3 Ingredients For a Relaxed Travel Experience
I arrived at the terminal, bag in hand, ready to start my cross-country trip to Washington D.C. The company I work for has several clients out in the DC area and as such I usually have to go at least once a month to either talk to clients, speak, or just hang out with some cool people. This time I was also stopping in New Orleans for a conference, which would be my first time to the home of Oysters Rockefeller. Regardless of my excitement about visiting the restaurants of the French Quarter, I was a little bummed because I had been home for three weeks. My daily work schedule was as follows:
7:00-7:30 am: Wake up slowly and change into work clothes. Since I work from home this means I am usually wearing some form of running shorts and a shirt.
After 7:30 am: Bozley, my dog, waits patiently while I grind the coffee and start the water to make coffee. As I place the kettle on the stove Bozley instinctively goes toward the back door knowing that this is the time that he gets to go outside and then get fed. If he’s sneaky he’ll drag a tennis ball outside and I’ll throw a few rounds of fetch to start his day off right. Once Bozley is taken care of I finish putting the hot water in the coffee press and open my computer. From this point on I am working, writing, and triaging emails. You know, manager stuff.
Between 12:30 and 2:30: Bozley has completed his wicked post-breakfast nap and has decided he wants to go outside and play fetch again. At this time I also realize that I probably should eat as well otherwise my co-workers will start to refer to me in some nasty expletives. If it’s been a long day already cocktails may start here as well.
Between 4:00 and 6:00: My bestie decides her work day is done and heads over to the house with her pup Loreli. -She is super smarter and more adult than me and therefore she has to go to an office to work. From this point the night is started with cocktails. When we decide that we are hungry we throw a hodge podge of food together than can range from cauliflower tortilla tacos or macaroni and cheese depending on how many drinks we have had. Regardless, the night is filled with good food, laughing and hanging with pups. Even on the most stressful of days, this daily routine left me relaxed and always happy to be home.
Because of enjoying this routine for three weeks, the concept of waking up on eastern time, jumping into ‘business casual’ attire and running through my day hoping to pass something resembling a salad or gluten free pizza was not something I was completely looking forward to. To prepare I packed my newest Jeffrey Steingarten book and looked forward to good food and good company in New Orleans.
After walking into the airport I went up the escalator to a pleasant surprise. The security line was empty. Since I usually give myself at least an hour before boarding time, breezing through security with a smile and an e-ticket in less than five minutes left me with over an hour to kill before my plane started boarding. As walked to my gate to sit and wait I passed a Vino Volo Ale House. It was 12 in the afternoon. Should I?
One look at “It Must’ve Been Something I Ate” and the decision was made. I was going to start my trip with a glass of Malbec, a bowl of marinated olives and a hilariously intelligent and slightly snooty food writer.
After the waiter took my order, and reluctantly asked to card me, I settled into my bar stool and let the world fade around me. The high stress couple traveling to Ohio no longer distracted me. The clean cut man and the boisterous woman next to him faded into the background as I started to read about Mr. Steingarten fishing for Toro somewhere outside of North Carolina (Jeffrey and I are not yet on a first name basis). It was marvelous. What felt like 10 minutes later turned out to be 60 and it was time to board my plane. As I headed to my gate I realized that regardless of the stress around me in the airport, I was relaxed and happy. I walked at a leisurely pace. I wasn’t annoyed when someone decided to just stop dead in her tracks two inches in front of me. I felt no need to elbow my way to the front of the line while boarding. My wine, olives and reading experience had helped me zen out and start my trip on a relaxed note. Once again, food and wine had saved the day.
And then the guy next to me wanted to chat...