What are your favorite travel products? Things you can’t be away from home without? Tomorrow I’ll leave for a three-day trip to Cleveland, home for a writers conference this weekend and then to Madison, WI next week. Here are a few of the things I always bring with me or have started to bring:
My sister in law who regularly travels to Africa to do research on pediatric AIDS, ordered the Lush shampoo bar pictured above for her last trip. Since travel restrictions on liquids have become a pain to figure out how to pack everything, I thought I’d give it a try. When I tested it out it smelled nice & I didn’t even need a conditioner because it left my hair so soft! Too bad when I excitedly showed it to my friends JB & April, April and I were admiring the cute packaging and subtle scent, when I handed it to JB, he said “looks like a urinal cake”. Then he sniffed it and exclaimed, “smells like a urinal cake too!” So even though I like this product, now all I’ll be able to think when I use it is: “my hair smells like a urinal cake.” Thanks JB for that great association. But, I still say: score for fewer products and less waste! The second thing is facial cleansing wipes, for the same reasons on travel restrictions. I typically prefer Dove brand because the cloths aren’t pre-moistened and it feels much nicer to wash your face with a warm cloth rather than a cold one from the package. However, now that Meijer carries their own brand, I’ll see how I like it since it’s about 1/2 the price!
The other thing I’ve loved having on trips is my iPhone, (beyond the obvious reasons why I love having an iPhone). Even when I’m in a totally unfamiliar place, I use the white noise app and can be lulled to sleep by the sounds of an oscillating fan.
People, (usually women) often say things to me like “wow, that must be really hard to be away from home so much” when I tell them I do regional consulting in a 4-state region and travel a lot for work. It is hard, but what is harder is often feeling unsupported by a seemingly benign comment like that one. I don’t know how men who travel a lot for work and have wives and families back home get questioned or what kinds of responses their career choices get when they tell people what they do but it feels like a double standard at times, even if people don’t mean it to be. For sure, I miss Dave and Reuben when I leave. Typically for the first 1/2 hour of a trip I feel really sad I’m leaving. And then I start thinking about the wonderful people I’ll be meeting with, the innovative ideas we’ll generate for growing the spiritual lives of college students, the heartfelt conversations and prayers we’ll have and the plans we’ll make for shaping the next generation of Jesus-followers. And then I don’t feel sad because I remember that God called me to my job and that even with some of the sadness of leaving my family behind, I experience the joy and pleasure of being faithful to his calling on my life. I would be far more bummed if I wasn’t doing what I felt God was directing me to do. It also helps to have an amazingly supportive husband, a great network of family and friends who helps to care for Reuben while I’m gone and things like skype, so I can actually see Reuben every day and tell him goodnight. Yay for both people and products that make traveling easier!