queue. Why people form a goddamned queue is beyond me, and only attests to the human instinct to make other people feel inferior. If a queue forms at any time, I blatantly stand outside of the queue as close to the bus as possible. Sometimes I throw exasperated stares at whatever person is organizing the queue and making a big deal about it. You received an assigned order for boarding ahead of time which makes you standing in line completely pointless. Sorry for dropping this truth bomb, but I’m serious, it has to stop. You are making the old lady who got here late and is forced to stand at the end of the line feel really bad, even though she is in the first boarding group and should actually feel great about herself.

Enough about how much I hate Bolt Bus these days, though. Megabus trips are full of tiny little important rituals. I always pack my own snacks because buying a snack on my stop in New York seems the equivalent of buying a car or a bag of diamonds. This usually means cashews or almonds or something else that will make me look a little weird and intimidating when I eat it. I also carry my phone charger in my hand because I am that asshole who marches straight  to the second floor back row and uses the one plug that hangs from the ceiling. Because if your bus doesn’t have working chargers, then that is the only game in town, and I, like a true Lannister, believe strongly in controlling access to whatever is the most valuable item in the bus. In all honesty, my phone is usually already charged because I can sniff out an electric socket in a public place like I’ve been trained since birth for that explicit purpose, but it’s good to know that if I need it, it’s right there, and I will only look a little stupid to have a USB cable dangling in front of my face for the whole ride.

Be prepared for whatever horrible weather will inevitably be taking place the day you are waiting for your bus. Everyone who has waited for a bus outside 30th Street Station knows that if it isn’t oppressively hot and humid and smelling of garbage, it’s because there is a torrential downpour, violent wind, or a criminal emergency. Know in advance how fast you can run from one crowded block in Midtown Manhattan to another, and whether you can do so with a rolling suitcase and a full backpack. Accept that if you want to poop on the bus, there will not be toilet paper . And then you will be truly ready for bus travel.


Mey, Contributing Editor

I filled this entire suitcase with clothes for a two day trip to New York. You can see a floral hat that I didn't wear at all, but I did actually read that book!

I filled this entire suitcase with clothes for just a two day trip to New York. You can also see a floral beanie that I didn’t wear at all (and didn’t really plan on wearing), but I did actually read that book! Also, I packed three purses.

I’m weird about the way I travel. Like, really weird. Partially because I’m a very weird person, and partially because I’m afraid of several common ways of traveling.

Probably the only travel tradition I have that is just straight up practical and isn’t rooted in tradition or superstition or eccentricity is that I always make sure I wear a dress or shorts or pants or a jacket that has pockets. Like, in my daily life, I wear dresses 90% of the time, but when I’m traveling, I want to make sure that I’m able to carry my phone, wallet and a few other things as close to myself as possible. When I get to my destination, though, it’s back to choosing fashion over function.

Packing is where I first start to show my weird colors. I always make sure to pack two books (that I don’t plan on reading) and a cute hat (that I don’t plan on wearing) because I feel like those are good things to pack and I’m afraid that someone will look through my luggage and judge me. I also always pack way more clothes than days I’ll be gone because I’m constantly afraid that I’ll stain the clothes I’m wearing. I also pack way more jewelry than I’ll need, but that’s just because I like having options.

I also carry in my pockets several Catholic tokens for protection. These include St. Joan of Arc and Our Lady of Guadalupe saint’s medals and a Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. I’m pretty much cripplingly afraid of air travel, I’m pretty afraid of being on mountain roads and, as a trans woman, I’m afraid of going through airport security and having to use bathrooms at small town Red State rest stops. I’m also fairly superstitious about specific things and I was raised Catholic, so having these in my pockets where I can reach them brings me a lot of comfort.

The other thing thing that I do before I actually leave is take a selfie. I’m a big proponent of selfies, especially for people who usually get erased by visual media, like queer people, people of color, women, fat people and people with disabilities. Putting out celebratory pictures of ourselves is a radical act and makes it so the world cannot ignore us or forget we exist. I also just like getting dressed up and taking pictures of myself. Anyway, I like to take a selfie before I travel because it’s sort of a last thing I can do that I’m in total control of before I’m about to give up control of my life as I let someone else drive or pilot the vehicle I’m in.

