I moved back to NY! (+ my travel essentials)
If I've been silent around these parts, I apologize. I promise, it will be so no longer. I've had to pack the last year of my life into two bags, say goodbye to London, travel an ocean, and land back into the humdrum of New York living. I now have to look for jobs, write my dissertation, and get used to hearing the American accent again, along with hopping on the subway 24/7, and resisting the temptation of pizza calling my name on every corner.
For the past week, I've been undoing boxes, throwing things I no longer need or care about, making room for what's to come, and, also, for someone else. Andrew and I have moved in together, or, rather, I've moved in with Andrew, and now his space is my space, and my space our space, and we've had to get used to the new pronouns added into our definition of (co)habitation.
But now I'm back on track. The sheets are laid out, the clothes put away, the posters pinned and though we still have a lot of work to do on the apartment (which I'll be sure to document here) it no longer feels as though I'm intruding on his Williamsburg nook but that, rather, it is now fully ours. And so, without further ado, welcome back to Conflicted Beauty, the Brooklyn edition.
In order to ease back into this new accent, I figured I would write about my travel essentials. It's not the most exciting topic, but believe me, I think there's an art to traveling. Being an airport aficionado (I'm the first one to have my shoes off, laptop out, creams and toothpaste in a see-through bag, etc...) I'm happy to brag about the contents of my carry-on bag. I've narrowed it down to my essentials, the items I wouldn't be caught dead without on my red-eye flight to New York. Here's the low-down:
1. Obviously, my passport. I know this sounds evident, but just recently a friend of mine got to the airport and realized he was without, so had to re-purchase a ticket to come visit me in London. Before you leave that door, and put on your jacket, and call your cab (or take your train), double-check it's in your bag.
2. The iPhone pictured isn't there for axiomatic purposes. Obviously most of us are going to bring our smart phones with us. But it's more about what's inside this iPhone, notably, my favorite podcasts. On a long flight, I often find myself way too tired to watch a movie but too awake to go to sleep (or too uncomfortable) and here the podcasts are my saviors. You can check out this post where I list some of my favorite podcasts, but since then I've discovered three other favorites that I'm completely addicted to: Nocturne, Leviathan, and Mystery Show, with a special emphasis on the latter. Nocturne is an exploration (fiction and not) of all the things that loom in the night, Leviathan a sci-fi epic adventure, and Mystery Show is a podcast that takes on the world's most mundane mysteries in the most fantastic ways, such as, How did Britney Spears end up reading her friend's book? It's currently my most recommended radio bit.
3. Socks. You will be sorry without a warm pair of socks on your miserably cold feet in-flight. For some reason, temperatures are always nearing the North Pole climate and I swear it's not because I mostly fly Norwegian. Make sure to pack a sweater or a warm scarf, as well as a nice pair of thick, comfy socks that will promise to make a world's difference.
4. The moisturizers. Airplanes have a way of sucking every bit of moisture out of you so that by the end of your flight you feel like a living corpse. Here's where the hand-cream, lip balm, and facial moisture spray come in. Hand-cream the shit out of your hands, and whenever you remember to do it, add the lipbalm to your lips. Finally, 10 minutes before landing, go to the restroom, do your thing, and spray yourself with your little travel-friendly facial spray. You'll immediately feel refreshed, awakened, and ready to combat the jet-lag you'll soon be facing. Plus, your skin will thank you for it.
5. Gum serves two purposes. The first (and obvious one) is that it will freshen your breath that will, after a minimum of four hours, smell of the dry cold air around you that has traversed the nostrils of the 300 other passengers on-board, and two, it will help you if you suffer from ear-pains while you land. If you have no idea what I'm talking about then consider yourself lucky, but sometimes the changes in atmospheric pressures are a little too sudden and can be really freaking painful. I've found that chewing on gum can sometimes relieve the pain a little.
6. Dramamine is the thing I always forget to pack and then immediately regret not taking. If like me you suffer from motion-sickness, then this is a life changer. Take it while you're waiting to board and then the flight will be a lot more comfortable, for both you and the person sitting next to you...
7. Good headphones make a big difference, since I find that I need to turn up the volume a lot more than normal when flying (due to the noise of the engine and like, the fact that you're flying a million miles through the air). Not pictured here is the fact that I bring two different kinds, the ones above and then regular ear buds that make it easy for me to rest my head against the window or shoulder.
8. A good book. A good book. A good book.
9. The things I thought was total bullshit, but has made such a difference in the quality of my "sleep" on the airplane: those little eye blanket things (what the hell are they called?). I kept mine from a Virgin Atlantic flight and now always keep them in my bag so that I never forget them when I'm traveling. I'm basically a giant baby and have very sensitive eyes, so that when it's bright i have a hard time falling asleep. This has resolved all those problems. Grab, steal, borrow a pair.
10. Change, if you have some. Having the correct frequency will prove very useful when you land, such as procuring a cart for your luggage, buying a coffee at a coffee stand, or a water in a vending machine. Sure, most places accept cards now, but in my experience I've often found that it's much easier to rely on true cash and coins than your plastic card that the foreign card reader just can't seem to validate.
Am I missing anything you'd never travel without?
Let me know in your finest Brooklyn accent.