Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Rhys Stays Sane, Or does she?

RHYS BOWEN: As you now know, I've just returned from six weeks in Europe. And I'm about to set off on yet another book tour when Malice at the Palace comes out on August 4th.  I travel a lot (well, not compared to Hank, but to most sane people). And as you know, travel these days can be stressful....as when I was in France a couple of weeks ago and arrived at the train station to find that the trains were on strike and I was due to fly out of an airport two and a half hours away. I couldn't risk staying another night and hoping that the trains were operating the next day because I had no guarantee I'd get on the one flight out of Toulouse to London. AND I was flying home from London in two days time. So.... I had to bite the bullet and take a 300 Euro taxi ride.  And I am halfway to Toulouse when the driver informs me that officially the taxis are also on strike so he can't take me anywhere near the train station or the airport. He'll have to drop me at an undisclosed location in Toulouse, hopefully near a metro station so I can make my way to the airport to catch a plane that is about to depart.

I made it, only just. But you can see what I mean by stressful. On book tours it only takes one delayed flight, unexpected thunderstorm and the plans for the day fall to pieces. So I've found that one way to keep my sanity and banish stress is to take some friends with me.

These two are Sophie and Alexander and they come with me on my US flights. I keep meaning to make them a little house and furniture to take with me, but just their funny faces make me feel better.
And in case you think they take up space, this is how big they are:
And this is Hubyrd. My daughter Anne gave him to me last year and he has had his photo taken all over Europe. People have looked at me in amazement as I place him on Queen Victoria's head or at the edge of cliffs. But again he reminds me that life should be fun and that stressful flights really don't matter.

So what do you do when you travel? Hank, do you have any stress-busters? Anyone else have toys that have to travel with them? Or a particular book? Or am I the only one who is a little weird?


  1. Oh, I dearly love your little friends, Rhys. They are so cute --- and so lucky to get to travel with you.
    I don't travel much at all, but my granddaughter gave me a tiny bear that fits in the palm of my hand. She named him Brownie and said he was to keep me company, so he travels with me when I do take a trip. Add my Nook to my carry-on bag and I am good to go!

  2. What a brilliant idea to have these adorable travel buddies, Rhys! It makes me want to start using a similar stress buster. I may start looking while I'm here in Hawaii, but, Joan, it would be perfect to have one of my granddaughters choose something for me.

    I do have a travel necklace. A few years back I bought my daughter and myself matching necklaces, and I always feel better when I'm flying with mine on. I couldn't find it one trip, and it was uncomfortable without it. I guess I consider it a good luck charm of sorts.

    Can't wait for Malice to come out, Rhys. Now, it's only 9:56 here in Honolulu, and I want to read some more on Evans Above. I have to ask you about the Welsh language when I see you at Bouchercon in October.

  3. I love those little guys. How fun!

    Writer KB Inglee knitted me a little post-autopsy corpse earlier this year. I named him Y.N. Cision, and he's going to be my constant companion for travel from now on. ;^)

  4. Can anyone say anything after Edith's comment? I now want to be next to her on a flight just to ask about the traveling corpse.

    I usually travel infrequently but intensely for work, often to places with very limited services. This means that my essentials bag includes a sports towel, a compressible travel blanket, a candle & matches, a combination lock (don't ask) and,occasionally duct tape. All of this practicality begs for indulgence, so I also have a heavenly silk shawl that folds into a tiny space but serves perfectly when I need the adult version of a blankie.

  5. I do believe Edith wins the internet today!

    I, of course, travel with my trusty Bun Bun (bunny), given to me by Kiddo. It's always fun to come back to a hotel room and see what fun the housekeeper has had with him.

  6. Aww Rhys - they're so cute!

    I don't travel much. A book is a must, either physical or ebook. And I always take my own pillow. Hotel pillows are either too soft or too hard. But now I feel in need of a fuzzy travel companion!