Another notable thing about my travel routine is that when I have to fly, I usually end up crying. I’m afraid of both flying in airplanes and of heights, so the fact that airplanes fly so high up in the air really messes me up. It’s also unfairly stressful to go through airport security as a trans person (I’ve been repeatedly misgendered and had TSA agents read my birth name off my ID, look at me, and shout my birth name at me, asking why that’s my name.) Once I get past security, I try to calm myself by listening to podcasts featuring the actresses and comedians Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham, because first of all, they’re hilarious, and second of all, I find Jessica St. Clair’s voice to be extremely comforting. You know how people are always going on about how great Morgan Freeman’s voice is? That’s what her voice is for me. While this is usually able to calm me down a little, I like to get to airports with enough time that I’ll have at least an hour after I get through security before my flight takes off. Sometimes it’s several hours. So these podcasts work for a while, but my anxiety slowly builds until I cry at the least and have a full-on panic attack in the bathroom (this has happened twice in the past year and half) at the most. I already cry pretty often, but crying in public is a different kind of monster. Since I usually fly alone these days, it can be pretty embarrassing. So I have to prepare for this. Back in April, the comedian Chris Gethard released his first comedy album, and included on it a song that he wrote and sings with musician, awesome person and A-Camp talent Mal Blum called “Crying at the Wawa.” This song is about crying at Philadelphia-area convenience stores and how crying in public is nothing to be ashamed of at all. So, when I’m not listening to the dulcet tones of St. Clair and Parham, you can be sure that I’m listening to Mal Blum and Chris Gethard sing “Cry at home, cry at school, crying’s not just okay, crying’s cool” on repeat.

Then, when it’s time to actually fly, I have to get my body ready. I take some Dramamine and then have several Wint-o-green Lifesavers in my pocket for the flight. Those always distract me and calm my stomach, so they’re much needed when there’s turbulence and during takeoffs and landings. I also completely turn my iPhone off for the whole flight. There’s no such thing as Airplane Mode in my mind. Lastly, I always drink a ginger ale on the flight, partially because it also calms my stomach, partially because I feel like it’s a sentimental drink, and that makes me feel better about my situation.

Now, if I’m going on a road trip, things are different. There I’m comfortable (but probably because I don’t have a driver’s license so I’m able to stay pretty stress-free). My first step is making a playlist on my iPod. These playlists need to have a good mix of classic songs from throughout my friendship with whomever I’m traveling with, new songs that are some of my favorites, but that my friends might not know, and songs that are topical to the trip. This could be songs about whatever city we’re traveling to, songs about the places we’ll be traveling through, or just songs about driving. I also make sure we have great snacks for the trip. As a kid, my dad would always make Gorp (which is a kind of trail mix) because he’s a hippie and a hiker, so I like to have that to make me feel young again. Other classics that I usually bring are granola bars, apples, sour gummy worms and popcorn. I also like to bring some Powerade, because electrolytes.

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Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 921 articles for us.

52 Comments

  1. Oh, but there is this one thing: tomato juice. With ice, obviously. Every time. Never on land, always in the sky. It’s practically food!

    Same here! I just ordered it the first time I flew and then every flight ever since. I don’t think I have even tried tomato juice on land. I don’t know, it helps against that weird airplane feeling or something…

  2. My air travel ritual these days seems to be to stress out over what I’m going to do on the plane for fourteen hours, then getting on the plane, taking an Ativan, and passing out for fourteen hours.

  3. Packing is always an issue for me. No matter how many times I check my bag, I’m not satisfied that I have remembered everything. I probably check that my passport hasn’t magically dissolved into thin air a few dozen times per journey.

    I fly a lot (working abroad + transatlantic relationship) but really don’t like air travel because I hate going through airports and no matter how much time I allow, I always feel rushed and panicky and generally anxious. If at all possible, I take the train. My most recent train journey was a 13-hour overnight from northern Spain to Lisbon. My friends mostly reacted with “OMG so long why not flying” but it was completely fine – a few hours of reading time and pretty scenery, then train napping! Way less awkward and uncomfortable than flying.

