The most humiliating moment of my professional life took place in the back of an airport bound cab, surrounded by colleagues I barely knew. It was post national conference in Sydney and I was sharing the cab with 3 other girls, all of us racing to the airport in an attempt to catch earlier flights home.
I get chronic motion sickness but someone else had jumped in the front and who wants to be high maintenance with people you don’t really know? I’d already missed the mark during one of those ridiculous ‘get to know you’ activities that I despise and told a story that I thought was funny, only to elicit gasps and murmurs of ‘that’s really sad’. This was shortly followed by an evening of ‘mandatory karaoke’ where reps from the different states were called up to sing together/against one another. I did not know the song well but I dutifully chimed in on the chorus and belted it out with what can only be described as gusto. I was sober. Many were not. Incredulously for one’s so tipsy, it lingered in people’s minds the next day. Now I was the ‘odd story karaoke girl with no actual marketing degree’ from country Victoria. I didn’t want to be any more conspicuous than I already was so I climbed in the back and inwardly reasoned with myself. It wasn’t a long trip, how bad could it possibly be?
It was bad. Really bad. It was hot in the cab. The driver continuously pumped his foot on and off the accelerator and by the time we were entering a very long tunnel, I knew the inevitable was going to happen and we had no means of stopping. My jaw was clenched shut afraid that if I opened my mouth, it would not be words that came out. I started to sweat.
The girl next to me glanced over and exclaimed ‘you don’t look so flash!’. I managed to murmur that I was going to vomit and the back seat sprang into action. My seat mate began ripping items out of a shopping bag and she thrust it to me with seconds to spare. I threw up my dignity into the paper bag as everyone watched on, equal parts empathy & horror. The girl sitting in front (who later became a great friend) refused to look around in case she went out in sympathy. The driver wound down all the windows and floored it, like that was going to help calm my churning stomach.
And then it got worse. The paper bag was not going to hold its contents. I had to request a second shopping bag and then hold it on my lap like a hand bag, all the way to the airport. My seat mate assured me that though I was violently ill, I did so remarkably quietly. It did not sooth my wounded pride.
Travel sickness and inner ear issues are a tough break for a girl who LOVES to travel. No reading in moving vehicles. No back to back flights. Polite and constant pleadings to sit in the front seat of buses and automobiles with firmly clenched teeth and eyes fixed on the road for the majority of every winding journey.
Despite all this, travel is actually still possible and even enjoyable for the well prepared and determined! Even more so if you are a little quirky and can handle people casually glancing at you twice before going about their business because, to be frank, you look off the rack bonkers in your efforts to remain in one piece.
Straying from my normal blogging format, here are a few of the tips and tricks I’ve gleaned over the years from packing hacks to motion sickness pills for the high maintenance traveller. (Note: not a paid post. Note about my note: I have no objections to being paid for this post.)
Let us first solve the motion sickness problem before we move on!
1. Travel Sickness Tablets: I have tried every heavily medicated and natural ginger based product on this continuously moving planet and the best thing I’ve ever discovered is Avomine. You can take it the night before you fly/drive to keep the queasiness at bay or in the moment to quiet a stomach in upheaval. On short business trips, I will often take just half a tablet to keep me functioning but alert as they do tend to make me drowsy. You can purchase Avomine at your local chemist for around $7-$8 a box. Well worth the investment!
2. earPlanes: These beauties are hugely underrated when used incorrectly! I did not bother to read the instructions when I first tried them because I thought, how hard can shoving something in your ear really be? Turns out there is a little bit of science to them and they are far more affective when used correctly. Wait until the cabin is sealed before popping them in. When the plane reaches cruising altitude, take them out. 1 hour before you land or just before descent commences, pop them back in. Do not touch them once they are in. They will make an incredible difference to the amount of pain and pressure you experience if you do this. Where I once used to experience debilitating pain on every descent and then subsequent blocked ears for several days afterwards, I now sometimes feel the pressure but there is no pain associated and my ears pop and adjust on landing. Fun Fact – they also work a treat if you want to deter over friendly seat mates. Pop those beauties in, sniff on a eucalyptus vapour inhaler to keep your sinuses clear and furiously chew gum. A guaranteed formula for keeping Chatty Cathy at bay. These can also be purchased at the chemist for around $12 – $14, or at the airport if you forget prior to departing.
3. Fly Legs Up: Whilst we are on the topic of flying, let’s talk the dreaded long haul flight in economy. It’s a challenge. Even for short legged individuals such as myself. Enter the magical contraption that is the ‘Fly Legs Up’. (Side bar: I love that when naming this product, they went with a very literal interpretation.) Basically, it’s a little hammock that attaches to the drop down tray table in front of you. It is super adaptable so you can stretch out your legs or curl them up. No comprendo? Here is the link: http://www.flylegsup.com/
You must see it to believe it and then purchase one immediately. My friends have scoffed at how insane I must look assembling such a thing on a flight but hand on my heart, the last two flights I took it came up in conversation with my seat mates towards the end of my flight and they both exclaimed in surprise that they had not noticed me assemble it. Note: Some airlines won’t allow you to use them however this particular product does comply with FAA airline safety and compliance regulations.
4. Carry On: I have recently upgraded to a lovely rose pink satchel backpack mini (by Rains Journal) because practicality means not killing yourself dragging pretty but oversized luggage all over the globe. I simply refuse to travel without the following items in this bag and on my person, accessible at all times:
- Chewing gum.
- Hand Moisturizer.
- Eucalyptus Vapour Inhaler: You will look truly unhinged but it keeps your sinuses clear before take off/landing and will help with any associated pressure.
- Hand sanitizer & a packet of tissues: No less than ideal bathroom situation is unmanageable with these two items. Trust me!
- Ipad or phone loaded with music and audio books: Don’t mock the audio book. Sometimes one does not want to (or cannot due to motion sickness) watch 8 hours of plane movies. When the music playlists are exhausted, the flight can suddenly feel very long. Enter Audio Books. They provide just enough entertainment that you can close your eyes and listen, if sleep evades you. They are also fantastic on long car trips. I travel every month for work and once I’ve performed all the songs to every musical in the privacy of my own vehicle, I can get a little antsy so Audio Books are my go to. I don’t recommend books with complicated story lines or shrouded in mystery if you still wish to concentrate on the road ahead! Something light and entertaining does the trick.
- A paperback novel: I know I know….Kindles. I do purchase e-books but nothing beats an actual book.Fun Fact:Your paperback novel won’t run out of batteries.
- A large scarf that can double as a light blanket or pillow: You will find 101 ways this accessory can come in handy when travelling.
- Bathroom Bag: Arriving at the baggage carousel to discover your bag is not riding the merry go round is far less depressing when you have the basics on you. Toothbrush, tooth paste, rolled up underwear, face wipes etc.…. the basics will help you survive baggage catastrophe’s with at least a clean pair of knickers on and some resemblance of sanity!
5. Checked Baggage: If you prefer suitcases over backpack style luggage (which I do) I recently invested in one with four wheels, instead of two. It’s by Elle Luggage and is so cute, it instantly raises my cool factor by eleventy hundred percent. Why carry the weight of your recent shopping expedition when you can comfortably roll it beside you? You’re welcome.
So there you have it. 5 glorious quick tips from a high maintenance (but generally joyful) traveller. To share with me your tried and true products or travel hacks (which I would desperately love to hear) comment below or send me a message!
Ciao little loves xx