Wednesday, April 30, 2008

On The Road Again

Thanks for all of your wonderfully supportive comments with regard my last post!  My car has been fixed and looks perty again.  I still feel like an idiot, but I'm trying to cut my overworked boo-tay some slack.  I guess my three jobs, incessant travel, never-ending custody battle and out of work husband are finally chipping away at my tenuous hold on sanity.  I'm stretched a bit thin right now to be sure.  However, thanks be to God for yarn!  If I didn't have crocheting and knitting (and spinning, dyeing and weaving) I'd be a candidate for a rubber room at this point!
 
Speaking of incessant travel, I have a date with a plane again in two weeks.  Yes, my tube travel can again be attributed to job numero uno, my main gig.  This upcoming trip will take me to London and Paris.  I know that I've said this before, but I actually plan to have a bit of fun while in Europe as my time away has me straddling two weekends enabling me to (i) check out the local yarn and (ii) blow through a few tourist attractions.  Yay!
 
Traveling as much as I do means that packing has become a regular feature of my life.  Here are some of my tips for traveling smart and crafty!
 
First and foremost, let's hear it for light luggage!  About a year ago, prior to traveling to the Knit and Crochet Show in Manchester, NH (read – I needed a bigger bag to hold all of my class supplies and yarn purchases), I decided that it was time to trade in my large, heavy suitcase in favor of a lighter model of similar dimensions for use on those trips lasting longer than a few days.  My old bag weighed in at about 25 lbs when empty!  Needless to say, I was always over the limit when checking the stupid thing.  Now I have a featherweight model that weighs in at less than 7 lbs. when empty.  Much better!
 
Second, but of just as much as importance as the luggage factor, is this burning inquiry (which I ask myself each and every time I travel, oh by the way)…How much yarn is enough yarn to keep me busy while in transit, but not so much yarn that I have to dedicate my entire carry-on to the "fuzz factor"?  Yeah, well, I've come up with no good formula with which to answer this question.  So, I usually err on the side of paranoia, shoving two to three WIPs into my squat little roller bag adjacent to my beloved Mac each and every time I hit the road.  Really, it's dumb and I need to get a grip.  However, the thought of not being able to knit or crochet when entombed in a tube freaks me the hell out!  Okay, so this wasn't so helpful…Movin' right along.
 
Third, cords anyone?  Really, should any shenanigans take place aboard the aircraft, I am prepared to wrestle the offending individual to the ground and hog tie 'em with all of the electronic device cords that I'm forced to carry onto the plane.  Really.  My cord inventory is as follows: Blackberry power cord, cell phone power cord, digital camera power cord, digital camera USB cord, iPod USB cord, MacBook power cord (2 of these – one for the wall and one for the plane) and a host of adapters for international travel.  If I run out of cords mid-hog tie, I can always dip into my carry-on yarn stash or just start hurling adapters.   
 
These tips aren't exactly helpful, are they?  Alrighty then!
 
Fourth, are these shoes really made for walking?  Next to the yarn yardage factor, the travel shoe issue is another that confounds moi, oh, every single time I travel.  I don't know about you, but I have, quite literally, an entire shoe store in my closet.  And here's the kicker, only a few pairs out of the hundreds that I have available to my toe tips are suitable for wearing longer than oh, let's say…20 minutes. 
 
Peeps, I'm a girl!  We buy shoes because they look good, not because they feel good!  Comfort, schmomfort!  It's all about sexy toes, especially when it comes to strolling around the halls of the Cube Farm.  Therein lies the problem.  When I'm traveling for fun, a couple of pairs of my most comfortable shoes are usually sufficient.  Throw in a pair of heels for good measure and I'm set.  Add in the work factor and I'm screwed!  Many more variables.  This suit looks best with those pumps, while that dress looks super cute with those flats.  You get my drift.  Jeans are so much easier to pair with shoes.  Ahhhh.  Note to self, make sure to do a little shoe shopping this week on your lunch hour...
 
Not helpful?  Yeah, I'm just hoping that I'm not making you anxious about your next trip…
 
Okay, here's good travel tip…Fifth, got a stack of Netflix DVDs that you've yet to watch and a laptop that you plan to travel with?  Watch your rentals on the plane or while in the hotel.  Usually beats the in-flight entertainment and you'll avoid those pesky movie charges on your hotel bill!  I wish that I could take credit for this brilliant idea, but alas, I cannot.  This one is all Jenna!  She travels a lot too.  Actually, I should probably consult her about my shoe-yarn-excessive cordage issues as well…
 
Hey, two outta five ain't bad.