  4. Yay, I love to hear how other people deal with this super-stressful thing! My partner is a kiwi and we have spent the last three Canadian winters/New Zealand summers in New Zealand. Not exactly as dreamy as it sounds since we are always almost broke, and I am a super anxious traveler and have chronic pain that makes everything that’s already stressful worse.

    I basically make the planning part a bit of an obsession, as in we have like four months before we leave and I have a packing list (actually, it is an packing app that I totally love for the mostly false sense of control it gives me).

    Probably the most important travel accessory for me, which I don’t think anyone mentioned, is a travel pillow of some sort! I cried on the way to the airport last time because I forgot my travel pillow (can be used soooo many ways – back support, neck support, a way to lean against the evil permanent armrest, or, my fave – sleep on the fold-out tray on top of sweater and pillow. Anything to avoid being awake for 36 hours). But I managed to buy one at the air port for twice the price and it has spaceships on it.

  5. TRANSIT TRANCE. This is exactly my life. I fell asleep on a 15-minute bus once. In planes, I’m usually out before takeoff. And I’m the worst passenger seat buddy for road trips because I will sleep the whole time and the driver will have nobody to talk to and won’t play loud music and therefore has a hard time staying awake.

  6. In the last two years I’ve been traveling more and so I have a lot of similar rituals.I clean my entire apartment and buy things you should have in your fridge that aren’t craft beer and chips so the dog sitter feels welcome and also on the off chance I die in transit and my family has to visit my apartment.I traditionally shop for new shirts before I leave town so packing is often done a week in advance, but sometimes I dance around my suitcase making decisions at 2am the day I leave, because I am just too nervous and excited. I make at least 3 playlists,2 upbeat for airport lounging, and 1 slow jam just in case there is turbulence. Sade is good for turbulence. I also usually try to buy a copy of Garden & Gun,Rolling Stone and The Economist before I take off so I have plenty of things to keep me alert. After becoming an inflight babysitter on my last trip to ACamp I have also added a Lisa Frank coloring book and glitter pens to my carry on. Just in case I am consulted on the theme of a chatty 8 year old’s next birthday party. I usually take morning flights so the novelty of being able to have a beer with my breakfast @ 6am is marvelous. For about a year I took the Megabus to Chicago like 10 times. My notebook and fancy pen and my flask made that more pleasant.

    • I love this idea! I often find myself befriending children and letting them draw in my journal with a ballpoint pen or play with my keys. It would be so much better to have a box of crayons with me!

  7. My packing ritual tends to involve trying on every article of clothing I own to make sure that my favorite t-shirt is still indeed my favorite t-shirt because YOU NEVER KNOW. Also I will never not be cold on airplanes, so I layer like a bamf, regardless of how hot my destination is. And I pack my own food, because binging on overpriced airport snack food to kill time only ends in regret.

  8. Dang, Riese! Aside from the tomato juice and crosswords, but especially because of packing paralysis, despising plane smells, obsessively tracking the flight progress, being physically incapable of re-wearing plane clothes (WHO ARE THE MONSTERS WHO RECOMMEND WEARING A SUIT ON A PLANE SO THAT IT WON’T WRINKLE IN A SUITCASE, AND WHY DON’T THEY KNOW THEY’RE REVOLTING?), and frequent, crippling decision fatigue, we are totally travel twins. High five!

  9. I hope I sit behind you on every flight ever, Riese! I share your belief in reclining karma and never recline myself because humanity and courtesy. (Though I find myself struggling to remember the humanity of any passenger in front of me who reclines deep/early. And my knees may make that frustration and anger known on the back of their seat.)

    I also have an extreme aversion to gum, so that can make breathing airplane air really gross sometimes. But, I do understand that folks need it for their ears, so I try not to be obnoxious about that one.

  10. Whenever I’m traveling I spend the entire week before making and revising lists to make sure I forget nothing. I also spend the entire week prior checking and rechecking my flight itinerary because i’m terrified of something going wrong or forgetting what time my flight leaves and missing my flight.

