Five Things Friday: Travel Essentials

Five Things Friday: Travel Essentials

by Molly Jo Realy @RealMojo68

Frankly, My Dear . . . : Five Things Friday

Frankly, My Dear . . . : Five Things Friday

Has it really been over a year since I’ve posted a 5TF? Well, duh. Obviously so. I guess that’s what happens when This Girl gets busy and doesn’t blog like she used to.

But I’m also guessing you’ve noticed the uptick in posts this week, yes? If you haven’t, I forgive you. Just hit the “previous posts” button at the top of the page to review what you’ve missed. And stay turned for more. There’s posts already scheduled for the next few days.

Well that’s neither here nor there. Whether I did or didn’t submit posts that you did or didn’t read, let’s move on, shall we?

Speaking of moving . . . Okay, not moving in the permanent, relocation sense, but moving in the literal, body in motion sense . . . Which makes me think of movement. Which makes me think of transportation. Which makes me think of flying. Which reminds me that tomorrow I’ll be flying. Which brings me to my topic for today’s 5TF. See? My own little string theory right there, folks. Glad you were a part of it.

Frankly, My Dear . . .: Five Things Friday: Travel Essentials

Frankly, My Dear . . .: Five Things Friday: Travel Essentials

Remember last year’s adventures? Remember my beautiful new carry-on suitcase? [You can read about it here: Oh, The Places You’ll Go!]

So, I’m not a seasoned traveler. Yet. I’ve never flown out of the country, or visited terribly big cities more than once or twice in my life. But don’t count me out! I know a thing or two about packing essentials. Especially after the fiasco which was my first flight to Blue Ridge. [Read: And They Say Getting There is Half the Fun . . . ] Hey. Tomorrow’s flight is to Blue Ridge. Huh. You think history could repeat itself? Say a prayer that it doesn’t. Please. A small prayer.

Even the day-trips of the last few years have taught me how to move smart. And now I get to share my experiential wisdom with you. Aren’t y’all a lucky bunch of peacocks? Here’s my list of those don’t-let-’em-out-of-your-sight items you need to keep with you on any trip. [Editor’s Note: the writer assumes your wallet/ID/cell phone are material extensions of your existence, and thus do not recall a separate shout-out for the purposes of this post.]

Ready? Here we go:

  1. Cash. No duh, you say. But I’m not saying “Cash, or cash equivalent.” I like to live with my ATM card. All my transactions, right there, for tax and recording purposes. But there are some places that either don’t take cash (a roadside Farmers Market stand with tantalizing fresh fruits and vegetables) or charge a ridiculous processing fee for using an ATM. Gas station kiosks charge a fee, your bank charges you a fee. Pretty soon you’re out more than five bucks for a one-dollar soda. Carry the cash, in spendable increments.
  2. Beverages. Depending on your mode of transportation, you may need to purchase this after you head out (See No. 1 above). Some services offer free drinks, but some charge. If you’re driving, keeping extra bottles of water and a thermos of coffee in the vehicle. The last thing you want is dry mouth after Doritos and hummus.
  3. Professional essentials. This is the equivalent of a businessman’s briefcase. If you’re a writer, you’ll need either a notepad and pen or a laptop/tablet. If you’re a photographer, camera and lenses. Don’t pack your entire office. Just what you need to get the job done while you’re en route.
  4. Power cords. Don’t laugh. I’ve known a person or two who brought their electronics, but no way to charge them. Even packing them deep in the carry-on luggage isn’t the way to go. Keep the cords in easy access in your laptop bag or at the top of your suitcase. No digging, no draining.
  5. A sweet attitude. Oh, don’t you smirk [did you think I couldn’t tell?]. Let’s be real, traveling isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. There’s squishy strangers, unkempt surroundings, and the occasional “Oops, we should have turned left about thirty-two miles ago” moments. A travel itinerary is a basic plan, but have you ever noticed it’s never delivered on a stone tablet? Go figure. Read the fine print: I guess that means it’s subject to change. Once in a while, you just have to suck it up and change with the changes. It doesn’t happen too often. Count it as an adventure, not a job.

Where will your next adventure take you?

CLICK TO TWEET: Frankly, My Dear . . . : Five Things Friday: Travel Essentials

With a map in my hand and the wind in my hair,
~Molly Jo

And Frankly, My Dear . . . That’s all she wrote!

Frankly, My Dear . . . : Oh, The Places You'll Go!

Frankly, My Dear . . . : Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Drive.

Hey, y’all. I trust you had a great weekend.  Mine was wonderfully out of the ordinary. Unfortunately, I don’t have any new photos to share. Crazy, right? I mean, this is me we’re talking about. Oh, well. Take my word for it: the scenery was beautiful.

I drove up to Fresno, which is no little task for me. When I was younger, I used to drive all the time. It was nothing to head to the beach or Disneyland or even up to the mountains. But somewhere between here and there, my collection of car accidents plus having Dot to consider . . . well, my drive to drive took a wrong turn (see what I did there?).

Let’s not forget it was just a few simple years ago that I got lost coming home from Disneyland–a trip I’d made at least twenty times in as many years. The Southern California freeways are not necessarily enjoyable. And in my neck of the desert, there is always, and yes I do mean always, some form of road construction or deconstruction going on.

Keep moving.

Keep moving.

[Okay, so this meme was created, like, over a year ago. I had to put some visualization in this post. Anyway . . . ]

When Dot and her husband began their grand adventure, I whispered, “I wish I was brave like you.” Now that she is married and three states away, a little bit of that bravery has come back to me.