9 comments:

Meg said...

Boy, are you making me want to take a road trip! Last time I actually flew anywhere was before the hysteria over knitting needles and crochet needles on planes. Is that over?

Maybe I should print your post out and tape it on the inside of my luggage til the next time I take off.

Caroline B said...

Yep, check out whether you can take needles on the plane - airport officials over here will take & throw away anything 'suspect', although I've yet to hear of a crazed knitter hijacking a plane - wouldn't that be something? Have fun in London - see Liberties, Regent St. for yarn & fabric lovelies in a Tudor type setting!

JKDub said...

Check out http://handbrake.fr/?article=download before you go, then you wont have to take that stack of DVD's.. you can store those movies on your Mac.

luckyglinda said...

Hi LL, I travel for work occasionally and have a few tips that might help-did Paris, and south/east France (yes-work!!!) for 10 days with a 4 day stop over in Dublin (relaxation!) in 2005 with one small wheeled case and one carry-on bag. First: cords, I kept the power cords down to 2-one works on both my iPhone and iPod and one for the mac (all work tools) plus I used the "shaver" outlet in the hotels to power stuff up so didn't bring any converters. All the hotels I stayed at had US style shaver outlets. I got a compact charger (small box-no cord) for my digital camera batteries and packed 2 batteries so one could charge while I was out during the day. 6 - 1MB memory cards and no need to pack film. I then stocked up on DVDs and use Instant Hand Brake to convert them to movie format digital files and transferred those to my iTunes and some to the iPod to watch on the flights so I was able to return those DVDs before leaving. I had a library of about 10 movies and 5 seasons of Frasier to watch but don't discount watching Will and Grace in French, fun! If you fly AirFrance they will have an excellent and large selection of videos and games for each passenger with your own controller. Plus complimentary chamagne, yum. As for my hands on the flight I downsized and brought my Cebelia, 2 balls, 3 antique ivory hooks (no metal!) and some photocopies thread snowflake patterns, all of which fit into a cosmetics bag and no problems with security. I worked up snowflakes while flying and cut them apart in the hotel room when I got my nail trimmers out of my check in luggage. Voila! This was my 3rd overseas trip and I've learned to pack light and plan to do laundry once, the only hitch this last time was that the trip was in August and the Frence all leave for holiday that month, everything-it seems-was closed including basics like the post office (I always mail my purchased goodies home, anyone for a Cuban cigar ;-) !) and laundromats but in a pinch a jamie top substitutes for a casual daytime shirt. In August only the tourists are roaming Paris anyway so no one cares. I finally found a laundromat in Lyon and a lovely yarn shop on the same block, two birds! Ireland and the UK are full of great yarn shops and if you go to the countryside you'll be able to get some local homespun from local sheep. Lots of handknitters especially in the Hebrides in Scotland.
Do check out the American knitting club that meets on Sundays in a book shop in Paris if you get a chance and second only to yarn in France and the UK are the paper shops, to die for! Three years of fine bookbinding in art school paid off here! Don't forget to enjoy the wine, cheeses, breads, chocolate and fresh produce but the best kept secret is Coke Light, the finest of Diet Coke anywhere, I couldn't get enough and try to get friends to bring me back some whenever they go to France or Belgium.

luckyglinda said...

Forgot, Caroline mentioned Tudors-in Dublin the BBC was filming the first season of the Tudors just outside my hotel window! Jonathan Rhys Myers in tights! Outside my hotel window!

Kimberly said...

I never get my packing right....and I travel almsot weekly it seems lately. I always bring too much yarn and never seem to actually work on it very much.

I love both Paris & London....I'm actually going to London next week, and Paris in a few weekends with some friends. Good times in both places! Enjoy your trip and hopefully you do not have to work too much!

Batty said...

I also travel a lot for fun. My tip: take everything out of the suitcase when you get to the hotel, iron any blouses that need it, and hang your stuff in the closet. That way, you're always ready to step out the door looking professional, even if you suddenly find an invitation to an unexpected meeting in your e-mail.
Also, you're more likely to notice very, very quickly that you forgot a blouse to go with your suit. If you're lucky, there's even an open store somewhere...

Sara said...

just checked out your page for the first time and you make some CRAZY stuff! keep it coming someone has to be original in this world of drones!

susan said...

has it been a year? wow. time DOES fly. wildness.
and now you fly to london. savor it. head to ronny scotts jazz if it is still there. enjoy enjoy enjoy. life is so damn short.