    The entire night before is spent making sure my apartment is spotless (i’m afraid if I’m burglarized while i’m gone the burglars will judge me if i leave it messy) and painstakingly packing, rolling my clothes into tiny rolls and fitting everything together like a puzzle. when I first started travelling, I used to grossly over-pack, now I pack like two pairs of pants and like 4 tank tops and one hoodie (which i’ll be wearing anyway duh) and usually every undergarment that i own (the one thing i actually pack too much of). All my meticulous efforts to pack everything perfectly and neatly are undermined as literally every single time I travel, the tsa people go through my bag and ruin everything anyway.

    I hate airports, but i’m okay once I am on the airplane. I used to try to pack books for the flight but I’ve come to accept that it is literally impossible for me to stay awake on an airplane.

    also, I ~love~ that crying at the wawa song (mal blum is perfect). but (ironically?) I cannot listen to it without bursting into tears so…

  11. I agree 100% regarding (not) reclining. I really wish that it would simply stop being an option. Just have the airline pick a permanent slight angle, and be done with it!
    I’m also a huge fan of the ginger ale, as well as ginger hard candies. I always arrive feeling better without a Dramamine haze!
    I used to pack the same clothes that I would normally wear- I thought the clothing that’s sold specifically for travel makes people look out-of-place and touristy when they wear it. This was before I got sent to a remote location for work. I didn’t realize we wouldn’t have access to washers and dryers for almost a month. We wound up having to wash our clothes in the sinks and dry them on makeshift clotheslines in the bathrooms… I was seriously jealous of the people with the quick-drying, wrinkle free stuff after that. So I’ve wound up actually having a bunch of stuff that I pack for traveling that I know I can hand-wash and dry overnight, which has really lessened the amount of stuff I pack- now I use carry-ons every time!

    • “Just have the airline pick a permanent slight angle, and be done with it!”

      This idea has never even occurred to me because I always felt like there was something specifically aerodynamic and complicated w/r/t engineering where the seat can be a certain way only after takeoff and it’s an option because making all the seats just recline automatically after takeoff would seem weird and be harder to engineer

      I always feel really relieved to meet another non-recliner, if there are enough of us out there maybe we can one day change the world

  12. TRAVELLING, I KNOW ALL ABOUT IT
    I understand planes and airports better than I understand people.

    Perhaps oddly enough, for someone who spends almost half her life on some flight or another (and the occasional bus/train/etc), I don’t really have any rituals. Or anything that I would identify as a ritual anyway – perhaps there’s some things I do out of habit that come naturally to me but not to others.

    Firstly there’s visas. Thank God for Malaysian passports and how they make visas a little less necessary. I was on a Bangladesh passport till my 26th birthday and GAAAAAHHHH I HATE VISAS. All this inane paperwork that they never really check properly anyway.

    I almost always keep my packing to the absolute last minute, because I hate packing, it feels depressing. I tend to be pretty good at keeping my packing minimal.

    Spare set of clothes on your carryon. Anything vaguely liquid or gel-like in Ziploc bags. All tech on carryon, including chargers – they’re now making it mandatory for phones to be charged before hitting security. Shoes off, jacket off, laptop in its own try, put all loose items in the tray (or just save some time and put it in the carryon), bring passport and boarding pass through scanner/patdown/Xray thing.

    And – as I learnt the hard way – DO NOT BRING COOKIE BUTTER ON YOUR CARRYON.

    Bring something comfortable to wear inflight if you’re doing a long-distance or redeye flight. No one really cares about how you look. I bring a kaftan or sweatpants and change into that. Those eyemasks you sometimes get inflight? LIFESAVER.

    Bring a jumper/cardigan on flight because planes get super cold for some reason.

    See if you can afford a one-time airport lounge pass if you’re going to be at the airport for a long time (e.g. a long layover). The free shower & food is totally worth it. I’m still pissy at Virgin for making the passes inaccessible though, boo.

    I was actually about to start a YouTube series all about visas and travel tips, but then MH17 happened and I’m still really heartbroken about it. (In fact the timing of this post made me side-eye hard.)

