Back home now from a recent visit to Texas. The destination was nothing new - I grew up in Dallas. But traveling is always instructive if you pay attention. Some things I learned during my latest sojourn:
General travel stuff
- The flight you are early for always leaves late.
- The chances of your flight leaving on time (or even early! yes, it does happen! which is how I ended up spending the night at a Holiday Inn on Delta's dime recently) is directly proportional to how late you are running. Very late = very likely.
- Checking a bag at the gate is the greatest idea since pop-top beer cans, especially if you don't have to worry about making connections.
- Getting stranded overnight is fairly painless if the hotel is free and you haven't checked your bag.
- The people whose airport jobs entail a lot of sitting on stools seem to be the ones most eager to take their breaks.
- Taking off is fun every time.
- Airplane wheels thumping back into the undercarriage is scary every time.
- Handbags are useless for travel unless they can be carried over a shoulder.
- If your travels take you through the Atlanta airport, wear comfortable shoes.
- If you have less than a one hour layover through ATL, you will not make your connection.
- Always let the ladies in heels go ahead of you on the airport escalators, bless their hearts.
- Stepping onto a Down escalator with a heavy carry-on in one hand and a purse in the other, while wearing bifocals, is the closest I'll ever get to competing on American Ninja Warrior.
- Having a family of readers who love to pass their books along is great, but makes for a heavy carry-on. Ebooks, people!
- If I'm going to continue carrying this many real books in my carry-on, I need to get in better shape or get a carry-on size bag with wheels.
- If you don't think losing 5 pounds will make much difference, try getting from ATL terminal T to D with a 20 lb. carry-on. Now I know why the pioneers dumped their heavy stuff all up and down the Oregon Trail.
- What is with the creepy billboards at ATL? One was a slightly menacing message from a cyber security outfit. Another advertised software to 'influence' customer decisions. Big Brother, anyone?
- Every time I go to Texas, I discover a new favorite beer.
- Believe it or not, there is such a thing as too much Tex Mex.
- Believe it or not, there is such a thing as too much chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and cream gravy.
- Dallas has been overrun with donut shops. Add them to the list of taco stands, nail salons, and Walgreen's/CVS - there's one on every corner.
- There is a heavy price to be paid for eating one's way through Texas (see what I did there?). The only thing that saved me this time: I don't like donuts.
- You get very little writing done until you put your cell phone away. Sadly, ditto for books.
- Spanx are always a good idea. Always pack the Spanx just in case.
- Dreds are the hair version of Hoarders.
- Possums are way cuter as babies.
- If NSA is creeping all of us online, how about hacking into Ancestry.com and 23andme family tree DNA data? Possibly solve some cold cases in the process, amirite?
- When making your own window screens, aluminum window screen is to be avoided at all costs. Go with the fabric screen instead. 2 hours per screen vs 20 minutes. Hey - I said it was random!
This post originally appeared in June 2014.