This summer job has made me a road warrior. I spend four days each week on the road. Every Thursday night I appear at home with dirty laundry and Monday by 6, I am heading out for another week of work. Organization is everything in this kind of lifestyle to make sure you take everything you need when you leave home for work. Many of the places I visit don’t have much more than a couple of restaurants/bars, a gas station and a grocery store. No place to buy socks if you forget to pack them.
The surprising but indispensable travel item for me this summer has been my collection of eBags packing cubes. As a sewer I seriously thought about trying to personally engineer a collection, but in the end I bought mine. I love them. My bag has a certain number and size of cubes. On Sunday, I pull them out and pack each of them and when they are all back in my luggage it means I am ready to go. Some of my cubes have a spare pair of socks or underwear in them to remind me of what goes in each. For this job each cube holds one of the five pieces of clothing I put on each day, but I used to be a business suit traveler and think that each cube could just as easily carry your daily outfit. There is nothing worse than the last day of a professional business trip and realizing you wore the wrong blouse with the wrong suit and the one left does not match the suit you intend to wear tomorrow. Ranger Sir and I will sometimes travel with just one bag if we go for a night or two. It is not usually a pleasant experience. I am thinking a second set of cubes in his own color may solve that problem. Shop around for your set because the amount the retailers are asking you to pay varies widely.
Everyone has their favorite bag for toiletries based on what they want and need. Most of us take some supplies from home. My favorite choice for this is the GoToob products. First reason for recommending this product is that it is easy to fill. It actually has an opening you can put shampoo in without it traveling all down the sides. Second is they stand behind the product no questions. I broke a top, emailed them and I got a new top. It is a one time purchase. Lastly if you travel via airlines it was designed with that in mind. The only negative is it is designed with words like soap, shampoo, lotion, conditioner on the neck. Without my glasses in the shower I can read that stuff, so I had to shop around to get assorted colors to work for me. In spite of that I really do like these the best of all the travel containers I have ever owned.
The fabric I used in this pillowcase always makes me smile because it is so crazy unexpected.
My last recommendation is a pillow case from home. I have made a collection of bright don’t forget me pillow cases, but anything will do. Pillow cases from home can be used to cover and double up hotel pillows to simulate your personal pillow. Pillowcases from home can also be used to keep your face and skin away from the harsh hotel laundry soaps. It also puts another barrier between you and the pillow that hundreds of others have slept on. Lastly this is what I put all my dirty clothes in to take them home. It is like having a personal laundry bag to keep your dirty clothes from soiling your luggage and anything you may have clean left in your bag for your next stop in your travels.
Last Thursday night we end our annual conference. We had packed up all our things in the trailer and were ready to leave the next morning. That night those of us left in Great Falls wanted a meal that came from somewhere other than our hotel where we had been eating all week. It was the beginning of the problem trying to find single place that we could all find things that each of us were looking for. Enter the Tummy Taxi, aka Cafe Courier. It solved all our problems. This service worked with multiple local restaurants to deliver their menu items for a fee. Those of us who were looking for something more exotic ordered a sampler platter from a Greek restaurant, and those with a less adventuresome palate were looking for a “regular fare” ordered their food from a different restaurant.
Less than an hour later our taxi had picked up food from two different restaurants The Greek food eaters were having an aroma orgy as we opened the boxes and inhaled the smells. Soon we were enjoying fare that is quite out of the box for those in Montana. I savored each bite and tasted a little of everything that we got. Overall it was quite nice, though the moussaka was one of kind, a bizarre Montana version that no one would ever recognize. It had elbow macaroni! I am not sure how they got something so wrong and the rest was so nicely done. Some of the best Greek I had had since moving to Big Sky Country.
I never thought about enjoying food so much, but the standard fare eaters had lots of fun watching my face as I ate this menu treat. My face said my mouth was having a taste orgy.
Last week I was on the road for work, which meant that I ate out all week. Having been on a mission to incorporate more vegetables into my diet this week drove home to me how crummy your choices are when dining out.
Let me set my personal stage: I am a meat eater and eat plenty of that at home. I have multiple veggies with each meal. At our house we do try to do one meatless meal a week. My reason for this meal lifestyle focus on vegetables is an effort to have a more well rounded nutritionally balanced diet. I really have come to depend the variety of tastes and textures that having an assortment of veggies with a meal. It makes me full and satisfied after a meal.
I ate many of my meals at the conference center/hotel restaurant. In four days my choices for the vegetables was asparagus with a mornay sauce, or steam carrot/cauliflower/broccoli mix. Based on that I can assume it wasn’t fresh, but likely some frozen “bag veggies.” I also ate some meals at chain and local restaurants and found that my choices really no better. Vegetables were absent for the most part.
I have come to the conclusion that the public is not demanding veggies and so restaurants are not providing them. They are not inexpensive because we repeatedly are offered the same ones. Now all this has me thinking of my next business trip, when I will be on the road for a full week. What do I plan to do for myself to not go for a full week so few veggies? I am not sure, but I have a couple of months to think about what I will do. I would love to hear from others their thoughts on this challenge.