  13. I remember when I was still studying in the Philippines and had to come back here with my mom when the school year was over. It was the SOS (same old shit) every. single. time. I think the crew started to get to know us.

    Now that I travel back there to see my wife I can see how OCD I can be about things. Did you guys know that I purchase my ticket like 4 months in advance? I DO. Then about a month before I leave, I start to get a little pile of clothes on the floor. These are the clothes I need to take with me for a month or so. Then I write myself reminders on the sticky notes of what to pack in my carry on the day of.

    I try to use the same bag I’ve always used, my SBL satchel, it holds my passport and cash and stuff like my diary that I write in while I’m on the plane. I’m totally jealous of how Ali sleeps within 15 minutes because I’ll tell you, being in the air for 12 hours next to someone you don’t know? All you’ll wanna do is sleep. So lately, I’ve resorted to taking Benadryl. As for clothes, I TRY TO LOOK DECENT. Because I know it’ll just bother me that my shirt is in wrinkles at the back if I wear something nicer.

    And I bring a small empty bottle of water and ask at meal times to fill it so I don’t bother the flight attendants during the flight. I have to totally agree with the way the plane smells. But I try to be like my mom and use the bathroom the second I board so it hasn’t been used yet by 100 other people =p AND we choose seats that are near the end (yes I know, turbulence but I think my body knows how to deal with it now) mainly because of the bathroom. Think about it, during meals you get served first. So by the time you’re done everyone has barely started to eat and you’re free to use the restroom. Then you don’t have to be the awkward person in the aisle trying to squish your body by the food cart when they’re collecting dirty trays!

  14. I have so many things I have to do on planes. Plane smell is disgusting (no one else seems to notice it though?) so I try to breathe only through my mouth. I press my feet against the floor because sometimes the plane feels weightless and I get worried. I also drink a ginger ale because ginger is meant to be good for travel sickness, but I always end up staring out the window trying not to throw up anyway. All my journeys involve me either sleeping or feeling nauseous, so snoring is the more pleasant option for all involved haha

  15. Wow I’m so impressed with everyone’s smart/helpful/healthy travel rituals.

    My ritual (if you can call it that) consists of getting so defeated by the thought of packing that I have a drink, which then leads to another, and then another. Drunk packing is much more entertaining, but I pretty much never go anywhere without forgetting something really essential like underwear or a toothbrush. It also means that I always need to make a stop for coffee or iced tea the next morning before I actually head out to wherever I’m going.

    Maybe if I traveled on planes/buses/trains more often I would be a better traveler! But the thought of driving on the interstate for 3 hours doesn’t really inspire me.

  16. last weekend I drove 19 hours to Nebraska for a wedding. I spent the night before making an 8+ hour road trip playlist, made my friends listen to half of it, and then abandoned it in favor of musicals. Then I realized I forgot my pajamas and razor when I go there, so maybe I should spend more time packing…

  17. I learnt to write obsessive lists after the time I went away for 3 months and forgot to pack socks. That said, on my last trip I forgot to pack my hairbrush, despite the fact it was on my list. Not a great start to the trip given I have waist-length hair. Oh well, at least it was stuff I could easily replace.

    Oh, and last time I travelled I already had a DVT from recent surgery, so I spent the whole time scared senseless that it would move and I would die. But on the up side, it took away from my usual fears of the plane going down.

  18. I fly a LOT, since I’m going to school away from home and have grandparents with Super Elite airline status. Most of my travel rituals involve planning what I’m going to pack weeks in advance, then not actually packing til the night before a 3 AM flight. I also manage to somehow overpack, yet forget important things like chargers and pyjamas. Despite all that, I have my packing down to a system and can get through Security in under 2 minutes if there’s nobody in front of me.

    I also download a bunch of “teaser” game apps (you know, those ones that give you approximately 3 levels of play before making you buy the “full” version), which I rarely use but are nice to have for delays and stuff. On the plane, I read the inflight magazine during take-off and landing – I always make sure to “save” some for landing and/or the flight home. There have been a couple of times where the airline hasn’t changed the magazine over on the first of the month, so I’ve ended up with the same issue on two separate trips and it’s SO DISAPPOINTING, GUISE.

