Monday, April 20, 2015
Don’t Leave Home Without It (or, The Adventures of Bun Bun)
SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: Since I’m doing research in England, Julia’s on a writing retreat in Nantucket, and the other Reds are getting ready for Malice, I thought we could talk a little about travel.
When Kiddo heard I was going away for two weeks, he was adamant I take his stuffed animal Bunny, aka Bun Bun. (Now, just for the record, Bun Bun was a gift from the Easter Bunny about five years ago and Kiddo is waaaay too sophisticated for him now, of course. But he wanted me to take Bun Bun, just in case, you know, I got lonely.)
And so here is Bun Bun in my carry-on bag. (What? You think I’d just stick him in my luggage and have travel in the cargo hold?)
I’m always amused at what the housekeeper will do with Bun Bun — usually I keep him on the bedside table, but often return to find the room made up and Bun Bun on the bed, on the windowsill, or even tucked under the covers. (And I have no idea what they think of a grown woman traveling solo traveling with a stuffed animal companion, but hey — the great thing about getting older is not caring about such things, right?)
So, I’ve been thinking about what I carry that makes traveling more comfortable. Not what sort of suitcase or that kind of thing, but the extras, like Bun Bun. For me it’s:
* a travel candle (I never go to a hotel without one) and matches
* Ole Hendrickson travel wipes (they smell like fresh oranges and are perfect for long plane trips)
* a perfume tester (this trip’s is Comme de Garçon’s Rhubarb — seemed on point for England)
* NARS the Multiple — lipstick, blush and eyeshadow in one product, what’s not to love?
* the perfect mini umbrella (simply bringing it protects against rain — whereas if you travel without an umbrella that will ensure rain, right?)
* an eye mask and ear plugs
Reds, what are your travel luxuries that make life sweeter on the road?
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Whatever I take, Susan, is not as cool as those things. I want those lovely-soundings wipes, and as soon as I finish thins I am finding them. I want the Nars thing, too. (And it's a good thing your list wasn't longer.) And as for perfume--I found this great thing that's, um, a refillable but unbreakable spray bottle. It works by attaching nozzle to nozzle and pushing... and then the sprayer fills up, magically, and can't drip. Its amazing, and I will try to find a link and put it here.
Also: Almonds. Good for breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks and tea. A black pashmina, which becomes shawl, blanket, and bathrobe. Also: I have a cosmetics/toiletries bag that I keep packed. I don't have to take stuff from my everyday life and put it all in each time--the bag is just ready to go. It make me feel very jet set.
Love to BunBun, and safe travels!
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Hank, you put me on to almonds, and I must say, they've changed my travel life. You really don't need to tote a lot to keep hunger pangs at bay, and especially when on tour, that saves me from making bad choices because I'm starving. "Why yes, Pop-Tarts for lunch sounds like a wonderful idea!" I've found eating nutritiously while on the road goes a long way toward keeping me from falling sick.
A pashmina as well - they're the modern equivalent of the Great Kilt, aren't they? Clothing, protection for the weather and bedding all in one. I always travel with my plush black velvet sleep mask; it enables me to get a decent night's sleep no matter how many glowing clocks, smoke alarms, night lights there are in a hotel room. (Also proof against decorative curtains that don't keep out the light.)
Finally, I don't leave home without my little Sony Pocket Reader. It's hopelessly outdated by now - all I can do on it is read books! - but it's wonderful to have an entire library in a flat rectangle smaller than a mass market paperback. Flight delay? Long train trip? Just more time to read.
HALLIE EPHRON: NARS? Sign me up! And almonds always. Or cashews. Or trail mix. And I always buy oranges when I arrive where I am now on book tour, Los Angeles.
I always bring my red fleece coat which doubles as a pillow on the plane and extra blanket when I'm chilled. I wish I could sleep with a mask and ear plugs but I cannot. So I hope for the best. And always a few New Yorker magazines - best travel reading ever.
RHYS BOWEN: Susan, my daughter gave me a stuffed duck last year and I took his picture all over Europe last summer. People thought I was so weird to be taking a picture of a duck on Queen Victoria's head in Malta. But he enjoyed the trip and will come with me this year. I agree with so many of all the suggestions:
* I also take a pashmina for freezing airplanes
* A small umbrella
* nuts and those mini gouda cheeses for flight delays
* a small camping towel
* a tiny hand sanitizer spray
* my iPad to read/write play
* Luckily the iPhone has eliminated the need for flashlight and alarm clock and Scrabble and camera
* My inflatable pillow to put in my back on the plane.
LUCY BURDETTE: Love the stuffed animals ladies!
We are driving right now from Key West to CT, so my list of things to bring is a little different. Cat, cat carrier, litter box, litter, bags to stash it in, old guy cat food, leash, dog, old guy dog food, bowls, water bowls, glucosamine tablets and pepcid for the old guy dog...
You get the picture : ) .
JULIA: I may have to copy your duck idea, Rhys. A couple years ago one of my nephews was doing a "Flat Stanley" project for school, and sent us his "Flat Xavier" (a ten-inch high paper rendering of Xavi on a popsicle stick.) I had great fun traveling around Maine with Flat Xavier and taking lots of pictures with him. It could be equally amusing to take something along on book tour/conferences/library visits. I wonder what would be on point for a mystery writer?
DEBORAH CROMBIE: Susan, I know what you mean about the hotel housekeepers and the stuffed animals. I've done two books tours with stuffed
companions, Leo the Hippo (mascot of Leander Club in No Mark Upon Her) and Bob the Green Elephant (my character Charlotte's elephant.) I would find them in the oddest places.
I love everyone's suggestions. (Going to check out the wipes and NARS!) And like everyone else I always take my tablet/reader, BUT I CANNOT GET ON A PLANE WITHOUT A PAPERBACK BOOK. What if the tablet's battery failed? Or for some reason they won't allow you to use electronic devices? And mostly, I think, because it's just comforting to hold a real book...
SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: Thanks for the almonds tip, ladies! I brought along some roasted chick peas (trying to be healthy) and nearly broke a tooth — never again. I'm down with the pashmina idea, but I can never get it to look right — less chic traveler and more burrito....
And Julia, what do you think of a stuffed raven for bringing along on mystery book tours?
Lovely readers, what do you think of the travel tips?
What do you bring on the road to make yourself feel more comfortable away from home?