No longer do I have to consider coming home “on time” to make dinner for anyone other than myself. I don’t have to worry about “If I do this, what will she do?” I’m no longer a single parent trying to make ends meet and feeling guilty for eating all the ice cream. Nosirreebob, I am just single. (Unless you count the FurFamily. But that’s a tad diff, don’t you think?)

So. When my friend Becky said, “Come on up for the weekend.” I said “Are you nuts? Don’t you know I don’t drive? Like, ever ever. You wanna drive me crazy? Why don’t you come see me and keep the peace instead?” I said, “Hey. I’ve been wanting to be braver. This isn’t too bad. And it’s the opposite of LA traffic. Sure, I’ll come visit.”

Now, mind you. Ursula is nine years old, and it’s been a while since she’s been out on the open road for any great stretch. But they (whoever “they” in the care-for-your-car-industry is) recommend taking your car on longish drives now and then to clean out the carburetor And by the way, I had to verify the spelling on that word. Doesn’t it sound like it should be spelled “carborator”? That’s what I thought, too. Obviously.

But I digress. So. Back on track. Yesterday morning I packed up my Babycakes laptop, a few Jamberry supplies, some bottles of water, and put ‘er in gear.

And four hours later I was in Fresno. Fresno, folks! Like, central California. We’re talking farm country. Open fields. smooth roads. Friendly freeway traffic (I know, right?! I couldn’t believe it either!).

And all I wanted to do was turn around and do it again!

This crazy thing happened to me. Someone called it confidence and I said what did you smoke from your peace pipe and they said no its true and I said no seriously and they said don’t you believe in yourself and I said yes I do but I just drove four hours and in people terms that’s like two hundred and fifty miles which is like sixty miles more than the drive to Vegas and three times as far as Disneyland and have I mentioned that lately I get lost coming home from Disneyland and they said stop being so dramatic you haven’t been to Disneyland in years and I said I KNOW BECAUSE THE LAST TIME I TRIED COMING HOME I GOT LOST and they said stop talking to yourself so I did.

Except to tell myself once more that I have more confidence.

I realized anything that could happen to me and/or my car such as a flat tire or a breakdown could also happen close to home. I have my Triple-A membership card. I have a sense of adventure. So why not go the distance (see what I did there?)?

And then comes the best part. Not only did I get to spend the weekend with Becky and her husband, but her husband happens to be Al of Al Gansky fame, of Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and Firsts in Fiction fame. Yes, that Al Gansky. Of course a month ago when Becky and I were planning this I told dictated asked Aaron in his capacity as my writing mentor, “So, it’s not totally weird for you that I’m going to go hang out with your folks for a weekend, right? Cuz if it is, we need to talk.” [I told him before Blue Ridge that I collect parents. This shouldn’t have been a surprise for him.] [Apparently, it wasn’t.]

Obviously he and Naomi were fine with it (I did have to promise not to supersede them on the parents’ Christmas card list) and the rest is almost history. Er, almost the rest is history. I mean . . .

ANYWAY.

I spend the weekend with Becky and Al which was a lot of fun when you consider a few things:

  1. Becky and I have the same sense of humor. I feel sorry for Al.
  2. Al has the same sense of humor as Aaron. You feel sorry for me.
  3. Becky bought me sweet tea. *Insert appropriate happy, dancing emoticon here*
  4. The excuse for the drive was for Becky to hostess a Jamberry party, which allowed us some fun girl time with a few guests.
  5. I got to pick Al’s brain about all things writing, editing, and Blue Ridge. Like, conference chatter. And it isn’t even conference time! I found out more of what goes into the behind-the-scenes, and I shared with him some of my immediate, short-term, and long-term goals as a writer and editor. He didn’t even charge me a coaching fee.
  6. A once-a-year thunderstorm hit just as I was considering coming home Saturday night. So I stayed per the original plan and we enjoyed some flickering lights, dimming TV screens, flashes of lightning and serious boomage that set car alarms off. Now that’s thunder!
  7. We watched Perry Mason and Alfred Hitchcock together. Between yelling “Motive!” at the TV and pointing our fingers at all the characters, all I can say is, Al will never let me near the medicine cabinet. And he really shouldn’t leave the cyanide saccharin pain pills where anyone can get at them. Just sayin’. How’s that coffee this morning, Al?
  8. The same, easy drive to get up to Fresno was just as easy coming home. Except for the microburst in Tehachapi that slowed traffic for about fifteen minutes. Only in California can the sky ahead be blue while the sky directly above is bringing down God’s wrath. Just sayin’.
  9. Once I got home and loved on the FurFamily, we had our own storm system move in. That was about five hours ago. And it’s still here. Lightning. Thunder. Rain. It’s all good.

So I sort lied about the no new photos thing. Okay. This isn’t a photo. It’s a video. I know, semantics. And you can’t hear the thunder, but trust me. It was there!


I think I’m gonna bottle this sound and play it all time. Especially when I’m writing NOLA. Or missing Blue Ridge. Or when it’s too hot and dry. Or when I’m trying to sleep. Or any other time. Yes. Definitely any time is a good time to listen to rain.

I’d say all in all it was a great weekend. And it left me with a deeper drive to reach my goals: writing, editing, social media presentations, speaking, Jamberry, redecorating Bedford Manor, and making sure all my peeps know they’re important to me (the people, not the goals) (well, I mean, both. But the people. Right now, I’m talking about the people).

Yeah. I’d go the distance for ya.

Just sayin’.

With Al and Becky Gansky at BRMCWC

With Al and Becky Gansky at BRMCWC

And Frankly, My Dear . . . that’s all she wrote!

You may also enjoy reading:
Following Fabian
And They Say Getting There is Half the Fun . . .
I am Defined. And I am a Mystery.