    Oh, and people who put their seats back are the WORST. I’m not above shoving their seat if I need to bend over or get out of mine.

  19. Ali just blew my mind and made traveling feel so important. HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE ALSO STOOD IN THIS SPOT, SAT IN THIS SEAT, USED THIS TOILET? It will never be the same.

    Also I feel like Riese and I could be special travel buddies, commiserating over our shared “rituals” (mental issues), which may actually just increase both of our anxieties. It would surely be a good time.

    • I used to travel all the time with a friend who thought the plane was going to crash or get hijacked every.single.time and went completely insane on flights (i love you natalie) and i found my anxieties at least felt mild compared to hers, so that was relaxing for me

      • Is it not common to think that about every flight you’re on? Is that not what other people mean when they say they hate flying or are afraid of flying? That’s definitely what I mean.

        • she literally breaks into a cold shaky terrifying sweat and grips both of my hands with intense ferocity while manaically yelling that i tell her stories about happy times for the duration of takeoff and then she spends the flight in the back chatting with the flight attendants and asking them to tell her stories to distract her from our inevitable demise and then we repeat the hand-gripping storytime for landing

          i stopped flying for like a year because i was afraid of terrorists but maybe that’s another post

        • I think about my flight blowing up a lot, and I enjoy flying (well, partially, but I’m not scared about it). I think it’s more a morbid sense of “well I keep flying all the time, when will it be my turn to die in a plane crash”. Bad grasp of stats, but still.

  20. The last time I traveled I forgot what day I was suppose to be at the airport? Yeah. That totally happened. So, I’m at the laundromat, it’s 8pm and my friend calls me to ask me if I was on my way to LAX. I was like, “dude, it’s tomorrow. why do you think I’m doing my laundry now?” She was like, “nooo! get your ass down here, we’re leaving tonight!” So, I grabbed my humid clothes out of the dryer, drove back home and stuffed everything into my luggage. I barely made it on time and I spent a lot of mornings ironing out my clothes which sucked because who wants to be doing that on vacation?

    You know, if it were possible – I’d just throw everything into a black plastic bag, hobo style. I don’t even care.

  21. I always, always make sure to bring earplugs and a sleeping mask for any overnight flights/buses/trains, mostly because I can’t sleep if there’s too much light/sound.

    I also always bring a nice big scarf with me, which can be used to stay warm on the freezing cold plane, as a pillow, or as something to hold on your lap (which I find very comforting for whatever reason).

    Also, I have maybe found a good trick to beat jetlag: get horribly sleep-deprived in your home timezone then take an overnight flight during which you don’t sleep. By the time you arrive at your destination, you will be able to fall asleep pretty much whenever/wherever, no matter what time it is at home. (This was, of course, discovered entirely by accident when I booked a flight to Scotland the day after I finished school/moving out of residence.)

  22. For some mysterious reason, oatmeal raisin cookies are the only snack I ever choose when flying. I do not eat them at any other time. Only mid-air when whatever clearly-more-put-together-than-me person next to me pulls out their power shake and energy bar, and I realize that eating is the only thing I can do to distract myself from the misery that is flying, because reading is somehow not a thing I can focus on mid-air and I’m terrified to use my iPod after they say turn off your electronics even though the middle age business man in front of me has been on his laptop for the past hour, this is when I pull out my inexplicable oatmeal raisin cookie and feel like a child when I accidentally spill crumbs all over the seat.

    Unfortunately, I can’t find these in those airport news/mini-bookstores anymore. Like, ever. I can find every kind of energy bar under the sun and all the jumbo-sized candy you can imagine but never oatmeal raisin cookies anymore. The inability to perform my only truly ingrained travel ritual causes far too much anxiety than the situation warrants, but I think I’m going to start keeping a supply of oatmeal raisin cookies solely for plane flights.

  23. The most reliable thing about my travel habits is that I will pack significantly more books than I could ever read during the trip (rule of thumb: # books = # length of trip in days + 2). Once as a child I ran out of reading material and it traumatized me.

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