  7. You guys are so creative! Rhys, that's exactly why travel has gotten less and less fun (at least the getting there part.)

    I'm with Mary on this one--having a truly absorbing book is key. Otherwise I spend my time fretting and auditing the airline schedule on the wall!

  8. My husband and I travel a lot, but usually our bags are so full, there's no room for little travel companions. Love Hubyrd, though. He'd be my choice to take.

  9. I saw Edith's pal at Malice. It was the creepiest thing I've ever seen. But I didn't know it was Edith's at the time, which makes all the difference.

    My travel stressbusters,Rhys? I turn on my music in the hotel room and dance. (Briefly.) And I sing Magical Mystery Tour (to myself) as I lug my wheelie-bag along the airport corridors. And I ALWAYS have almonds and water. The key is not to have low blood sugar. AND my black pashmina: shawl, pillow, bathrobe.

  10. Just "saying* Bun Bun makes me smile and relax, Susan! Thank you!

  11. Rhys, I love your little guys! And Huybyrd! And yes, Edith wins the internet today:-)

    I used to take a teddy bear named Gordon with me when I went to the UK, but these days it's Bob the Green Elephant (who would like you to know he just went through the wash and is much the better for it!) Bob is nice and squashy and can double as a pillow if necessary. I have a blankie (Coolmax travel blanket) which is fabulous. It covers me literally from the top of my head to the tips of my toes on the plane, but is so light it can double as a shawl, and I can use it as a nap blanket in hotels.

    I take my tablet with lots of books loaded on it, but I MUST have a real book in my carry on. This is an immutable law of the universe.

  12. I take books with me. You'll notice I said plural. Even though there is no way I will get through everything I take with me, I must have extra reading material just in case.

  13. I have a cobalt blue glass charm from Turkey to ward off the evil eye. It's always in my purse.

  14. So many neat travel necessities! I frequently wear my Celtic cross I bought in Dublin years ago. The Irish got around so I certainly can too. I always have books to read, physical or on my Nook. If it's a road trip I try to bring my dog Boo along. Can't always do it but I feel so much better if I can.

  15. I travel with a bear from my sweetie, which has "This bear loves you" on its sweater. And my comfort books on my e-reader, plus several analog books as well.


  16. A cup of Starbucks counts, right? All I really need to relax is travel without my children, but to feel human I need coffee.

  17. A book (or two -- as Mark said) and a notebook. On my flight to Malice, I was scribbling away in my notebook -- thoughts, worries, overheard conversations, the odd things people wear in airports -- and my seatmate asked me if I was writing a book. HA! "Yes, but this isn't it." She was quite astonished that one would actually write voluntarily.

    (Love all the little critters, and the fun of seeing what hotel housekeepers do with them!)

  18. Rhys, I have GOT to get some travel buddies, like you and Susan and Debs.

    I was thinking bout what really helps de-stress me when the flight is cancelled or the train has an unscheduled delay or I discover the "easy couple of stops" on the Metro/T/Tube is really 50 minutes and three changes for different lines.

    What always works for me is reading. I carry my pocket-sized ebook everywhere, and I always load it with some books I've been dying to get into. Then, when I'm stuck sitting and waiting (or sitting and traveling) it becomes hard-to-find reading time.

    Plus Hank's almonds and water. I saw her on the run enough times to decide to try carrying them myself, and it makes a huge difference. Thanks, Hank!

  19. I have a River Song action figure (from Doctor Who) that travels in my handbag. One never knows when a beautiful, heavily-armed time traveler might come in handy!


  20. I love those tiny travel companions, may put that on my must-have list. We have family stories of frantic searches for young'uns' lost special toys, but I think I could take the risk for my own. ;-)
    Besides books, a necessity of life, I usually take snacks, a small air cleaner (my travel agent's suggestion) and dust proof pillowcases to help alleviate my dust and mold allergies, and slippers because while I'll walk barefoot on my own floors . . .
    Wishing you safe and smooth travels.